“How do you keep up to date with all the latest technologies?” is a question I am often asked. It may seem obvious to those who work in IT but for your normal working person, it can seem like an impossible mountain to climb. So here are my tips:
- Read the news
National newspapers and news websites pretty much all have technology sections, even scanning the headlines of these help keep you informed about new developments
- Use social networking
I subscribe to blogs, RSS feeds, follow people and organisations on twitter etc. One of my personal favourites is http://borntolearn.mslearn.net. If you’re interested in who I follow, why not look me up on Twitter http://twitter.com/sfennah
- Take the exams
I am a paper junky. I love taking exams, it proves I know what I think I do and drives me to get to know the most up to date products, this is why I like the http://borntolearn.mslearn.net blog, as I can find out about all the new and upcoming certifications that are being launched
When new products come available I work with them to get to know them
However, I think the important one for people in all walks of life are the exams. The face of IT exams has changed over the years making them much more relevant to the way we use IT today. As an IT trainer who focuses mainly on end users rather than technical training, the emergence of exams carrying the highly respected Microsoft Certified badge focusing on the use of technologies in the workplace has been a huge development.
Certifications are now a major product for the technology companies and a lot has changed in how they are managed over the years. Why not pop over to http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/b/weblog/archive/2012/02/14/20-years-of-certification-exams-grow-up.aspx and see how the development of Microsoft exams has changed over the 20 years of their existence. While you are there, why not have a look around their blog and see if you can learn something new today too!
You could also decide on your next qualification while you are there. After all, it pays to be certified, as having a Microsoft Certification sends a clear message to employers that you have proven skills in the latest technologies. For instance, a 2011 CompTIA study found that IT professionals gain an average 9% salary increase immediately after receiving certification, and 29% over the long term, versus peers who are not certified (channelinsider.com, 2011-10-19). And in a in a 2010 survey of hiring managers, 91% said they consider employee certification as a criterion for hiring (Microsoft Learning, 2010).