As we look to winter most of us are facing a fairly quiet season. People have cut back on holiday plans, and it’s expected that there will be a lot of “sheltering” at home as we look to avoid what we hope will be the last significant surge of COVID-19.
Naturally, people will use this quiet season at home in different ways. Some will use the opportunity to catch up on work (or studies). Some will read books or watch films they’ve been meaning to get to. Others still may use the time to get a few jobs done around the house, or try out some new hobbies. But for the tech enthusiasts out there, this winter may also represent a perfect opportunity to learn a new skill — and potentially even one that’s highly valued!
There are a lot of skills that fit this description in today’s tech-oriented world, and while you’ll of course need more than a couple of months to become a true expert at something new, you can gain a good bit of proficiency in a given tech skill in relatively limited time. For those to whom this may appeal, the following are some of the interesting and high-value tech skills we’d suggest considering this season.
1. Video Animation
Video animation is a skill that’s actually in very high demand today. Between media companies “pivoting to video” to showcase their content, and the use of video animation in marketing, it’s a skill that you can actually make a career out of — and in fairly short time. Furthermore, while it’s quite difficult (and time-consuming) to gain true expertise in this area, learning the basics is relatively straightforward. A number of easily accessible programs and tutorials (from the likes of Udemy, Adobe, and more) can walk you through the basics and get you started on your own projects. By the end of the season you may well be confidently producing your own animated videos.
2. 3D Printing Design
3D printing design is still a relatively new concept, at least for ordinary consumers. This is both good and bad. On the good side of things, it means not that many people are that good at it yet — so when you learn a little bit, you’ll already be fairly advanced in a relative sense. On the other hand, because 3D printing is still new(-ish), there aren’t quite as many ways to learn as there are, say, video animation. As one overview of starting up with 3D printing points out, there are actually some apps that will basically help you build products in a streamlined way. But as you advance, you’ll essentially have to start teaching yourself CAD (computer-aided design), through which you’ll be able to custom-make wholly original blueprints for 3D-printed products. Master this though, and you’ll be in rare company with a truly valuable skill.
3. Digital PCB Design
The design of printed circuit boards is actually not entirely unlike 3D printing design, in the sense that it’s another opportunity to use software to create something that is ultimately rendered in physical form. In fact, you may even combine the ideas — designing a device via 3D printing that can be powered by a printed circuit board. Where this specific skill is concerned though, you’ll be focused less on big-picture design and more on intricate schematics for a functioning electronic board. It’s work that definitely takes getting used to, but getting started with PCB design is as simple as learning how design layouts work, familiarizing yourself with the relevant software, and bringing an idea to life. In fairly short time, you may well be producing functioning circuit boards for actual products.
4. Web Development
Web development remains a high-value skill also. While it’s true that a lot of people and companies are more focused on apps and social platforms than websites today — as well as that there are better and better ways to create a website without knowing how to code or develop — there’s still nothing quite as effective as a well-built site. Furthermore, this is arguably one of the easiest major tech skills to learn today. You can learn through video channels, blog tutorials, books, and even podcasts, and develop a basic understanding of coding and development quite quickly. From there you can build out your skill gradually, and reach a point at which you feel comfortable piecing together entire websites.
If you consider yourself a tech enthusiast and one of these ideas appeals to you, we suggest giving it a shot! You’ll feel proud and accomplished if you reach the end of winter with a degree of proficiency in one of these areas.