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How to maintain technical skills in a changing tech world

How to maintain technical skills in a changing tech world

Nowadays, you subscribe to software online (via company websites) with either monthly or yearly subscriptions. Regardless of whether the software is accessed in the cloud (e.g., log in via a browser) or downloaded to your computer, there are frequent software updates that are available to you. These releases might be every fortnight or month – depending on the company. This means that with each new release you have access to a new version of the software.

With this huge change in the tech world, there is an increased need to maintain your technical skills. This article explores exactly ways to keep up with technical changes and continually learn efficient use of your software.

What is continuous learning? 

Continuous learning is a process where you practice existing skills in order to maintain them. It is also an opportunity to learn new knowledge and skills such as how to use a new version of software.

Continuous learning is important for your professional development so that you can progress in your career and continually build the competencies you need to excel in your job. Besides these two benefits, there are many other benefits to continuous learning.

In a nutshell, continuous learning is an intentional endeavour to continuously learn new things. Whether that be through formal training sessions or informal community forums. Continuous learning is an exercise to constantly improve.

For example, continuously improving your presentation skills can involve research on best practice for concise presentations, reading a book about presentation skills, practicing giving presentations and seeking feedback on your recent presentations. All of these are methods of continuous learning.

In regards to the technical changing world, opportunities for continuous learning are through researching answers in community forums, attending formal training sessions and investigating how to become more efficient in your existing software platforms. 

To start your continuous learning journey, especially in maintaining your technical skills, read the 3 Steps to Start with your Continuous Learning.


How to maintain technical skills in the tech world 

There are many ways to maintain your technical skills, but they all boil down to one thing: practice, practice and practice!  

As previously mentioned, community forums, formal training and research are all methods to maintain your skills in the tech world.

But they are not the only methods.

While you can practice your skills in our formal training sessions and form many new abilities, your practice needs to extend beyond a short training session. This is what our Training as a Service (TaaS) is all about – providing you with training over an extended period of time.

This provides you with the opportunities to continuously practice your existing skills and continuously learn new skills and abilities. For example, you can attend a formal training session for several hours that is followed by several reminder emails to practice. These emails are full of tips of shortcuts and features that you can easily forget. This whole process can be wrapped up with a refresher session. The purpose of this process is to ensure you retain your knowledge and skills.

This is a much more robust way of learning rather than attending a once-off training session every several years.

Additional methods for continuous learning include working on new projects with peers, sharing lessons learnt with peers, seeking feedback on your work results and connecting with a mentor. Here are 10 more ways to maintain your technical skills.

In short, to maintain your technical skills identify how you can practice these skills.


Ways to keep up with technical changes 

Now that you know how to maintain your technical skills, you need to learn how to keep up with technical changes?

If you don’t, how will you know of changes in your software? How will you know which features are new that you need to practice? What if a software has a complete user interface restructure and you haven’t read the upcoming release notes?

This will leave you in a position where you don’t have the skills you need. And, it may be too late by the time you realise, pushing you a step backward.

It is important to keep up with technical changes in your software. Here are five tips to stay up to date:

  1. Read the release notes that you can find in the platform, online or via email
  2. Learn what is new in each version
  3. Speak to colleagues and peers
  4. Be part of community forums to be notified of updates from the ideas/suggestion forum
  5. Sign up to the software newsletters

At least one of these methods will help you to keep up with technical changes.

Practice efficient use of software 

It is one thing to practice to maintain technical skills, such as learning new features and how you can implement them into your business. But continuously learning is more than just rote learning. It is more than just learning how to follow instructions.

Continuous learning helps you to solve problems by building your skills and abilities to the point that you become innovative. The process helps you to strive for excellence.

For example, in 2013 Microsoft Excel finally released a feature where you can split text amongst columns. This is extremely useful when downloading content from one platform and uploading to another. Some platforms accept first name and last name in one cell, while other platforms can only accept this data when they are in separate cells. If you don’t know this feature exists, you can waste hours upon hours in manually separating this data.

Likewise, if you do not know the shortcut to paste text without formatting into a Microsoft Word document, you can be wasting so many more hours in reformatting text. By the way, the shortcut is [CTRL] + [SHIFT] + V. Try it next time. Copy content from one source and use the shortcut to paste it into your document. The formatting automatically matches your existing formatting. These are examples from our Save a Million Minutes email series. Sign up for free here.

The point of these examples is that you can know the basics of a platform, but without truly learning the features, shortcuts and tools, you cannot become efficient in the software nor proficient in your job.  


Keeping up to date with new software releases and new features is the first step in your continuous learning journey.

Once you understand what is in a new release you can then focus on practicing how to use these new features and their best application in your business.

Practice by attending formal training sessions, going to refresher courses, being part of community forums, receiving tips and hints by email, sharing ideas with peers and seeking feedback.

These are the important steps to support you in maintaining your skills in an ever-changing technical world.