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A Principal Engineer's learning tips for driving results in your career

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As Intel employees prepare for LearningFest, a half-day internal conference dedicated to learning essential skills that drive results, we spoke with Principal Engineer Anil Kumar, who shared three key learning tips to invest in your development and drive results in your career. 

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger once noted that "the ability to gain new knowledge is more valuable than the knowledge itself." Thankfully, Intel offers its employees a variety of resources to support continuous learning. Start uncovering new learning opportunities for any career stage with these tips. 

  1. Prioritize time for learning  

The world is fast-paced. If you're not constantly learning, your skills can quickly become obsolete. But finding time to learn can be challenging. Many feel apprehensive when work projects and family life require so much time already. How can you gain new skills, given your busy schedule and existing commitments?  

Start by setting aside time on your calendar for learning-related activities during the time of day when you can focus and avoid all distractions. Make it clear to your key stakeholders that you are trying to acquire a new skill and how important this is to you. And when learning a new skill, start small. Try learning in bite-sized chunks of time, up to 20 minutes. If you get out of a meeting early, read a short article, watch a video, or view part of a skill-building course. Your time will always be limited, so learning slowly will consistently build your acumen and inspire new ideas. 

  1. Attend a virtual or in-person conference 

The pandemic reduced or eliminated our ability to attend conferences in person. While on the surface, this may seem like a negative impact, I believe there are lasting benefits. Conference organizers have adapted and moved to an online format, and many have added a virtual component. Some have even reduced or waived attendance fees and provided multiple sessions catering to different time zones. I have attended multiple industry conferences virtually since the summer of 2020 and participated in internal events such as Intel's Design and Test Technology Conference and LearningFest, which returns virtually this month at geo-friendly times so that Intel employees around the world can take advantage of this powerful learning opportunity. 

In recent months, several conferences have also returned to an in-person format. These are great opportunities for people to share knowledge, experience some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and network with new contacts in your industry.  

  1. Connect with your network 

For some, working from home may lead to a sense of isolation and disengagement. In recent years, I have overcome this feeling by connecting with my network outside my immediate project team, getting guidance from my mentors, and mentoring others. When people have told me that it is hard to learn a new topic by themselves, I recommended that they ask a team member or a colleague who has an interest in the same topic to become their learning partner. I've had many learning partners in the past, and they have not only helped me to learn but to feel connected and grow relationships. With the rollout of Intel's hybrid working model, I have also had the opportunity to go into the office for short face-to-face meetings, lunchtime networking sessions, employee resource group meetings, and team-building volunteer activities.  

Intel also offers tools to help employees find coworkers with expertise in a topic of interest, identify a mentor or coach, or even become one. I have made it easy for others to connect with me using these tools, and I encourage others to do the same and share their expertise and knowledge with the rest of Intel. Demonstrating an investment in our colleagues' development will lead to increased trust and improved engagement and performance. 

Learning comes in all forms, and your knowledge and skills remain in your control. I hope these tips help you uncover more learning opportunities so that it becomes integral to your life—and you gain the skills you need to drive results in your career. 

1 Comment

I love these tips, Anil!  I have learning time on my calendar.  We have so many resources at Intel to help us grow and learn.  Your reminder that learning is within our control is spot on!