Three Questions to Ask When Deciding What Skill to Learn Next

By Chelsea Babin

To stay competitive in their field and personally fulfilled, many technical professionals dedicate a little time outside of work to learning a new skill. Keep in mind, some skills are more valuable or more fulfilling than others. What’s the best way to figure out which skill you should learn next? Ask yourself these three questions!

1. Is it in demand in your current or dream job? Asking yourself this question first and doing the necessary research to find the answer is a great jumping off point because, if your goal is to learn a skill that can help you improve your performance at your current job or eventually snag your dream job, spending time learning skills that aren’t relevant will slow your progression. Knowing how marketable and useful a skill is in your current or dream job will help you determine if it’s one you should start learning right away or set aside for a later date.

2. What are you best at? They say that 90 percent of success is showing up but what about the other 10 percent? It comes down to a combination of luck and natural ability. When you’re trying to determine which skill you should learn next, ask yourself what kinds of things you’re good at and if a particular skill (that you don’t yet have) falls naturally within your wheelhouse. If you can see yourself becoming really amazing at a particular skill it’s probably a good one to start learning!

3. Are you passionate about it? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to ask yourself if you’re passionate about learning a particular skill. Some technologies take months or years to fully grasp. If you can’t see yourself getting excited about setting aside that time and consistently pursuing a specific skill it may not be the right one for you to choose to learn. Pursuing knowledge, skills, and technologies that you’re genuinely interested in is the easiest way to gain new experience because your passion will drive you to succeed.

Developing new skills can be time consuming so you don’t want to dive into the learning process without asking yourself these three important questions. If a specific skill or technology fits well into your answers for all three of these questions it’s safe to assume that it’s a great choice for the next skill on your list of skills to learn!