Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tackling that New Software

Staring at the computer screen recently, a friend admitted how frustrated she was at the lack of training she received for a new program her department had implemented. When she asked the project team leader why precisely the staff had not received any formal training, this individual had stated cost as the main reason. 

Some people don't get it. As hard as they try, they just can't grasp all that technical stuff dispensed and introduced in today's fast paced work environment. Even with training, many professionals are just not equipped to understand programs. This is especially the case if they are from the older generations. It is frustrating watching how quickly the new generation gets technology, even when they're not familiar with a particular software or the latest social website out there. 

What is a person to do? For starters, even if you're not invited to the series of introductions to the new technology, ask to participate anyway. Merely familiarizing yourself with the tach jargon is enlightening. Anyone who has stayed around long enough to experience a new system rolled into their workplace understands. It is not unusual to find the software strategists and implementors speak in acronyms. Knowing what they're talking about helps you understand the technology. 

Visiting the software company's site is a real career saver. You find access to community forums and discussions to engage in. Best of all, they are usually open to the public and do not require an account. Making a simple search on the site can yield many helpful suggestions as well. Play around with the search words, and mix up several within the topic you're searching for to get better results. 

While you're navigating that site, search for upcoming webcasts or conferences to attend. Two of my colleagues used the last strategy and came back with tons of info to share. If your company does not typically pay for professional learning, they might still consider paying for the trip if they see the benefits. Make a list of how the latest conference can serve the common department good, and chances are the company will pick up the tab. If not, look for local conferences or ones within driving distance. It will all be worth the effort. 

Lastly, stop being a chicken. Fear is such a paralyzing obstacle. Observing this young ones around my office, I have noticed that their learning comes simply from logging on and just playing with the new technology. That's it. They just sit at their desks and test the different interfaces and functions available. So just get into that system and play. It's that simple. 

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