One of the many difficult aspects of career transitions is how isolated you can feel trying to access learning materials for your destination career. Professional development is important in any job, but when you are trying to transition from one industry or career to another, it becomes even more important. One major challenge of working on this professional development while in transition is that you really are on your own to seek it out and make it work. Especially if you are seeking to change career fields entirely, it takes research to find sources for professionals in that field. Another challenge? For training outside your company or in a new career, it often means paying for membership (often expensive if you aren’t in the field already) and taking personal time on nights or weekends to complete it.
So where can you go to start? In the interest of saving others the headache of trying to search out good quality and easily accessible professional development, here are a few sources I am using for my transition.
Association for Talent Development Career Development Community – ATD is the professional association for Talent Development professionals. But this community is a great source for blog posts, webinars, whitepapers and more relevant to anyone seeking to advance their career generally. For example, check out this great post on why you should Harness Diverse Personalities to Move Your Career Forward. You can access most of the resources for free, but membership in ATD is required for some things. At $229/year, I have found it too expensive since I am planning to transition away from T&D, but it may be worth it for you.
Training Magazine Network – Another T&D professional organization, I am a frequent haunt of the whitepapers and webinars presented by T&D because they are so diverse. They have a strong focus in e-learning and training professionals to be sure, but they also present numerous webinars on more cross-industry skills like Facilitation, Project Management and Leadership Development. For example I just signed up for The Five Levels of Leadership: A Game Plan for Leadership Development which promises to be a great webinar. All webinars are recorded and archived, and they can be seen for free for 30 days after the webinar date. After that membership is required, but their standard membership is a much more reasonable $95/year.
Not everyone has the resources during a transition to pay for access to the materials they need. Luckily for myself and for anyone transitioning into technology, there is some great stuff available for free online to help get you going!
Microsoft Virtual Academy – Free videos and PowerPoint course materials on everything from SQL to Network Basics and Coding which prepare you to take the exams to earn various Microsoft Certifications. Microsoft conveniently breaks out their certifications into distinct tracts so whether you are going for App Development or Cloud Infrastructure, you can easily find what you need.
Cybrary – Developed with the conviction that education in technology should be open-sourced and free for all, Cybrary is a great place for educational videos for various certifications. They tend to focus more on the Security end of technology, but they do have an extensive course catalog that includes CompTIA certifications (A+, Network+ and Security+ just to name a few), ISACA certifications such as CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor) and CISM (Certified Information Security Manager) and other various technology certifications like Cisco CCNA or CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional).
YouTube – You may not think of it as a place for good informational training, but there are several YouTube channels which are great resources for anyone seeking to transition into technology. Check out Professor Messer, who has numerous training and online study sessions for anyone seeking most of the common CompTIA certifications. It’s not enough to get you to pass the exams on their own, but they are great resources to add to your other study materials. To view advice on certifications which require experience first, click here. To learn ways to get employers to take you seriously, click here.