A Few Strategies for Growing Your Tech Skills

Sometimes you find a piece of software that's easy to use. You just open it up and get to work. Sometimes it's not as easy, so you go to the 'Help' or 'Get Started' guide to learn just enough to begin using the program. Most of the time you can get by with knowing just the basics of a software tool. What do you do when getting by isn't enough? Here are some tips for breaking through a skills plateau. [plateau = leveling off; not getting any better]

Figure out what it is you don't know

Read up on the software's features to find out which ones you aren't using. Decide which of those features could be used to help you accomplish a task or two. Learn how to use them and then implement them in your work. Once you've done that, get creative. Can you combine two of the features to do something you never thought was possible? Can you use a feature to do something the software designers never intended? A little up-front work can make things a lot easier in the long run.

Be a copycat

Have you ever seen a website design that you really liked? Were you impressed by the Prezi used in that TED talk? Make your own version. Figure out how the original was created and make one of your own. You'll probably find that you can even make some improvements on the original. Being a copycat forces you to learn new skills because there's always someone out there who knows more than you do. Let that person be your teacher.

Find a project

Now that you're a wiz at learning new technology skills, it's time to take those skills to the next level. It's time to work on a project. Create a new website for a local non-profit organization. Make a customized Excel spreadsheet to help your friend manage his Ebay sales. Design graphics for your sister's self-published ebook. Make interactive training videos to teach people how to do the stuff you're passionate about. There's just no limit to the possibilities.

Do what you can

All of this sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but don't get overwhelmed. Spend a little bit of time each day to get better at something. Do it at your own pace. If you're on a deadline to learn something that's all the better because it will push you to move forward. Use the resources available to you for help like IT Training, lynda.com, your friends, your professors, and the Internet. 

Here's a link to a list of articles to help you get past those learning plateaus. Happy climbing!

Man climbing rock

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About The Author
Laura ReedSocial Media Coordinator

Laura has worked for UITS for over 14 years.She is currently IU IT Training's social media coordinator.  She is a grad student in Library Science and has a penchant for reference and content curation. She dances, acts, sings, and does visual art in her spare time.