4 skill-based activities for techies

I’m the technology person at a small training company and take care of all things techie (hardware, software, data comm., etc.) Can you suggest any things I could do on my free time that are fun, a little bit techie, would help me at work, and will help people?

Wow, what a great question. My assumption, by the way you worded it is that you want suggestions that will meet all four of your criteria. Truth be told, I decided to answer this question in my column for two reasons; first, it really made me think, second, I have a training business that’s heavily tech oriented.

Ok, here I go. I can’t promise that each one of my suggestions will meet all four of your needs, but I can comfortably say that each option will at least meet three of the four.

Play instructional based videos (fun, techie, and will help at work) Game-based learning is an up-and-coming trend in the training world. When playing these games, consider the:

  • Overall structure of the game to see how it creates a learning environment
  • Techniques used to deliver the training materials
  • Use of graphics and voiceovers
  • How this technology could be used to deliver your company’s training materials

The key take-a-way here is that you should learn more about your industry in general and the technologies that are used by your firm’s competitors. This knowledge can make you more valuable to your company and move you toward being the internal go-to person regarding information on technical innovations within your industry.

Volunteer to be the tech person for a non-profit, charitable, religious, or issue-based organization that you believe in (fun, techie, will help at work, good for the world)

Organizations of this type generally appreciate the involvement of technically oriented people to help with their website, email blasts, and other communication related technologies. Helping out within these organizations can be fun because I have found that the people associated with these types of organizations are generally fun to be with, committed to doing good for the world and personally inspiring. Regarding helping you at work, it can give you the chance to learn new technologies and maybe make contacts that can help you gain future employment.

Join a Special Interest Group (SIG) related to your technical expertise (fun, techie, will help at work)

The online social media can certainly expand your professional circles, but don’t underestimate the professional value of participating in a SIG related to your technical expertise and/or passion. The discussions and presentations made at these meetings can greatly enhance your technical knowledge and expertise. You may also find it fun, based on the new likeminded people you will meet who are interested in this type of meeting.

Watch educational videos on YouTube and Vimeo rather than sitcom reruns (fun, techie, will help at work)

Ok, fun is a stretch on this one, but how about also watching a couple of fun YouTube videos and we’ll call it even. Regarding educational videos, the quantity of quality of educational material on YouTube is remarkable. Use it to expand your technical and business knowledge.

In closing, I hope I have answered your question in a way that is of value to you. The trick here is to keep learning and keep participating. It’s good for you, good for your career, good for the world, and maybe even a little bit of fun.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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