In today's economy, it's important to stay current in your industry. Keeping up with the latest trends and technologies is important if you already have a job, and it can be crucial if you are looking for work.
How can you stay current when the world of IT field is continually changing? Don't fret. CIO.com is here and ready to arm you with the knowledge and resources you need to help you use your time wisely.
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Keep in mind that it's important to both learn broadly about your industry in general, but also keep a narrow focus on your specialty -- the market is too large, with too many workers to just know a little about everything these days. There will always be a need for specialties within the IT industry -- specialization is not just for doctors and lawyers.
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1. Stay current with industry news
The days of manually searching for news on a specific topic are, of course, over. Today you can easily set up email alerts that will notify you if new online content is available and you can filter the info so that it alerts you only for news items on a specific term, rather than alerting you for other web content on the entire subject.
One good source for alerts is Google Alerts. To sign up, you simply visit the Google Alerts page, or sign into Google and search for any news item. At that point, you will have the option to add that search to your alerts. On the alerts page, choose the keyword or phrase, as well as what content you wish to be alerted about, as well as frequency at which you want the alerts sent.
You can set alerts to be delivered to you daily, via individual alerts for each item or via a roundup email that presents you with all the alerts on a daily basis. To keep the number of alerts manageable, you will want to limit it to news, rather than web content, unless your topic is rarely mentioned on the web.
Google Alerts will help you stay informed about, new products, services or upgrades, and anything relative to the technology you are focusing on -- such as changes in industry standards and, acquisitions. All of these types of things keep you current in the industry, and could help you answer deal breaking questions during interviews or evaluations.
2. Conferences, boot camps, and classes
Along with staying current via the news, attend classes, boot camps and conferences. Books can provide you with additional education, but classes are more well-rounded and will carry more weight. You can't really add, "I read a book" to your resume. Conferences not only expose you to updated information, they also help you to meet leading authorities and vendors in the IT industry as well as network with your IT peers.
Here are a few websites that provide links to industry conferences and events.