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Budget for Training

By Steve Jones,

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and is refreshed, ready to tackle the new year. Many of you might have made resolutions with the calendar change, and I'd urge you to consider making one more: a resolution to learn something new in 2014 related to your career.

I've been tackling the Powershell Challenge for a little over a month now, and one of the things I've found to be problematic is scheduling. With vacation and the holidays, I haven't had a set schedule in my life. More importantly, I hadn't scheduled myself specific times to work on Powershell and fell behind in my challenge.

Andy Warren, co-founder of SQLServerCentral, has a talk about building a professional development plan in which he notes that we need to budget both time and money for our plan. It's important that you not only commit some time, but that you schedule it. You may also need some money, and you ought not to be afraid of investing in yourself, especially if you are looking to move into a new area, or find a new job.

I haven't done a great job of making time for my career over the last month, but I have realized that I need to do so. I am looking to schedule specific times on specific days to work on my skills over the next few months. My plan is to take 2 lunches a week and dedicate that time to working on PoSh. I'm hoping that putting myself on a schedule will help me focus and get through my challenge. 

I would encourage you, on this, the first full week of the new year, to take an hour or two and plan out your learning for the year. My recommendation is you pick at least two six week time periods across the year. During each of those periods, schedule 2-4 sessions a week to learn. They can be half hour to hour slots where you work on a specific skill and improve your knowledge. You could start with one of our Stairway series if you're looking for ideas. Give yourself at least a week or two, and probably a month, between sessions to recharge. Be sure you are also looking out for opportunities to put your new skills to work throughout the year.

You are responsible for your career, and today is the first day of the rest of your career.

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