• United States
Contributing Writer

Why get your skills in order?

Jan 14, 20043 mins
Enterprise Applications

* A new you in 2004

Hope everyone had a restful and happy holiday season. You deserved it. Now, let’s get back to work.

One thing I’m going to harp on this year is the need to invest in yourself. We continue to hear how the overall economy is improving and that means, eventually, the tech industry should turn around.

Your job – your duty – right now should be to get your skills in order. Whether you plan to stay in the position you have, rise up in your company or even enterprise out to something new, you should be aware of what skills you have and what new ones you need to acquire.

That requires a skills inventory of sorts. What do you know how to do? How well do you know how to do it? How useful are those skills to your company? How useful would they be to another employer?

Knowing the here and now is part one. Part two is putting on your magician’s hat, looking into the crystal ball and trying to see what you’ll need for the future. What technologies support the projects in your budget? What cool tools does the company that you’d like to work for use? What other technologies are being buzzed about that would be make you valuable?

Match these lists together and see where the gaps are. Use that chasm as your road map for training over the next year. Don’t look too far ahead and don’t stay complacent with the technologies you already have in your knowledge arsenal. Instead, add to the well with practical skills that you can plot a use for.

Also, be very clear about whether you need to have a more business focus or technical focus for your knowledge. What I mean is do you need hands-on training or is theory enough? Will you be rolling out a production network using a specific technology or do you need to know just enough for overall project planning purposes? Understanding the level of knowledge you need will also help in securing your training.

And make sure you start to set aside time and perhaps money for this investment. Waiting till the end of the year to sign up for a course or stalling on putting money aside will likely hurt your chances of successfully completing your road map. You cannot predict what economic constraints you’ll face later in the year so don’t put off investing in yourself now.

What do you think? Is investing in yourself a goal you’ve set for 2004? If so, what are some strategies you’ve implemented for achieving this goal? Let me know at