Today’s technology changes at a dizzying pace. Companies that want to thrive need workers whose skills are razor sharp, so it’s likely interviewers will want to know what you do to keep your knowledge current.
Here’s more insight behind the question “How do you keep your technical skills current?” and how to answer it.
Why do interviewers ask how you keep your skills current?
Over 80% of organizations report having a skills gap. It’s a trend driven primarily by increased resignations, changing technology, an aging workforce, and the lasting effects of the pandemic.
For hiring managers, it’s a priority to find candidates whose skills are not only up-to-date, but are always evolving.
Companies want workers who are enthusiastic about professional development and who want to grow with the company. Showing that you take the initiative to stay abreast of the latest trends demonstrates that you’re engaged with your job and want to help the company stay ahead of the competition.
What interviewers are looking for
First and foremost, an interviewer wants to see whether maintaining your skills is something you’re actively thinking about. Companies want candidates who are excited about learning and willing to do so, both independently and with the company’s guidance. If the question catches you off guard, it could be a red flag that you’re not committed to expanding your knowledge.
Your answer can also help an interviewer gauge how plugged in you are with your industry’s important information sources, like blogs, trade publications, conferences, and training courses that will help keep you on the cutting edge.
How to answer
You’ll sound more credible by citing publications, training courses, and other learning outlets by name. You might need to do a bit of background research ahead of time, but ideally, you’ll be naming the learning materials you actually use.
Here are some examples:
- Taking online courses
- Subscribing to a magazine dedicated to your industry
- Reading white papers and case studies
- Following your field’s top bloggers, YouTubers, and podcasters
- Obtaining new certifications
- Attending networking events
- Attending conferences and trade shows
- Being part of a professional organization
- Reading books by thought leaders
- Experimenting with personal projects
Show your interviewer that you’re eager for new learning opportunities by speaking about the topic with excitement. Give examples that demonstrate your enthusiasm, for example, if you set aside a certain amount of time every week for professional development, if you aim to read one article a day about your field, etc.
If you have technical certifications or have completed continuing education courses to expand your expertise, this is a good time to mention them.
How not to answer
Give a vague answer
If you don’t have an honest answer to this question, it’s not an easy one to fudge.
Your best bet to make sure you’re prepared for an interview question about maintaining your technical skills is to make sure it’s something you’re actually committed to. This way, you’ll not only have a solid interview answer, but you’ll be picking up new skills that make you a more competitive candidate.
By coming armed with specific education sources and speaking enthusiastically about professional development, you’ll show your interviewer that you’re committed to being the best you can be at your job–which is a win for them.