In one of my Adobe sessions at the university, I intended to address the students on how to get trained and obtain an Adobe certification. A while ago, I wrote an article about how to become Adobe certified and I thought that this would be my agenda for the session. The timeframe also gave me the chance to talk about training. Although academic study is very important for it gives you the basic information for your career; IT careers require an extra intensive training plan that can last one’s whole life. That is because of the frequent new developments in this field along with the changes that take the IT industry into new trends rapidly; comparing them with the other careers.
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Training is not only important because it keeps you updated with the new technology, and puts you at a higher level compared to your colleagues; it also opens new opportunities for work and challenges based on the new doors that are created with every new trend in this technology. For instance, the trend of mobile technology has opened the doors for developers and designers to build applications for mobile phones and handheld devices while invests in new fresh markets that seek a lot of solutions to be delivered. The cloud computing concept is another example for a trend that changed the way people used to think on the internet and it opened the doors for applications such as Facebook, Twitter… etc.
Furthermore, developers and designers work to deliver third party applications that join major cloud computing applications together.
The objective of these examples is to provide proof that learning new technologies and being updated with the new trends can help you find new opportunities, in addition to excelling in your field. Based on this great importance for training in any designer or developer career, putting a plan together is a must to be able to gain successful results.
Many IT professionals have the initiation to learn and the desire to improve their career, but most of them get lost in the middle of no-plan training or jumping from training to another job without profitable results. The main point of this failure is missing the plan or not sticking with a plan from the first step; and the first step to initiate a plan is to ask yourself…”What is the objective of training?” This will be our next topic.
What is the aim of training?
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The answer for this question is based on how you draw out your training plan and it will determine your success by the end of the plan. In other words, if your answer is that you would like to learn to become a web designer then you should be a web designer by the end of your training or at least you should have learned the skills of a professional web designer.
Another reason for this question is to set a list of the training that you will need in order to achieve your desired results. For instance, if you would like to get trained order to become a video or animation expert, you can add to your training list, video tools such as After Effects and Premier. However, choosing your objective is not an easy task as it will affect your time, effort and finance for a long term; so, you have to be well prepared for it.
Forming a training objective is based on many factors such as your career and if you plan to train your skills to change your career or jump to another level of skills in your current career. By setting up your objective of training, you would make a list of applications and skills you have to learn to achieve this objective, which is the answer for our next question, what do you need to learn?
What do you need to learn?
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Putting a training list together, as mentioned above, is the next step to start your training plan; it is important to arrange your list of skills and training target based on many factors such as the most required training, the most important ones to reach your objective and what is the most current training you already have in hand.
However, the training priority affects your next steps and which applications or skills you should start with. As some skills require long training periods, such as learning new software or technology or acquire soft skills such as presentation skills or better communication skills. On the other hand, there are some skills that do not require long term to learn, such as learning the new updates for the software you already know or learning about your business and how it is developed.
By answering this question, you will have to divide your training list into two sections: long time training and short time training. Each of these lists will be categorized based on any of the factors mentioned earlier.
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By the end of the filtering and categorizing process mentioned above, we reached the conclusion that there are two main big types of training. Long term training that requires long periods such as taking a course to learn specific software or attend training for soft skills such as communication and presentation skills.
Long term plans can take months to complete each item in this list. However, you need to focus your training to finishing each item one-by-one in the list. For example, you need to learn applications such as Flash, Dreamweaver and Photoshop to become a web designer. Each of these training processes can take around 2 months to finish, you will need maximum of 6 months to complete your training. The implementation for this 6 months training can be either linear, which means that you will not start in one training until you finish the other one, by another meaning you would have one training per time. This type of training takes the longest timeframe, but it suites the professional who is already working and have only a few hours to dedicate to training during the month.
The other type is the non-linear, which means that you can start two training course or software in the same time and compact the total training time into a shorter period. For example, you can learn both Flash and Dreamweaver in the same time which reduces the training period from 6 months to 4 months. This method is more suitable to a student who seeks faster training, or a professional who can dedicate more time to training and self development.
While the long term plan can take months or years to achieve your training goals based on the required training you would like to get, it is important to break your training into milestones to judge the success of your plan through every specific timeframe. For example, you can set milestones for your plan every 6 months to determine if you have achieved your planned target during this period or not. This milestone tracking will help you to ensure that you are on the right track.
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This type of plan is mostly required in the IT and technology fields because of the frequent changes and updates that happen every day. However, the short-term plan should have two main characteristics: The first characteristic is that the short-term plan should be frequent to be able to handle rapid change and new information that need to be acquired, and the second characteristic is that it should be very short in time. For example, the software you already know can have updates that are released with the new versions of the Software. You can set a short-term plan to learn about new Software updates. This plan can take a couple of hours every day to learn about the new software updates, the new technology trends or read new tutorials or article that can help you improve your skills.
In fact, the long-term plan is very long, in order to keep updated with new technology updates but, it is divided to daily milestones where you judge by the end of the day what you have learned about the technology updates and the new articles or book you have read. The best implementation for this plan is to consider it similar to the time you dedicate to reading the daily newspaper or to listen to the news.
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While putting a plan together is very important, applying it comes with the same importance, as it will generally be a long-term plan that you need when trying to apply it with preciseness to reach the maximum results. There are different methods to get new training, such as attending courses, schools, read books and articles, listening to video training or attending conferences. Choosing the training method that works best for you depends on your ability to learn and stick with your initial training plan. While some people prefer guided training through courses, other people prefer self training through books and videos.
Whatever the training method you like to use, you have to make sure that you are comfortable with it in order to be able to acquire the maximum required information through it.
The training process is a very important part of an IT professional’s life and daily tasks that can last for a very long time. Building a self training plan is very important to be able to achieve the success in your goals and career. While these tips are guidelines that can be applied in any field, you can customize it based on your circumstances, job type and what is your goal of the training process.