BookMachine founder Laura Summers shares her thoughts on how to decide whether to seek training in a new skill.
"When you’re climbing the career ladder, there are a number of ways to get ahead: these include working round the clock, knowing the right people, getting nominated for awards or quite simply being the very best at what you do. If you are undeniably the best candidate for a position, because of your well-honed skills, then you'll always be in demand.
"However, I have a confession to make. I work in digital publishing, and I don’t know how to code. Well, I get the basics that any digital marketing professional needs, like the formulae needed to make a font bold, or embed a URL, the simple front-end stuff; but really, anything deeper than that just isn’t happening. I have gained so much from various digital marketing courses, but coding just isn’t for me.
"Sometimes we think we want to learn about something because it’s the latest trend. In an ever-changing industry, there are an array of skills like this. We all want to ‘talk’ fluent SEO – but really, we don’t all need to be the person in the company who is able to optimise the website for search. So, how do you know if you actually need or will like learning a new skill, such as coding?
"After running BookMachine and organising industry events for over five years, I have met a number of ambitious and talented people honing their skills and gradually increasing their knowledge base. You can spot them a mile off - they are asking questions in advance, interacting with speakers on social media and exploring the range of subjects with follow-up reading and questioning. Even early on in their careers, you can spot who is going to rise to the top - they are engaging, enthusiastic and want to learn.
"Attending informal publishing events helps them do this - it's, in a way, an informal briefing and a taster of an area they might not be too familiar with. These events work hand-in-hand with more formal training courses.
"So, how do you know if you will actually like learning a new skill, such as coding? Well aside from signing up to a course and having a go, you can attend events and find out more from people in the field. Meet people who have taken the already taken the course; what did they learn? If you can get to events and gather knowledge on a wide range of subjects, then it gives you the knowledge you need to know which is really the training course for you. Alternatively there are short courses, which can be used to whet your appetite."
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