Continuous learning: the importance of

Just a little thought… recently it occurred to me how important it is not to stop learning. Rather an obvious thought one might say, but it’s easy to forget when you’ve got 101 other ‘more important’ things to do.

Naturally, this is more important in some industries (anything web-related for a start) than in others. And some of this learning takes place just as a matter of course – it’s part of doing the job. It’s rare for a week, even a day to pass, without me learning something new – maybe just a tiny thing, but something new nonetheless.

But there are also things that you have to make a conscious effort to learn. New technologies, new approaches, or a new skill altogether. For example, things that I have recently, or am in the process of learning more about:

• Mobile (responsive) web design
• jQuery (javascript library)
• Web Analytics

All these things I knew a certain amount about already. But I didn’t/don’t yet know enough to really employ them to their full potential.

I’m not saying you have to be, or indeed should be, an expert on each and every latest technology, technique, approach. Some people pretend to be… the phrase ‘jack of all trades and master of none’ comes to hand. But know enough to make the decision as to whether you need or want to know more.

As well as being important for your clients, it’s important for you. Making a conscious decision NOT to learn more about something – for a good reason – is very different from just ignoring the fact it’s out there.

Action points?

Keep abreast of what’s changing in your industry. If it’s something new/something you don’t understand, find out more! If it’s something that could be beneficial to your clients & to your business, make yourself an expert! Enrol on a course, buy a book & teach yourself, put into practice what you know, ask experts, etc etc.

Try and set aside an hour each week/as often as you can afford it, specifically for the purpose of learning. Look out for opportunities/projects where you can put your learning into practice – after all, that’s where most learning takes place.

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