How to Become a Lifelong Learner

. 4 min read

Gone are the days when one could become a software engineer and be set on a career path of steady work, onsite opportunities and a salary on a rising curve. As the Eagles sang: ‘The World Is Changing Right Before Your Eyes’; technology, economy, and society are rapidly evolving. This brings far-reaching changes in the demand for skills, knowledge and therefore, wages. Occupations of the future will be different from the ones today.

We have to learn to update our knowledge and skills continuously to prevent oneself from getting out-skilled or ignorant and remain relevant in the employment market.

Let us see how one can acquire skills to keep up with the dynamic landscape.

Make learning a habit for life

Schools and colleges are not the only places to learn. Learning can be done anywhere and at any time. Aim to pursue intellectual development at all times. Books, e-books, videos, podcasts, online courses, seminars, etc. are all easily accessible. To learn constantly, build a learning mindset. Be ready to learn something new. Do not be afraid to admit that you lack knowledge. Be curious and inquisitive.

Upskill or reskill yourself

Assume you are a frontend developer. You know HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery and AngularJS. It sounds good as you know many relevant languages. But how will you survive if there is a technological upheaval? New technologies might change the way websites are designed. Your company might have a strategic shift towards data science and get projects requiring skills in Python. You will get stagnant if you continue to work exclusively in a few languages. How will you get ahead of the competition? Upskill and reskill yourself so that you remain employable. Embrace different technologies.

If you are a graphics designer, acquire coding skills and design perspectives to become a UX Designer or Design Strategist. If you are a Business Analyst, hone the following skills to transition to project management:

  • Negotiation and client management
  • Communication
  • Project budgeting
  • Team management

You will advance up the career ladder if you have deep knowledge in your chosen field of expertise and know-how in related fields.

Set and track your learning goals

Take charge of your learning. Set your learning goals. The learning goals should be SMART - specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound.

Examples of SMART Goals are:

  • I will become a certified Scrum Master by April 2020.
  • I will understand the product that my company builds from a business perspective and present my understanding to my manager to pave my way towards becoming a product owner.

Track your goals regularly and take corrective measures if you see yourself slacking.

How Do I Become a Lifelong Learner?

A lifelong learner actively commits time and effort to acquire knowledge and skills. Here are some steps to embark on the journey of being a learner for life:

Self-learning techniques

Self-learning is a common trait among successful people. Here is a four-step strategy to become a self-learner.

  • Set your learning goals by identifying what you want to learn by when. Develop a plan to achieve it.
  • Be an active learner by being an active reader and an active listener. Engage yourself completely in the book, podcast or lecture. Practice active learning by recalling main ideas or explaining the concept in your own words.
  • Track your actual learning schedule and reduce deviations from the plan if any. Test your knowledge and go back to learning if dissatisfied with the results.
  • Put learning into action. If you are learning to create mobile apps, try to create your own app. If you are learning communication skills, host an event in the company.

New experiences and information

The brain develops new nerve cell connections when you get new and varied information and experiences. Expand your mental horizons by learning new things, getting different perspectives on one subject and exploring new places.

Exercise and meditation

Physical exercise, mental training, and meditation help our brains to develop. They improve our attention span and enhance our memory skills and creativity. They improve our mental health. Take up a physical activity that you like such as jogging or cycling and do it regularly. Practice meditation once a day to improve focus and reduce stress.

Sleep

We love scrolling on our phone until the wee hours or binge-watching our favourite series to relax. But this is far from relaxing. Your brain and body do not get adequate rest leading to tiredness and lack of concentration. It is important to get enough sleep for the day so that our memories are consolidated and the brain and body are rested.

Nutrition

Too much of processed foods can lead to overloading of sugars and toxins. Our mind and body become sluggish. A balanced diet and regular meal-times are important for a healthy mind and a healthy body.

Summary

Lifelong learning ensures that you are not left behind. Once you are on the path of continuous learning, you will be in control of your career and you can future-proof your personal and professional life.

The tech industry is a fast paced industry and demand for skilled personnel never goes down. Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are some of the fastest growing sectors as on date. Try upskilling yourself with any of our programs on emerging tech here.



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