Pursuing Tech Certifications: How to Balance Work and Learning

Apr 29, 2024 | Certificate Programs, Professional Development, Student Resources

Pursuing tech certifications while also balancing other personal commitments can present significant challenges for any professional. The demands of a full-time job, coupled with family commitments and/or personal obligations, often leave little time and energy for additional learning. However, new technologies emerge at a rapid pace, and existing ones undergo frequent change. Especially in tech industries, professionals must also undergo frequent changes to their skill sets. By regularly updating skills and knowledge through relevant certifications, tech professionals can effectively adapt to technological advancements and contribute meaningfully to their businesses and overall industry. Since certifications serve as tangible proof of expertise and competence in specific areas, earning one (or a few) can enhance a professionals’ credibility and career opportunities.

This blog post outlines strategies for managing the balance between pursuing tech certifications and keeping up with personal commitments. Balancing these responsibilities requires careful time management, discipline, and prioritization, but with a little preparation, success can be right around the corner.

The Importance of Pursuing Tech Certifications

By the time you are reading this, you probably already have done some research on the importance of tech certifications, but it’s always nice to have a refresher at your fingertips. Tech certifications are valuable for career growth and professional development for several reasons:

  1. They provide tangible proof of your skills and expertise in a particular technology and/or domain.
  2. They signal to future employers that you have a commitment to continuous learning and have career goals that you want to achieve.
  3. They can have a direct impact on job opportunities and salary potential. Many employers prefer candidates who have strived to learn relevant and in demand skills as they show a professional’s proficiency and willingness for continuous learning.
  4. They validate skills through assessment processes that leave professionals with concrete evidence of their capabilities.

Professionals show their dedication to staying current with the latest trends, tools, and best practices in their respective fields by pursuing tech certifications. This can not only be beneficial for those seeking to advance current roles, discover new ones, or break into an industry that they’ve been dreaming of working in.

Choosing the Right Certification Path

Selecting the most relevant certifications for professional development  requires careful consideration of a range of factors. Identifying specific career goals, assessing personal strengths and skill gaps, considering the reputation and accreditations of the most promising certifications are all key factors to consider when choosing the right certification path. We have a special ‘how to’ guide on how to choose the right path for you..check it out here: Career Goals & Tech Certifications: Mapping out Success.

pursuing tech certifications

Assessing Current Workload and Committments

Evaluating current work commitments and schedules is crucial when considering adding tech certification learning to your life mix. Many certifications, while often offered as a part time commitment, can still take up 10-20 hours a week depending on the learning material. Assessment leads to realism and considering current commitments helps you understand how much time and energy you would realistically have to devote in pursuing tech certifications. When there is a clear picture of workload and commitments, tasks can then be prioritized effectively. Assessment and prioritization before diving into a certification can be the difference between always feeling behind in commitments or always feeling prepared for the workload of the week.

Prioritizing time management means assessing your ability to prioritize pursuing tech certifications while balancing current workloads and commitments. Effective time management allows you to make the most of the time you have available for work, learning, and personal commitments. It also enables you to prevent procrastination, a common challenge when trying to balance multiple responsibilities. Some effective time management tricks include time blocking and tracking time, which we go into further detail in the next section!

Remember, finding the right balance between current workloads and pursuing tech certifications is a process that requires patience, perseverance, and self-awareness. By prioritizing effectively, managing your time wisely, and setting realistic goals, you can successfully pursue your professional development goals through certifications while excelling in current commitments.

Creating a Study Plan and Learning Environment

Ready to dive into pursuing a tech certification? If you answered yes, have you thought about creating a study plan and considered what type of learning environment will be best for success? Creating an effective study habit and place to do it can be hard to figure out when you already have a busy work and life schedule. Here are some tips for assessing your available time and setting realistic goals:

  1. Track Your Time: This is the best way to start understanding how you are already using your time. Consider keeping a journal or use time-tracking apps to monitor how you currently spend your time and when you are most productive. Tracking this provides valuable insights into your daily habits and helps identify specific times of the day and week where you can make time for classes and study time. This also allows you to consider where you will need to compromise or cut back if you are planning on taking a certification that has live instruction and set dates/times for classes that you are required to attend.
  2. Identify Time Blocks: Similar to time tracking, time blocks are gaps in already busy schedules that study sessions can be fit in. Look for gaps in your schedule where you can fit in study sessions. This could be during lunch breaks, early mornings, or evenings depending on your preferences and energy levels. Make sure that you are consistently coming back to your schedule to find new time blocks or adjust current ones. It is recommended that you even block some time in the beginning of each week to keep note of class times, time blocked study sessions, established work commitments, and other responsibilities. Check out this resource on time blocking: 7 Tips to Start Time Blocking Today [2024] • Asana!
  3. Stay Realistic: Consider your existing workload, personal commitments, and energy levels when setting goals in pursuing tech certifications. It’s better to make steady progress over time than to burn out trying to achieve too much too soon; figure out what works best for you and start there. Practice makes perfect and consistent time management will become easier the longer it is worked at.
  4. Plan for Flexibility: Life is unpredictable so building in flexibility to your schedule can help accommodate unexpected events or changes. Allow yourself some buffer time for emergencies or unexpected work demands, and be willing to adjust your study plan as needed.
pursuing tech certifications

Managing Stress and Avoiding Burnout

Self-care is vital for sustainable success. It is equally important as the above factors as it is to acknowledge the challenges and stress that comes with balancing current commitments and responsibilities while also pursuing tech certifications. First and foremost, you should be proud of yourself for already being so equipped to take on the challenges that come with balancing life and learning. Managing stress and avoiding burnout is key for professionals to have success when earning tech certifications. Make sure that boundaries have been set before courses even begin; you want to be able to separate work, education, and personal life and have time for all of them. Setting boundaries is a practice in time management while also helping you take much needed breaks and practice mindfulness. Recognize that any type of balance is demanding but the benefits will begin to outweigh the challenges.

Tracking Progress and Celebrating Achievements

Take the time to also recognize every milestone, no matter how small, and celebrate them all. Whether it’s completing a chapter, finishing a module, passing a practice exam, finally mastering that skill that has been challenging you for weeks, acknowledge those achievements and give yourself the credit you deserve. Treating yourself is also a great way to stay motivated throughout the process of earning a tech certification. This could be anything from a small treat like a favorite snack or coffee to a more significant reward like a night out or a leisure activity you enjoy. Don’t forget to share your success with those who support and encourage you, either. Celebrating with friends, family, and professional colleagues can amplify the joy and motivation of achieving career goals and growth!
Pursuing tech certifications while balancing other commitments can be challenging but it can also be incredibly rewarding and beneficial for career growth. As technology continues to evolve rapidly, staying updated with the latest skills and knowledge through earning certifications can be crucial for many professionals in tech industries. Those who can manage the balance have success well within their reach. At Digital Workshop Center, we understand the importance of balancing work, a personal life, and professional development. That’s why we offer a range of certifications designed to fit into your busy schedule while helping you achieve your career goals. Our comprehensive programs provide tangible proof of your expertise and elevated skills sets, helping you enhance your overall credibility. Whether you’re looking to advance a current role, transition to a new career, or just stay ahead of industry trends, our certifications can help get you started.

To learn more about our certification programs and how they can benefit your career, we encourage you to explore the other pages of our website. Additionally, for tips on online learning, check out our other resource: Online Learning: Setting Yourself Up for Success. Don’t wait any longer to invest in your future; start your journey with us and unlock new opportunities for growth and success in the dynamic world of technology.