What's the point of ongoing professional development?
In "My CPD Life", a short series of blog posts to coincide with the launch of the AXELOS Professional Development Programme, experienced practitioners share their views on the value of keeping your professional skills and knowledge up-to-date.
The AXELOS Professional Development Programme - an online annual membership programme aligned to AXELOS’ global best practice frameworks - has been designed for individuals to ensure their skills and knowledge remain current while supporting them in their professional development.
1 How important has Continuing Professional Development (CPD) been in developing your skills and competencies?
It’s helped me to get into the right job situations, from the early days of getting a degree and a foot in the door. The training you do in your 20s and 30s often shapes the direction of your career path and technical skills.
Some of the best training courses I’ve been on have been about self-awareness and how you learn. Once you’ve got that ability to learn and how to organize your thoughts, it’s about developing a CPD approach that counts.
2 Why is it important for practitioners to continue learning and developing beyond gaining a qualification?
It ought to be self-evident why we should all be trying to improve and continue learning.
I can see why some people don’t want to go further and challenge their existing beliefs. But CPD is about knowing what’s happening in the industry and what’s coming along in order to know what training to do.
CPD helps you to be flexible and get on a path to greater enlightenment. Having a blend of different types of training helps you in both your personal development and your career.
3 Why do you think it's important for your skills and knowledge to remain current in your sector?
It’s very hard to remain current as things change so quickly, but it does highlight that you can be dated very quickly – especially in the technology industry. Right now, technology is being developed that realizes the value of learning; systems that learn how to do things rather than being programmed. That potentially poses a threat to humans who don’t remain current!
So, practitioners have a responsibility to know and be in touch with what the industry is doing, or risk their own livelihood. The imperative to maintain currency and have other “strings to the bow” lies with the individual.
4 How has CPD helped to differentiate you as a professional in your field?
Currency has become part of my personal brand: to know as much as I can and continue to be useful, showing companies options for what they might do in the future.
5 What advice would you give to other practitioners about the value of CPD?
You have to be ready to take on new skills. Start to understand your own ways of learning, keep an open mind and explore different areas within your field. Immersive training and simulations help you to develop rounded capabilities but, remember, training is just one component; learning on the job, awareness and networking with other professionals contribute to your CPD in different ways.
See our AXELOS Professional Development Programme section for more information about continuing your professional development.
Have you found that undertaking planned CPD activities helps you in your career or do you keep yourself informed about your industry in a less structured way? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments box below.
Read more AXELOS Blog Posts from Barlay Rae
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Tackling the rise of bimodal IT and 'two-speed ITSM'
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More posts in AXELOS' My CPD Life series
My CPD Life - independent PPM trainer, coach and consultant Steven Deneir
My CPD Life - project leadership coach and mentor Elise Stevens
My CPD Life - Interim Portfolio Director Craig Kilford
My CPD Life - Consultant Joanne Molesky
director John Earwood
My CPD Life - Project Management Expert Centre Leader Dave Watson
My CPD Life - IT service management consultant Colin Rudd