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The School Year

By Steve Jones,

It's August and for many people in the world that means that school will be starting sometime this month. My children have a little over two weeks left before they begin, with the mourning for the end of summer break already beginning. Some of us that work at a career for a living will also be starting school. People are pursuing advanced degrees, such as a PhD or MBA, while still managing a full time job, with their workload about to increase this fall as well. However most of us aren't in either of these situations, and we go to work each day, but come home and (hopefully) enjoy the rest of our lives with family, pursuing hobbies, or some other activity.

However many of us do have some leisure time that we could redirect to another endeavor. Working in technology can be a stressful, time consuming job at times, but it can also be a fairly easy job, physically. Many of us understand our environments and can often complete our jobs in a reasonable number of hours each week. It's also a job that often compensates us very well. However it's a field that demands regular skill improvement for success, security, and opportunity.

With that idea in mind, I wanted to ask you to think about the rest of the coming year. If you aren't overloaded at work, and you treat the next few months as the beginning of a school term, how would you answer this question?

What will you learn this semester?

Learning new skills can make your job easier (Powershell, administrators?). It might bring new opportunities or projects your way (Powerpivot/Powerview/Hadoop). It might even find you a new job, a job that suits you better in some way. If you blog about what you are learning, perhaps building a project, you might catch an employer's attention. Learning is almost never time wasted, if you have the time in your life. Consider taking on a small project, working your way through a Stairway series or book, or learning some new skill this fall.

This time of year is busy for me. I have eight more flights and events booked across the next few months, and a few new presentations to develop and practice. However I'm hoping to find a few minutes each day to work my way through a C# book and improve my skills in that area. I haven't built any front end software in years, apart from simple web interfaces, and I'd like to bone up some skills, which might bring new opportunities, but will also benefit my job where I need to create some content around the Deployment Manager product, in C#, and hopefully well done. No matter how it turns out, I'm sure I'll have learned something, and probably had some fun.

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