It is time to invest in your education and development. There may be a course you have been meaning to take or a conference you have wanted to attend. Do not wait any longer, as you are your most precious asset, and you should invest in yourself fully.
You and your growth are all you can truly control after all. Even your professional projects are vulnerable to an element of uncertainty. Why not, then, invest in your education and growth? Sometimes the cost is a hurdle, but finding and making the time in a busy schedule is usually the hardest obstacle.
What you can create and do in your professional career depends on the capacity you hold in relation to your education, knowledge, and skills. No matter how broad this capacity is, there is always room to increase your capabilities.
The World is Moving Quickly
The world is advancing at such a rapid pace that the half-life of a college education has decreased. Your degree is most likely no longer going to get you through the entire span of your career. Technology and the context surrounding any company continues to change. The only way to stay updated and informed is to continue to learn constantly.
We must continue our learning practices to keep moving forward at the required pace. How you continue your education depends on your personal preferences, and fortunately, there are more channels today than ever.
Make the Space
First, ask yourself what your priorities are. You may have put off investing in your education for a while due to your career and other personal commitments. You may have a backlog of learning opportunities you would like to participate in. Consider all of these things and make a list.
Examine your list to decide which activity will have the most impact on your growth. There may also be one that has been on your mind more often or frequently than the others. I recommend seeing if that activity is where you should focus.
Some of the ways to invest in yourself are:
Courses, Certifications, and Degrees: You can take courses at local universities or institutes which may lead to advanced degrees or additional certificates. Coursera is a great portal if you don’t have the option to attend in-person courses.
Conferences: Professional conferences are a great way to get a quick update on relevant issues within your industry. They are also a good opportunity to network with others who do similar types of work.
Books: Take the time to read that book you have been meaning to read. Reading books is my preferred method of learning, as there are books on just about any topic you are interested in. The best part is that you can move forward at your own pace.
If you are most interested in expanding your education through courses, make sure the one you choose is right for you:
Costs: Find out fees for the course, and figure out transportation, lodging, and required materials, if any. There may be ways of reducing costs by sharing a car ride with a colleague or seeing if your company will pay for some of these expenses.
Time commitment: Include how much time you have to block in your schedule for course time and any time for homework if any.
Mode: Research how your course is offered, whether it’s presence-based or online. You might find it easier to join an online course because there is no commuting time, or you may prefer to attend an actual class because it ensures a stronger commitment.
With all this information in place, you can organize your personal development schedule for the year. It may include just one item on your list or several. Take that first step today. What you want to accomplish is available to you, and education and experience are what will get you there.