Why lifelong learning is pivotal for your IT team
“The server’s down!”
“What’s network authentication again?”
“No, we’re secure. We’ve got an IDS, anti-virus and proper firewalling….”
“Yeah, the marketing team has just been using the same, shared password…”
Call it Murphy’s Law or just bad timing, but you never want to overhear any of the above, especially when your IT pros don’t know where to turn, or haven’t been educating the rest of the org on security best practices.
It’s tough to continue on the day-to-day grind and not only embrace new technology, but keep up with it. And for IT pros, it’s especially difficult because they’re so intertwined with the minute-by-minute operation of your organization, whether it’s troubleshooting minor issues or dealing with major ones like security nightmares and data breaches.
But, letting their crucial stake in operations get in the way of learning would be an oversight—a very costly one, at that. Here are some key points to consider and why your IT team constantly needs to be skilling up:
Move forward with tech
In technology, there’s only one thing that remains the same: It’s always changing. So even if you’re happily rolling along with the present infrastructure, it won’t be the best option for you forever. One of the biggest factors in companies avoiding a new technology or product version is the excuse that “our administrators don’t know that version.” Your team could be holding the whole organization back—and by no fault of their own. If you keep your IT team up-to-date with the latest tech, you can make the best decisions for the company as a whole, without worrying about old methods weighing you down. When your IT employees move forward with tech as it evolves, they can bring the rest of the organization with it.
Aim for wide, not narrow
When IT pros are tasked with managing a specific technology on an ongoing basis – think infrastructure, email or directory services – it’s easy to settle into that and only that. Some might call it routine, others might call it a rut, but IT pros who are set in their ways are less flexible unless able to find innovative solutions. Ongoing learning, as well as cross-training, can keep those brains nimble and sharp. This means your IT team will (most likely) have the skills to address new problems with finesse, or step in seamlessly to cover for someone who’s out of office. And as more efficient, new technologies and methods arise – like cloud and DevOps for example – your team will be open to better ways, not stuck in old ones.
Promote from within
IT pros tend to be more and more valued players the longer they stay with your organization. Instead of recruiting from outside the company for top-tier positions, training an existing lower-tier staffer to transition into a new, higher role can pay dividends: You keep their institutional knowledge in the organization, avoid the hassle of hiring an external candidate and increase their company loyalty in the process. Consider using technical certs as a “no-brainer” employee benefit, and give your team access to on-demand learning solutions to help keep their skills sharp.
For more ways to make time for learning and keep it affordable, check out our guide.