Keeping up with the Joneses — in technology

Muggle 1 : So, you work in technology?

Techie Wizard : Yeah!

Muggle1 : Which technology?

Techie Wizard : abc, xyz, 123…

Muggle 1 : Oh, isn’t that outdated? Maybe you should learn more about the cloud.

Muggle 2 : I think it’s all about AI and ML.

Muggle 3 : Oh I think you should try your hand at python.

Muggle 4 : You should get into DevOps. I suppose that’s where everything happens!

Muggle 5 : That’s so passé. You should try getting into Site Reliability.

Muggle 6 : Technology keeps changing, you should know your processes. Do you know Agile?

Techie Wizard : Avada Kedavra!

Ok… I agree! “Avada Kedavra” was harsh! Stupefy?

Like in real life it is stupid to keep up with the Joneses, similarly in technology, you cannot keep up with the ever-changing technology landscape!

Before you start making your argument, hear me out!!

Say yes to learning, but don’t get overwhelmed. Because if you constantly compare yourself with other colleagues or other teams or people in other organizations, you are going to always end up feeling you know nothing.

Which isn’t really true now, is it?

You don’t need to know everything! Trust your experience and keep a growth mindset.

1. Don’t live under a rock.

Be aware of things happening outside of your team. What are the other projects being worked on? What new is happening within your organization? What is happening outside your organization? You can learn not only about the shiny new technology, but even the processes that work with it and around it. Talk to people outside of your first circle — People you interact with on a day to day basis. This will highlight something that you are unaware of. You may find something that grabs your interest. You don’t want to be in a spot where you ‘have to’ start looking outside of your team but all you feel is ‘lost’ and ‘out-dated’.

2. Learning never stops / There’s always something new to learn.

Remember : You learnt one skill / technology when you started your industry journey, you can always learn another. You don’t have to be 22 to start learning.

So, you explored your surroundings and are now aware of things happening around you, and this new concept has piqued your interest. What do you do? Play on to your growth mindset. If you learnt something new at 22, you can easily learn something new at whatever age you are. You have experience to back you; you can apply concepts from your current skillset to this new skill that you want to learn. You can start mapping and that can make it easier to learn. Even if it is something completely new to you, you can learn it. There are so many ways in today’s connected world to learn.

3. There is no one correct path.

You may get into a new project and learn hands-on, you can do a classroom intensive training, you can do free YouTube courses, you can use portals like Udemy and learn, you can read the beginner’s guide books for some self-learning, you can reach out to people you know and learn from them, you can always experiment on your own, and you can learn to get yourself certified. And these are only the options that I have come across and used at various stages of my career. Once you start exploring, the digitally connected world today can surprise you with the plethora of options available!

4. Put yourself out there.

Even if you think you are not an expert, put yourself out there. Let your network know that you are interested in learning, let them know you have learnt this new tech and want to be part of the project. Go to meet-ups : it helps you network and learn at the same time. Participate in hackathons, use LinkedIn for your queries. Make yourself visible.

5. No learning is a waste.

You might not know how this new thing that you are learning works with your current role or project. It may not work. It just may! At the end of the day, you will still have learnt something new. The concepts that you learn, will help you apply yourself better to the next thing you learn. This new concept will help you improve things in your current project. You might start seeing problems and solutions that you didn’t before.

6. Give back.

Remember how you felt the first time you started your journey learning the new tech. That is how a lot of people feel. You do not have to be an expert to pass on what you learnt. Lunch and learn is something you can start within your current project if nothing else. Write about it, if that is something that you like. Collaborate with someone else who knows this and run a session for anyone interested. When you explain the concepts to someone else, you understand them even better. The questions that you will need to answer will uncover things for you.

There are all kinds of roles in technology, there are all kinds of people needed in technology, and there are all kinds of technology in technology!!

Don’t be overwhelmed. Learn — it is exciting. If that isn’t enough, it keeps you young ;)

I bring my love for books, coffee, technology and life in general to my writing. Blockchain has caught my fancy and I am exploring it as I write.