The Benefits of Continuing Education for IT Workers
by Stephanie Faris on Monday, January 25 6:00
The educational backgrounds of technology workers have always been varied. In the late 1990s, technology workers were in high demand, often being hired for positions without degrees specific to their new fields. Some would go back to school for additional education, whether it was for certifications that could advance them in their fields or additional degrees.
As the field of technology has advanced, new college graduates arrive at job interviews armed with the technology degrees stated in job descriptions. However, as CIO magazine recently pointed out, experience and specialized training can trump a college degree, provided the degree holder doesn t have equal experience or certification. For workers holding IT positions, simply working in the same job may not be enough. There are several benefits of continuing education, both for employees and employers.
For the Business
As businesses strive to remain competitive, having top-notch talent can be a big bonus. Even an employee with advanced degrees has skills that will grow stale after only a few years. A developer who entered the workforce five years ago, for instance, will have experience with techniques that were taught in schools several years ago, putting that developer at a disadvantage. By investing in continuing education opportunities for their workers, businesses can ensure they re using the latest technology in everything they do, helping them compete with the many innovative startups and large corporations in their space.
For the Employee
Even if a worker feels a deep sense of job security and has no desire to leave, the unexpected can happen. By spending at least a small amount of time each year learning new skills, a technology professional can maintain an up-to-date resume that would look good to business investors and potential employers. For employees who stay in their positions, continuing education ensures their employers see them as beneficial to the business s bottom line. For those who have aspirations, continuing education can put them on the path to career advancement.
Taking time away from work and family to attend classes can be challenging, though, especially if supervisors won t grant paid time off for training. Fortunately, there are now many opportunities to take classes online. Services like Coursera and edX offer courses from major universities, including popular technology topics like data science and mobile app development. Several sites offer technology-related certifications, including SANS Institute, which lets students get certifications in the specific subjects they need, and Intense School, which provides boot camps through online streaming in specific subjects. Professionals should first study which certifications are most in demand to make sure they re making the most of the time they spend taking classes to earn certifications and degrees.
Experience can often be more beneficial than education when it comes to technology careers. However, having a resume fully stocked with the latest certifications can make a big difference in a person s career trajectory. In addition to impressing employers, those who continue to take classes throughout their careers are more likely to stay fully informed about the latest technologies, making them invaluable assets to their businesses.