There are a few paths to becoming a developer: finishing a computer science degree, or doing an intensive bootcamp, or self-teaching with the help of online programs and communities.
But once those developers are part of your team, how can you make sure that they are continuously learning?
That they’re building on the foundational skills that qualified them for the job and keeping up with the knowledge they’ll need to succeed?
Making sure your company has a healthy, supportive culture of upskilling and reskilling is a good place to start.
Upskilling is when people level up their skills, deepening core competencies and gaining enough expertise to start teaching others. It’s not unlike leveling up a character in a video game, where after enough training, their stats increase and they’re ready to take on the final boss. At work, junior developers who discover and apply information well are able to collect new skills, learn more complex code, and experience a progression in their responsibilities, gaining seniority in their role and even becoming a trainer of others. A work culture that supports upskilling is one that makes information easily accessible. Employees are encouraged to grow, and are enabled with the tools they need along the way.
Reskilling is different. It’s when people acquire the knowledge and experience to switch roles. Let’s say a company that builds physical servers and hardware decides to go through a digital transformation and start building software in the cloud. The company’s engineers, who were already experts in one thing, need to transform their skillset into a broader, more forward-thinking set of skills. Engineers who become managers of people often need a similar kind of reskilling, to go from succeeding as an individual contributor to managing the whole employee lifecycle.
Upskilling and reskilling are both important because they allow your team to keep learning and evolving on the job. No one joins your team knowing absolutely everything they’ll need for a successful, decades-long career—they couldn’t. Technology evolves too fast. Upskilling and reskilling enable folks to make consistent progress in their jobs from any starting point.
And it pays off: creating a culture where developers can upskill and reskill at work gives them a fulfilling, growth-fueled path while also ensuring that your company is ready for whatever the future may hold.
The two things you need to build a learning-focused culture: humans and technology
Whether you’re looking to help junior engineers scale the ladder or senior developers prepare for new roles, learning is best when it’s dynamic. Everyone learns differently, but no one is a machine.