Professional Development

How do you keep your skills sharp as a remote worker?

When you’re working in any environment, it can be difficult to keep your skills sharp when you are constantly delivering on deadlines. Sure, you could ignore professional development, but at some point the pace of technological and industry change will outrun you, and you’ll find yourself out of date and behind. Make it a focus to do something to enrich your knowledge each year. It’ll pay dividends when you ask for a promotion or look for another opportunity!

The most accessible way of learning is likely from your own colleagues! There are likely a few people you work with and look up to that would be more than happy to share their knowledge with you. This can be formal, by you asking them how they did something, or having them deliver a presentation on the topic (brown bag lunch?). You can also get best practices and advice from them informally during the normal course of work. Perhaps there’s an opportunity to peer program, code review, or just ask them for help with something that you’re stuck on. Tanya notes that this can be a challenge when you’re not physically there, but through the magic of instant messaging, phones and screen sharing, it can be quite effective.

If you work for a company, they’re the next best place to turn to. There may be online learning opportunities that are proprietary to your business, so ask your manager about that. Andrew says that he likes to learn from new projects. If you take a course from an online learning source like lynda.com, for example, you can do a project based on that course to really cement the concepts you’ve learned. You may find that as you learn new things, they can be leveraged in some fashion in the work you do day-to-day.

There are a ton of resources out there that you can use to improve yourself. We’ve rounded up some of the most popular that we’ve heard in our post about professional development resources.

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