The most successful people in tech know that in order to get ahead and stay ahead, they must consistently be well-versed in new and valuable skills and continuously build their portfolios. Staying up to date on what’s trending in the tech world and what skills are in demand is key to upgrading your career. It’s what I did and continue to do to this day and is one of the biggest reasons I’ve gotten my career to where it is today.
If you want to be considered invaluable in tech, you need to ensure you’re well-rounded and up-to-date on what skills are needed. One of the most important things you can do is figure out what’s in demand in the market right now and make sure you’re well-versed in it. The tech industry moves fast, so this isn’t something you can just “one and done.” Learning new skills and building your portfolio will help you excel through all levels of your career.
Learn Front of the Line Skills
Don’t just learn new skills for the sake of learning new skills. Be strategic with what you choose to learn. Learning front-of-the-line skills is going to up your value. Front-of-the-line skills are brand-new skills in the marketplace (usually only around 2-3 years old) that are in high demand.
I’m talking about skills like security, AI, machine learning, blockchain, crypto, and more. These are the skills employers are willing to pay top dollar, even premiums, for people to have. Front-of-the-line skills don’t just have to be a technical language; you can look into new software like a new design, automation, or marketing tool. Learning what front-of-the-line skills are in demand is easier than you think – talk to recruiters and hiring managers, look at LinkedIn, speak to peers, and read up on what’s trending in the tech field to find out what skills are needed to improve your value in the workplace.
Get Ahead and Stand Out
When I was getting back into tech, iOS was only three years old. I understood that iOS was hot, and I could tell its growth would continue to be explosive. It was a huge, trendy skill set, and everyone was looking for iOS developers at the time, so I went out and read every book on iOS that I could get my hands on – I didn’t wait for someone else to teach me the skills – I went out and got them for myself.
By learning this new front-of-the-line skill, I wasn’t competing with others in the tech field who had 10+ years of experience. Since iOS was only three years old, anyone who said they had more experience was exaggerating, which put me at the advantage of becoming well-versed in a relatively new skill. I knew I had to learn iOS – and learn it just enough to get ahead and have my skillset stand out.
It wouldn’t have been enough to read and watch passively – I had to be very active and engaged in my learning. I learned by doing. One of the great things about building your portfolio is seeing your progress. It’s incredible how much you can accomplish in six months when you remain committed and consistent in your practice.
I’ve picked up front-of-the-line skills throughout my career and owned the responsibility of mastering them. From there, I sought opportunities and built my network.
Get into the Habit of Continuous Learning
I talk about consistency so often because it’s one of the most important things for success in tech. Make a habit for yourself of continuously learning new skills and bringing them into your daily routine. Then, when opportunity strikes, you’ll be ready.
I knew iOS wouldn’t be enough to keep my career growing forever, so I learned new skills again and then again. I am constantly reinventing myself and adding to my skillset to this day.
Constantly learning and constantly building your portfolio will be transformative for your career. You will not only be in demand because of your skillset, but people will also know about your work because a portfolio is one of the best ways to communicate your value.
I continue to invest in new skills and learn as an engineering leader. I’m constantly learning about new technologies, keeping my current skills up to date, as well as learning new ways to lead, recruit/hire, and grow team members. This is why my career is constantly evolving and growing. I want that for you too. I want to help you transform your career. I created the DevelopHer Membership to help thousands of women learn to communicate better, negotiate their worth, build their value, and find a supportive community filled with other hard-working women in tech. You can check it out here, along with additional resources for leveling up your career.
You can get started on this today to help build a better tomorrow. So, what are you waiting for?