The start of a new year may be the motivation you need to try or learn something new. It’s a good idea to be learning new skills and taking on new opportunities throughout the year, but the idea of a ‘fresh start’ can be good motivation for a lot of us.
However, this isn’t something we should only strive to do in the new year. You should (if you can) strive to learn new skills, take on new opportunities and try to stay motivated throughout the working year. If the concept of the new year helps get you in gear and feeling driven, then work with it. Whether you are currently working or job seeking full-time, there is always room for learning. We have compiled a list of skills that can not only allow you to learn something new and useful but can help you feel motivated throughout the year and enjoy your time.
Coding is a skill desired by many engineers, whether that be employers seeking candidates with this skill or individuals wanting to learn. Coding and programming skills can be invaluable. Not only will you develop skills and an understanding of how-to code, but the learning process can help you develop a range of different soft skills as well. For example, it can help sharpen your problem-solving, logical thinking and help to understand processes.
Coding isn’t just one skill; it’s made up of a range of different elements and can take some time to learn. It’s definitely a time investment. So, make sure you know what type of coding you are interested in before making any commitments. Understand why you want to do this and research this beforehand. This can help you avoid wasting any of your time. There are a range of learning materials available, just ensure you choose the right one for you. Although it takes time, it’s a skill that can bring many benefits.
Engineers are often expected to have a basic knowledge on project management. Whether you have just started in a role, or you are looking for a new one or a promotion, management skills are highly sought after. You don’t have to be in a management position to start brushing up on these skills. These skills are useful if you are looking to put yourself forward for a project at work or even when you are working as part of a wider team. They are skills that are always worth having. When looking to improve your project management skills, you should look to find out more about:
- Managing risk
- Delivering success
- Dealing with failure
Learning is sometimes about dealing with failures as well as being able to deliver success. You can find courses online or if you discuss your learning opportunities with your line manager at work, there may be courses they can get you involved in at work.
Depending on your role, presenting may not be something you do on a day-to-day basis, but it can be a very handy skill to have, especially as a job seeker. There may be times at work when you will be asked to present and not be ready for it, skills like this can help make this easier. Giving you a better understanding on where to start and how to plan presentations as well as giving them. It can be a very nerve-wracking thing to do at first, but if you get practice, this may start to feel better over time.
If you are a job seeker, it might feel daunting to have to present ideas, past work, or portfolios to an interviewer. If you know what to say and how to say it, it can help you feel more confident about interviews in general and understand how to better deal with these situations.
New tech and software
As an engineer, you will know that the technologies and software you use are constantly changing and evolving. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, tech, and skills you need in order to fulfil a role. Most employers may provide you with training, when necessary, but if it’s something you want to learn for yourself, you might need to take matters into your own hands.
Learning how to use a new system, programme or piece of tech doesn’t just happen overnight. It might be worth investing in video training, e-learning or even classes if it's something you feel passionate about or need for a future role. If it’s important to you and your job, then it’s worthwhile. Take some time to invest in yourself.
Your personal development plan
Your PDP (personal development plan) is a structured plan to help you do a range of different things. You can use this to:
- Highlight the skills you already have
- Pick and develop skills you want to learn or enhance
- Figure out what you want to achieve
- How you are going to achieve those goals
- Have a place to keep your CVs, job applications, interviews, and work appraisals all in one place
There is no specific way to start and develop your PDP, but it is important that you are consistent. It takes time to learn how to do this, stay consistent and motivated as well as following through with tasks you promised yourself you would do. This skill is for you, no one else. It can allow you to figure out what you want and find a way to reach your goals. So, it might be worth giving it a try. The IET is here to help you with things like this, so you can always get in contact.
A new hobby you want to learn
It’s a good idea to start doing some things for you. It can be very easy to let work get in the way of your personal life from time to time, but you should try and keep that to a minimum. Take the time you deserve to do something for yourself. Whether that be learning something new, going somewhere or taking back time to continue a hobby of yours. It is valid and sometimes, when you take time for yourself to reset and recharge, it can help you in your working life. We all need a little time, so make sure this is the year you finally put yourself first.
There is so much you can do in a year, but also know that time will pass you by quickly! Find your motivation and grab it. Learn something new, take on different opportunities at work and do something for yourself. 2023 is going to be a great year!