The consulting industry is a very competitive field with an abundance of highly educated professionals with proven track records of success. In order to succeed and stay relevant in such a competitive field, consultants have to keep their knowledge up to date and continuously hone their skills. The question is, what is the best way to develop skills and grow professionally without the big price tags that come with graduate and postgraduate courses. We’ve asked top consultants to weigh in with their favorite tips for skill development at zero cost.
Reading is the cheapest and most accessible way to increase knowledge, develop new skills and stay relevant with current industry trends. Reading might include books, industry magazines, and online resources. In addition, if you are in the IT field, reading application documentation is a great way to understand concepts, study code, and even become aware of user problems and how developers addressed them. Online forums are also a great way to immerse yourself in information, just be careful not to waste too much time on mediocre resources.
DEVELOP YOUR OWN PRODUCT/ PROGRAM METHODOLOGY
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me, and I forget, teach me, and I remember, involve me, and I learn.” The real learning happens when you start applying what you have read and studied. Creating your own projects is a good practice to put what you have studied and read into practice.. To do this, start by thinking about a problem your clients might face, and brainstorm solutions to solve those problems. You don’t need to invest a lot of time or effort (especially since these solutions might be mock solutions). Working on these mini-projects will allow you to try various problem-solving approaches. As an added bonus, you might be able to use these solutions to build a professional portfolio to elevate your resume.
Platforms such as Edex, Corsera, Udacity, or Udemy provide great online courses, for free or at affordable prices, that help develop both your hard skills and soft skills. There are additional specialized platforms that provide specific technical courses. Start first with the free class, and later you can decide if it’s worth investing in further.
START A BLOG
Writing about what you know is a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your field, and will strengthen your skills by educating others. Your blog will serve as your teaching platform, where you can share your knowledge and ideas, and maybe even answer questions that will encourage you to research new topics and learn even more in your field.
Online platforms are always searching for professionals who can teach. Consider becoming an instructor. Instructors stay very current in the field by spending time and effort preparing teaching materials, reading new resources and developing communication and problem-solving skills. Teaching not only helps build knowledge and skills, but also allows you to earn money along the way.