5 Steps to Learning New Technology at a New Job
Changing jobs can be daunting, especially when you must learn new technology supporting the company’s business. Perhaps you’ve got to master a completely new system, or maybe something that seems more innocuous, like a change in a platform or swapping from one tool to another. For example, you may have to switch from Teams to Slack, Excel to Google Sheets, or WordPress to Drupal. Either way, in addition to learning your new role, you’ll have to master new tools. Here’s our roundup of best practices to learning new technology that will help you gain confidence and help spur you toward success in your career.
How to Learn New Tech Fast
Quickly learning new technology can help you transition smoothly and show value in your new role. But how do you do that and minimize anxiety? Here are some tips to help you master new technology fast.
- Assess your company’s learning and development and onboarding opportunities.
Many companies offer training as part of onboarding and beyond. That’s a great place to start. Tech-savvy companies encourage the employee’s continuous learning journey in various ways:
- Budget for Learning Platforms and Resources
Forward-thinking companies allocate budgets specifically for employees to attend conferences, workshops, and training programs relevant to their roles. Some popular platforms include LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, and Coursera. This financial support empowers individuals to explore the latest technologies and gain practical experience.
- Internal Tech Communities and Forums
Companies often foster internal tech communities, learning portals, or interest groups. These communities bring together individuals with shared technology interests, allowing them to exchange knowledge, share resources, and collaborate on innovative projects.
- Sandbox Environments
Tech-oriented companies provide sandbox environments, virtual machines, or testbeds for employees to experiment with new technologies in a safe and controlled environment. This empowers you to explore and practice without the fear of causing disruptions in production systems.
2. Set aside time to learn.
The best way to prioritize your learning and development is setting aside some time. You can’t expect to learn everything on the fly or squeeze it in between your other tasks. You must dedicate some focused time to exploring the new technology, practicing using it, and troubleshooting any issues.
You can set aside time to learn in a way that accommodates your schedule and preferences. For example, you can block out an hour or two every day, a half-day or full day every week, or a weekend every month. The important thing is to make learning a priority and stick to your plan.
3. Seek out and follow experts, tutorials, and guides.
Round up your resources before you begin. If you’re a didactic or self-taught learner, you’ll have an easier time working through hurdles if you have an arsenal of websites, guides, and tutorials at your fingertips. Do consider your learning style and goals when gathering your resources. For example, if you are a hands-on learner, you can watch a video and apply the steps as you go through it. If you’re someone who learns by taking notes, maybe you’d prefer to listen to a podcast or webinar. Blogs, eBooks, and checklists are often free to access and download on many websites.
Many sources and subject matter experts are available today online, from those who focus on beginners to advanced masters. These experts are often tech fans who can help you cover the basics and demo shortcuts, tips, and tricks along the way.
4. Review what you learned daily.
A crucial step to learning how to use new technology is reviewing what you learned daily. Experts say that forgetting and reworking a task is what builds memory muscles. Reviewing what you learned daily will also help you identify any gaps or errors in your knowledge and correct them.
Mix up your review activities for challenge and variety. For example, you can create a summary checklist or “cheat sheet” of what you learned, quiz yourself on steps and new terms, or teach someone else what you learned. The more opportunities you create to review your cheat sheets and checklists, the faster you will glide over the learning curve.
5. Reach out to someone in the organization known as a power user.
A final step to learning how to use new technology is reaching out to someone in the organization known as a power user. A power user knows the ins and outs of the technology or system supporting the company’s business. They are often willing to share what they’ve learned along the way and might have insights that will speed up your learning process of the technology while also helping you understand more about the company.
To reach out to a power user, you can ask your manager or your peers for a recommendation or look for someone who seems confident and proficient with the technology. A polite ask for assistance may be all it takes. While you could offer to share your expertise in another area, many people are willing to help for a simple, sincere expression of your gratitude or the opportunity to build a friendship.
Time to Mastery Is Time Worth Spent
Learning new technology quickly when making a job change can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding; frustration gives way to confidence, and soon you’ve added another arrow in your quiver of tools. While mastery is never achieved overnight, by leveraging your resources and diving into daily practice, you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn in a short time.
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