If you’ve already landed an amazing tech job, the next step may be gaining additional skills and knowledge in order to continue advancing in your career. That may mean that you’ll want to participate in some sort of professional development in order to remain knowledgeable of the latest trends and developments in the tech industry and obtain the skills to become a strong tech professional.
Professional development refers to a number of activities, courses, or programs that help individuals improve their skills, knowledge and expertise in the field, such as:
Pursuing advanced degrees.
Professional development is crucial for folks who want to remain competitive in the face of a constantly developing labor market and new demands for professionals. That said, partaking in professional development abroad can be beneficial because of the skills gained from the international experience. You’ll not only learn from the courses or training that you’ll participate in, but also:
Benefit from studying in a different context and with folks from different backgrounds
Experience exposure to new ideas and perspectives
Have global networking opportunities
Develop new skills development
Experience cultural immersion.
Professional Development in Tech
Professional development in tech is especially important because the tech sector transforms at such a rapid pace. Participating in courses, workshops, online seminars, or conferences may be necessary (and fun!) for individuals to remain competitive in the job market and advance their careers.
Tech professionals may want to sign up for coding bootcamps to learn programming languages, study new software development methodologies, enhance project management skills, participate in data analysis and visualization courses, gain a deeper knowledge of cybersecurity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. There are numerous ways that tech professionals can engage in professional development, including variety in the duration or the intensity of the professional development work.
Why is professional development important?
Professional development is crucial for advancing one’s career in any field and particularly important in tech given the ongoing developments of the industry. It’s an investment in your own job satisfaction, career pathway, and personal growth--factors that are hugely important to one’s motivation and happiness. Here are a few reasons why one should invest in professional development:
Career advancement: if you want to advance in your career, investing in making yourself a stronger tech professional is undoubtedly important. Professional development can help workers acquire new skills and knowledge, making them more valuable to a workplace and thus, more competitive in the job market. This may lead to better job opportunities and potential salary increases.
Increased job satisfaction: partaking in professional development often leads to workers feeling more fulfilled in their current positions precisely because they are given opportunities for growth. It’s an investment in their work and can lead to higher job satisfaction.
Staying up-to-date: professional development is hugely important in rapidly changing industries like tech because new advances in programs, services, or best practices are constant. Staying up-to-date with those developments is crucial if companies want to remain relevant and if tech professionals want to be effective in their jobs.
Personal growth: professional growth often happens hand-in-hand with personal growth. Through professional development, individuals are pushed outside their comfort zones and encouraged to learn new skills, engage new perspectives, and develop their knowledge and expertise that will also expand their lives in and beyond the workplace.
All in all, professional development is important for advancing one's career, increasing one’s happiness at work, keeping everyone up-to-date on industry trends, and is related to one’s personal growth. From the perspective of the employer, professional development is important to a company remaining competitive and relevant, motivating one’s employees, and investing in one’s business.
From the perspective of the workers, professional development is an investment in your employability, satisfaction at work, and ultimately your personal and professional growth. Professional development is a necessary part of one’s career pathway.
Developing soft skills in addition to technical skills
When we think of professional development, what often comes to mind are technical based skills. In the case of technology that may mean learning new programming languages or software development technologies. However, equally important is the development of one’s soft skills. By this we mean the advancement of one’s interpersonal skills--something that’s becoming increasingly important in a globalized economy.
It’s often said that soft skills cannot be replicated by code or robots, they’re our human-like abilities that help us effectively communicate, adapt to new situations, and become leaders in our workplaces. A few of the most important soft skills include:
Communication skills: effective communication is essential to collaborating with team members, conveying important information, providing constructive criticism, and articulating ideas clearly.
Leadership: soft skills like leadership are important for workers who hope to advance their work in the tech industry. Learning how to manage group work, motivate team members, and offer guidance or encouragement towards a common goal is necessary for folks who want to lead in their workplaces.
Adaptability: workers who are able to adapt are more capable of navigating conflict, being resilient in the face of adversity, and thriving in new environments or in light of new challenges. Tech professionals need to be able to adapt to new technologies, changing job requirements, shifting company priorities, and an ever-changing tech industry.
Emotional intelligence: emotional intelligence is crucial in understanding and managing one’s emotions as well as the emotions of others. It’s necessary in building strong relationships and navigating conflict.
In other words, becoming a more competitive job candidate or advancing in your career depends not only on your technical skills, but your soft skills as well. These skills can be trained, but may require escaping your comfort zone to really practice them.
Professional Development Abroad
More and more tech professionals are opting for professional development abroad precisely because it’s a way to develop one’s technical skills and soft skills at the same time. While participating in activities to enhance technical skills and knowledge, individuals also gain from exposure to new cultures, ideas, methodologies, workplace practices, and the rhythms of a new country. It’s hugely important in learning how to collaborate across borders, work with folks from different backgrounds, gain listening skills and expand one’s ideas and perspectives.
Here are a few reasons why participating in professional development abroad may be beneficial:
Exposure to new ideas and perspectives: participating in professional development abroad ensures exposure to different approaches to technology and innovation. By attending professional development activities abroad, you’ll be sure to encounter ideas and ways of understanding the industry that will be different from what you may encounter at home.
Language skills: if you’re interested in learning new languages, there’s obviously no better way than to immerse yourself. Why not take advantage of professional development abroad and improve your language skills while you’re at it. Many language schools offer specific courses for mastering business language or can personalize classes to your learning needs.
Problem-solving: problem-solving is necessary for tech professionals, whether it be debugging code or navigating interpersonal conflict, one’s ability to solve problems is the base of what an employee contributes to a company. Putting yourself in a totally new context will force you to open up, expand the ways you think, adapt to new situations, and be resilient and creative in the face of unexpected challenges.
Leadership: in an ever expanding tech industry and globalized economy, being able to lead in all sorts of contexts is a huge challenge for tech professionals. Learning how to collaborate across cultural backgrounds, motivate diverse teams, effectively communicate, and gain the respect of your collaborators is what it means to be a great leader. Practicing this through professional development activities abroad is one way to greatly enhance one’s leadership skills.
Networking opportunities: participation in professional development abroad promises global networking opportunities. The tech industry is without question a globalized industry, so getting to know the global landscape of tech and other folks who work in the industry will be of great use as you advance your career.
Cultural immersion: taking part in professional development abroad provides opportunities to experience different cultures and rhythms of life. This will help folks develop a broader perspective of how to approach tech work and how the tech industry is understood globally. The importance of cultural immersion cannot be underplayed.
Innovation: participating in activities abroad is humbling because what you may have previously considered “right answers” or solutions to certain problems might not even be considered in a different country. That said, by participating in professional development abroad, you’ll face a myriad of perspectives, ideas, and approaches that can only spark possibilities for greater innovation.
In many ways, participating in professional development abroad is a way to take a step back, look around, expand what you once believed to be true, and then leap forward with a greater understanding of the tech landscape and the possibilities for innovation. It’s a humbling process and you’ll be sure to find yourself out of your comfort zone at moments.
That said, not only will you obtain the technical skills gained from a course or a conference, but you’ll strengthen your soft interpersonal skills. This will make you more capable of solving problems, navigating interpersonal conflict, collaborating across borders and cultural backgrounds, and taking on leadership roles in your workplace.
Invest in Yourself and Understand the Global Tech Industry
Participating in professional development abroad is ultimately an investment in yourself, in your personal growth, in your career, and in developing a stronger and more resilient globalized tech industry. It’s a special opportunity for tech professionals and should be considered if you’re thinking about professional development options.
If this sounds appealing, then look no further. Ironhack has campuses in ten major cities around the globe and is home to students from over 70 different nationalities. We offer courses in Web Development, Data Analytics, UX/UI Design, and Cybersecurity. Join one of our bootcamps and get on track to advance your career in tech.