Technology is always evolving and changing, and it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Today’s work climate demands employees are adaptable and understand new technology in their field.

Technology and Professional Development

Learning to Leap authors David Shindler and Jean Boles call out three crucial areas necessary for effectiveness at work today and in the future:

  • Communication
  • Effectively using technology
  • Numeracy (the capacity to reason with numbers to solve a variety of problems, i.e., interpreting data, information processing, logical thinking and reasoning.)

In addition to specific training in your field, these skills are helpful to remain relevant and employable. Continuing education can also help enhance your professional sense of well being. Here are some tangible ideas you can do today to maximize your career development.

Professional Development Ideas

Have a plan. Talk to your supervisor about expanding your skills and how you will do it. Perhaps it’s taking on new tasks or professional development activities.

Professional development options could include industry conferences/seminars, classes, obtaining an additional degree or certification, which adds value and expertise to your resume, and involvement in professional organizations, publications and websites. Professional organizations often have a variety of opportunities available in addition to attending events, such as volunteering for leadership positions and volunteering in the community.

Your plan should be written, specific, and involve a fair amount of time. Mary Ellen Slayter from says she aims for at least 2-3 hours of professional development a week. Review your plan frequently; at least twice a year.

Keep up with the latest information in your field. Subscribe to online sources of information from experts via specific professional websites, including LinkedIn, Google Alerts or other news aggregator services such as Feedly. Find presentations at sites like (TED Talks) or YouTube. Explore useful courses on sites such as, Mooc List or Coursera.

Work on your “Soft Skills.” The ability to communicate, problem solve, adapt, work well with others and manage your emotions will set the stage for doing your best work whether or not you stay in your profession. These are crucial skills for today and the future workplace.

Look for relevant courses and certifications from the sites noted above, or pick up a book about working with others, emotional intelligence or one of the books under Additional Reading.

Use resources available at As a member, you have access to resources including articles, videos, online seminars and eLearning courses. eLearning courses cover a variety of topics, can be completed in 15-20 minutes and include an online presentation, brief quizzes and a printable certificate of completion.

Network, network, network. Connect with others who are successful in your field. Find a mentor that can be a coach for your professional development. Network with others inside and outside of your organization.

Continued vigilance about where you stand in your skillset, professional development and employability will help enhance your professional sense of well being and ensure you are prepared for today and the future.

Additional Reading:

VITAL WorkLife EAP members have access to a wealth of information on the new member website, including articles, videos, eLearning courses and more. Make sure to remind your VITAL WorkLife clients of this resource!



Slayter, Mary Ellen.

Stretch: How to Future-Proof Yourself for Tomorrow’s Workplace

What color is your parachute? 2018: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

Learning to Leap: A Guide to Being More Employable

Humility is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age