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Celebrating Continuous Learning and Skills Development

  • Online courses slide 2

    Remember the excitement and anticipation of going back to school? A new school year meant new classes and opportunities to learn and develop skills. We all know things are different when you enter the “real world” and the business of work and everyday life can leave little time for learning.

    The recent SolarWinds® IT Trends Report 2019: Skills for Tech Pros of Tomorrow found this to be particularly true for today’s tech pros; in tech, lack of time to learn new skills makes it difficult to keep up. Seventy-five percent of all tech pros surveyed weren’t completely confident in having all the skills necessary to successfully manage their IT environments over the next three to five years. While tech pros’ workloads and schedules are very demanding, and finding the time to learn is challenging, they’re still dedicated to continuous education and development of current and new skills—99% of tech pros have worked to develop a skill over the past 12 months.

    Today, SolarWinds published a survey to support the upcoming IT Pro Day 2019 holiday (celebrated on September 17, 2019), Building Confidence for Tech Pros of Tomorrow. The survey explored the requirements for tech pros to build confidence managing complex tech environments and highlighted the skills they’re looking to develop.

    In the spirit of learning and going back to school, SolarWinds asked its THWACK® community for techniques and tips for developing new skills and how they keep up with new technologies while maintaining their current jobs.

  • Engage in Online Learning  

    “Online resources are great. CBTNuggets has some excellent IT material, and Cisco dCloud gives you access to virtual environments so you can learn about their products before you put them into production.”

    -- User: mfansher

    “Online learning is the primary method for me. I am currently going through Azure® Learning material for the Azure Administrator Associate. I’m also taking classes on programming on Udemy and Pluralsight, as well as working through Codecademy and FreeCodeCamp.”

    -- User: meyer837, Network Engineer/Administrator

    “Finding time during the day and being able to balance work/life can be tough. I find the time to learn new things when my kids and wife are busy with work/school or during the weekends. I log on to Udemy or catch up on blogs. I also get emails with quick little ‘blurbs’ I can read through in a few minutes, then I'll flag the email for follow-up or bookmark a link if I want to read later.”

    -- User: jmbourn, IT BSA II

  • The Community Knows Best

     “Subscribing to IT and security groups—and frequently perusing them—is a good start. I've been exposed to many new and interesting ideas via forums and internet communities.”

    -- User: rschroeder, Network Analyst

     “Forums are my current main method. Finding issues that other people have and attempting to fix them helps me grow and learn new things. I also never turn down a colleague with an issue even if I don't know the answer. I always make myself available for assistance—we’re almost always able to figure out the problem when we discuss it together!”

    -- User: christopher.t.jones123, Service Delivery Engineer

     “Several of my hobbies have large populations of IT professionals. I enjoy talking to them and exploring the different forums where IT folks tend to vent and share stories about what they’re working on, new technologies, and vendors they are working with.”

    -- User: monitoringlife

    “I attend virtual conferences whenever I can. I also read blogs, listen to podcasts, and watch vlogs. I am on some great email list servers. Whenever I have a question, I can always get some help from others.”

    -- User: scottsc


  • Learn on-the-Go

    “I find podcasts and videos to be the easiest way for me as I can watch/listen during my commute in and out of work. I use PluralSight and INE paid subscriptions along with YouTube as my main source of videos (I enjoy NetworkChuck!).”

    -- User: David Smith, Network Consultant

     “I found several tech podcasts that I now listen to every day on my commute. They help me keep up with the industry and new tech or software that I should be learning about. After finding a topic I’m passionate about, I then do internet research and/or try to ask my boss to shell out some learning credits. I recently renewed my CCNA certs. I’m currently studying to renew my VCP and may start working on Azure or AWS after that.”

    -- User: mathewpgds, Engineer 3

  • Take Time to Train

     “Vendors are a great resource. Working with partners gets you face-to-face with new technology. Subscribing to everything might seem like a lot, but even emails or feeds dropping quick lines about new tech can be informative.”

    -- User: poekbradley, Network Engineer

    “It’s very difficult to keep up with everything so I like to set some learning and certificate goals for the year. If what you're trying to learn is something related to your job, ask your company if they could cover a course—you never know if you don't ask! Worst case they say no, but the best case is you get a free course and learn a new skill.”

    -- User: neoceasar

    “I also recommend in-person week-long training sessions. These are a great way to learn the right way to do things. During those in-person sessions, we meet new people and learn about their challenges and solutions.”

    -- User: scottsc


  • Try New Things

    “If you focus on one new area at a time, you’ll be able to stay on top of that particular tech. I am focusing on Citrix right now—on their new products, features, and their roadmap.”

    -- User: AHUACTZI

    “I enjoy being a little bit of a “Jack-of-all-trades,” so I often find myself burrowing down little rabbit holes when opportunities present themselves. I also have a few different learning paths on-the-go which prevents me from getting a mental block as I can change the topics.”

    -- User: David Smith, Network Consultant