Do Yourself a Favor and Force Yourself to Learn Technology

Joe Weinlick
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When you are busy with everyday management responsibilities, it can be difficult to keep up with advances in business technology. Despite the speed at which new technologies are introduced into the marketplace, it is crucial to find the time to keep pace. In doing so, you can avoid being left behind and identify the best time to adapt new technologies.

For many management professionals, there is little time in the day to work on new tasks, much less consider new technologies. The more time you spend avoiding business technology, however, the more difficult it is to catch up. In a world where smartphones, new software, and tablets are increasingly integrated into all facets of life, technology is unavoidable. It also changes quickly; according to a story from Venture Beat, Intel recently announced new developments that are set to revolutionize cloud computing, a technology that only just emerged as a viable business solution.

For managers, it is particularly important to stay ahead of the business technology curve. New employees coming out of college are likely to be well versed in existing technologies—more importantly, they are comfortable learning new technologies, often on the fly. As a manager, it is your responsibility to direct your team and accomplish tasks efficiently. Without a solid understanding of the tools of the trade, you will not be able to most effectively utilize your team members' skills.

The first step in becoming comfortable with business technology is learning the basics. Depending on your level of experience, you can direct your own technology education or seek assistance from others. For senior-level managers, it can be difficult to admit deficiency, particularly to subordinate employees. If you don't want to risk losing face with your team, the best option is to seek out a class. For in-person classes, look at the continuing education department of a local university or community college. In most cases, classes that are not for credit come with a steeply discounted price. Many are held in the evening, so you won't need to worry about conflicting work schedules.

If you don't live near a university, you can consider online courses in business technology. For managers, these classes have the added benefit of anonymity, which can help you preserve your professional reputation. A number of schools, including ITT Technical Institute and Central Ohio Technical College, offer Internet-based courses that cover the latest technologies in depth. For a less expensive option, look at free courses offered online by major universities around the world. These courses, often called massive online open courses (MOOCs), provide the syllabus, notes, and other resources. You can buy the books, complete assignments, and, in some cases, participate in forums and video chats with other students. Start with a service like Coursera, which provides real-time classes from a range of respected universities. In doing so, you can get a technology education without losing the respect of the people you manage.

Whether you are a complete novice when it comes to business technology or you simply want to brush up your skills, organized courses are an excellent option. By staying educated, you can improve your effectiveness as a manager and help your company stay current.



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