How fast does your industry grow and change? If you aren’t sure, ask yourself how often you turn around and are surprised by something new, and then wish someone had bothered to send you a memo. Has an essential business relationship that was working for years ended recently? Do you have goals to increase sales exponentially that require additional knowledge? If you answered yes to any of these questions, perhaps it is time to upgrade your skill set.
The Internet moves at lightening speed, and I decided to upgrade my skills by taking a series of online courses to learn another programming language and environment called Ruby on Rails. I wasn’t sure where this new knowledge would lead but the universe had been sending me new road signs for months. A business partnership that had flourished for a few years had ended and it was time for a change. Various sources had suggested that Ruby on Rails was the one to learn and I had a feeling it would open up doors that I did not know existed.
The twice-weekly class plus 15-20 hours per week of homework has been a challenge and there have been times I wondered why I chose to spend weekends and evenings for 16 weeks at the computer when I could be out having fun instead. If you noticed there was no WebTips Wednesday post last week you now know why. I chose to take the week off and focus on my homework.
Halfway through week ten I thought about taking a break and joining the next cohort, but remembered my high school physics teacher’s words of wisdom -- “Later is longer” -- meaning if you wait until later it will only take longer, and I persevered. Then week twelve arrived and something changed. The work became enjoyable, my confidence increased, and I started seeing possibilities for new business adventures that had previously eluded me.
When was the last time you took a class, attended a seminar, or visited a new networking group? Is there something you have been wanted to know and have not taken the time to learn? There are do-it-yourself online course available for free that are good and there are paid classes and seminars that are equally as good, if not better. Personally, I am grateful I decided to enroll in this paid 3-course series, otherwise I would have missed out on finding a community where pair programming and sharing is the norm, ideas flow without thought of mine and yours, and companies actively recruit and groom women programmers.
Maybe you’ve heard the quote by Albert Einstein? “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Or, “When one door closes another door opens.” If the road signs for your business have changed, at the very least, take out a map and see where they point.