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Tips for Keeping Up With New Technology

Ask The Expert

By Barbara Mitchell

Q: I feel as if I'm getting left behind with all the new technologies required to do our work. It seems like something new is introduced every week, and then I'm even farther behind! What should I do to keep up?

A: I think most people would understand where you're coming from. It is a challenge to keep up with the rapid development of new applications and tools, but it is also a necessity. Technology is a critical element of our working life today, and keeping up takes effort and time—quite frankly, time most of us don't have to spare.

One of the most difficult parts of keeping up is admitting that you need some help, but there is nothing to be ashamed of—we all need help from time to time. Here are some cost-effective and time-saving steps you can take to stay current.

  1. Start by assessing what you need. Do you need something as simple as a tutorial on a technology you use all the time to be faster or to learn some shortcuts to increase your proficiency, or do you need to start from scratch? Once you're clear on what you need, then you can dive into the next step.

  2. Technology is a critical element of our working life today, and keeping up takes effort and time.

  3. Look at what resources are available to meet your needs and requirements. Some possibilities include books you can find at the library like the Dummies series or Complete Idiot's Guides, articles in magazines or newspapers, online classes, and YouTube videos, which exist on virtually every topic. Get tips from your technologically savvy kids or grandkids, take classes at your local community college, or even seek help from people in your professional network or coworkers who you know have already mastered the technology.

  4. Don't overlook resources within your organization. Take advantage of any opportunity that comes up to learn new skills. For example, most vendors offer training to their clients, so if that's offered to you, jump at it. A colleague on your IT staff could also be a good mentor, someone who will work with you one on one to help facilitate your learning.

Don't put this off. The longer you wait, the more you'll have to learn. Get started today to assess what you need and find the best resources available.

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR and The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook. Do you have a question you'd like her to answer in "Ask the Expert"? Send it to [email protected]

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