A question that we have been hearing on a regular basis is “Where do I get the technical skills I need to compete in today’s job market?” The obvious and expensive answer is college. However, there are many ways to gain valuable skills that cost much less and may even be free.
Create a plan!
So many people enter the job market without a plan. Before you send out one resume you need to think about the positions that you are applying for and what they will require. If you are in sales you may need to be versed in CRM databases. If you’re a developer you may need to know languages such as JAVA or Ruby on Rails. To do the regular tasks of the day in a wide variety of administrative work you need to know Microsoft Suite and other various programs. Start by researching the job descriptions. You can dig even deeper by participating in blogs that focus on these types of careers. After you know what skills employers are looking for you can start looking into how to acquire these skills.
Research where to find them!
Now that you have narrowed your focus decide how and where to gain the knowledge. There are certifications available that cost money. Some may be as little as $50 while others can be in the thousands. In any medium sized city there is a community college that may have some inexpensive classes. If spending extra money is not an option, there are some other great resources available to get you started. Workforce Centers are extremely useful. They provide many classes in a variety of areas and in most cases at no charge. If you don’t see what you’re looking for there, look into some groups on www.LinkedIn.com and www.MeetUp.com. These sites often have groups organized to give a seminar series in particular areas.
Stay in the KNOW!
After you gain skills you need to stay ahead of the curve on technology and program changes. Continue improving your knowledge even after you have that new career. What is used widely today may be obsolete tomorrow. A great website to keep you updated on trends is www.Mashable.com.
There are countless types of computer systems and programs, so you need to narrow your focus based on the job you ideally want. Do your research and above all get motivated to gain these skills by getting involved in classes or seminars. The more knowledge you gain the more marketable you will be.