How to Make Time for Continuing Education and Career Development

Three working IT professionals explain how and why they make time to take classes, earn certifications and obtain advanced degrees. And they offer seven tips to help you take charge of your own professional development.

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Early in his IT career, Gerry Halmagyi was lucky to have a manager who genuinely cared about him and took the time to give him some sobering advice about the importance of continuing education.

"Don't ever think that any company is going to be concerned about your overall career development," Halmagyi recalls his manager saying. "You are ultimately responsible for your career. You have to keep your education current."

Halmagyi, a 20-year veteran of the IT industry, says he took this advice to heart, and for years he pursued certifications and professional development on his own dime and his own time. Eventually, while he was working as an IT director and business relationship manager with ConocoPhillips, the daily grind caught up with him, and he stopped his continuing education pursuits.

In 2007, concerned about a possible layoff at ConocoPhillips, Halmagyi took stock of his career. He asked himself what skills would he be marketing and what value he would bring to an employer in the event he lost his job and needed to hunt for a new one.

"I realized I probably was at risk if a layoff were to occur," says Halmagyi. "I had become complacent in my career and in my personal career development. I allowed myself to get caught up in the inertia of day-to-day work. I hadn't been thinking about where I ultimately want to go in my career and how I get there. I decided I needed to take more active responsibility for my own career."

Balancing Life and IT Career Development

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