The Canadian job market is hot right now. Unemployment hit a record low in December and the ongoing IT skills shortage is only making it harder for employers in the IT industry to hire.
Nonetheless, IT professionals are still reporting it can be difficult to land a job. The reasonis you need to have the skills employers are looking for right now. If you’re hoping to land a new IT job in the near future, try one of these four ways to improve your IT skills.
1. Take an Online Course or Webinar
The internet has delivered a new way of learning. Look at a site like Lynda.com or the countless how-to videos populating YouTube. You can learn how to do just about anything on the internet, just by enrolling in an online course or a webinar.
How-to coursesand webinars are designed to be crash courses in a particular skill. They’re highly recommended if you want to learn about one aspect of IT or another. Maybe you want to learn AngularJS or you’re interested in refreshing your IT security skills. Maybe you want to get up to date on the latest in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Webinars and online courses are great for learning a new skill or refreshing one you already have. They can be an excellent jumping-off point to learn more. Their delivery over the internet in small, bite-sized chunks make them the perfect way to improve your IT skills in a hurry.
If you’re working a full-time job with many overtime shifts or you have a hobby, you may not think you have time to volunteer.
Volunteering is a great way to hone your IT skills, so you shouldn’t ignore it. If you’re hoping to brush the rust off some of the skills you don’t get to use on a day-to-day basis or you want to try out that new skill you’ve been learning, volunteering could be one way to go about it.
Volunteering also gives you experience, which is particularly useful if you’re hoping to head down a new career path. A new skill is great, but volunteering gives you the practical experience to add to your portfolio.
3. Join a Professional Association
Many professions have associations that practitioners can join. The IT industry has been slower in this respect, partially because IT is still relatively new and partially because the field shifts so rapidly. The roles and responsibilities of various IT professionals keep changing. New technologies introduce new skill sets and new roles within the field. Older positions may be eliminated, like switchboard operators.
You may still be able to find a professional association catering to your particular subfield. Sign up and join in. You can practice your leadership and communication skills by sitting on committees. Many associations offer opportunities for continuing education and professional development. They may host seminars, workshops, or conferences, which you can attend.
Professional associations also provide ample opportunity for networking. You may find your next job through someone you meet at the next association meeting.
4. Head Back to School
This option is for those who feel their skillsets need a serious overhaul or update. You can often find continuing education courses and programs designed for the working professional. Courses are offered a la carte, meaning you can do as many or as few as you can fit in your schedule. You can also pick and choose the most relevant courses.
You may also decide to go for the full program certificate or diploma. This requires more time and dedication, but it may be worth it if you want to switch career tracks entirely.
It’s easy to improve your IT skills, and any one of these methods is a great choice.