What Martin Luther King Can Teach Us about Always Learning

With today being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I thought I would share a quote from MLK that I came across, one which I think that can be a source of inspiration for those in the world of training, learning and development.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

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Separately, I also read an article published recently in CIO Journal in which it tells of a new study, released by research firm IDC, about the lack of skilled workers in cloud computing.  In the article, Cushing Anderson, Program Vice President for Consulting, System Integration, HR and Learning Services at IDC, is quoted as saying: “Unlike IT skill shortages in the past, solving this skills gap is extremely challenging, given that cloud brings a new set of skills, which haven’t been needed in the past. There is no one-size-fits-all set of criteria for jobs in cloud computing. Therefore, training and certification is essential for preparing prospective job candidates to work in cloud-related job.”

The new set of IT skills that cloud computing has brought into the industry was never needed in the past. In order to be a shoe-in candidate in Cloud-related jobs, people will have to train and have essential certification. Yet no matter how much training you get, or how specific it is, the implication here, about “there is no one-size-fits-all set of criteria,” that no matter how much training you get, or how specific it is, cloud computing (and IT in general) is very much an evolving profession and set of skills.

From the expectations of Cloud employers, people will have to constantly learn new skills to keep their job, constantly training and learning.  So that now, and continuing in the future, veteran cloud computing professionals MUST continue to constantly learn new skills on the job, as their career continues and as how the field continues to develop.  So in the field of training, it is more important than ever that organizations not look as training as something that only happens when a new employee begins, or when a new software is introduced to existing employees.  Rather, in order to advance in the coming years, we will have to be ALWAYS learning, and teaching, and sharing our knowledge with others.  That in order “to keep moving forward”, we must keep workers engaged with the newest tools, techniques and technologies, and to be able to empower them to continue to learn.   A program like WalkMe, for example, is important not in that it teaches you how to be a full-service cloud professional (which would be a bit silly, as explained that the field is always evolving), but because it’s part of a process of “continued training” of veteran employees.  That software like it – one that allows people to train themselves – will become more important in the coming years.

I believe that Martin Luther King would very much support the need for “constant learning” in our day.  He surely lived in turbulent, rapidly changing times, where social developments were disruptive to the traditional order in just about every way possible.  We often refer to technology as ‘disruptive’ and revolutionary, and I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that we are living incredibly revolutionary times – of historical proportions – when looking at how fast technology is changing, well, everything.   Let’s always keep moving forward, never stopping to learn along the way.

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
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