1. Read technical books
One of the best ways to improve your technical skills is by reading books. As a teenager I used to buy computer books at the local bookstore. Today it’s far better to shop online because you can more easily find the true gems and avoid the lemons. The WWW is vast; search for a book on a particular topic you wish to learn, and check the reviews and ratings.
Even when you opt to buy technical books locally (such as for an easy return if it doesn’t suit you), you can still check the online reviews to rule out the bad ones. Take your time previewing books in the bookstore or online, especially if cost is a concern. If you can’t understand the first chapter, don’t waste your money.
Although technical books can be expensive and are often padded with lengthy code listings and other fluff, the good ones make up for it with clearly organized, well-edited, well-indexed content. Books in their second edition or later are great choices because they’ve already been through at least one round of testing in the marketplace.
2. Read online tutorials
The advantage of online tutorials over books is that they’re accessible, timely, and of course free. The disadvantage is that they usually aren’t professionally edited, which can leave them lacking in completeness and/or clarity. However, they often sport other features like abundant interlinking, user comments, and interactive demos. Sometimes the comments are better than the original information, since they can contain lots of additional tips and suggestions.
3. Hang out with geeks
If you spend enough time with technical people, some of their knowledge will rub off on you. Even geeks learn from other geeks, but if you aren’t much of a geek yourself, a great way to accelerate the development of your technical skills is to join a local computer club or users group. Use APCUG (Association of Personal Computer User Groups) and/or WUGNET (Windows Users Group Network) to find a group near you. Such groups usually welcome new members of any skill level. Contact one of them and attend a meeting as a guest to see if you like it.
Once you join a computer club or other geek-ridden association, volunteering is a great way to make fast friends. These nonprofit associations are frequently in need of volunteers for committee and project work; even if your technical skills are weak, they often just need raw manpower.
4. Subscribe to technical magazines
For most technical magazines used to be one of my favorite outlets for learning. They are handy and you can pick one anytime even before you doze off. Each edition of magazine will have something new. The new technology in market will always keep your interest. Research further on your interest until you master it.
5. Take classes
If group learning is your thing, look for college extension courses and other classroom and workshop offerings in your area.
A key advantage of classroom learning is the opportunity to interact with an experienced educator. Teachers with decades of experience know plenty of educational distinctions you won’t find in books or online tutorials. And unlike many technical writers, they know how to teach. If you really want the degree, consider going to college and majoring in a technical subject
6. Create your own web site
Long-term readers of this site know I’m a big fan of experiential learning. Setting a goal to create a basic web site is a great way to learn practical skills like HTML and CSS. When you have a compelling reason to learn, your goals will accelerate your learning, and you’ll learn with a focus on practical application.
So the simple decision to make some basic web sites eventually led to generating abundant sustainable income from online businesses. We learned by doing.
7. Build your own PC
If you want to develop better hardware skills, a great project is to build your own PC from scratch. You’ll save money, learn a lot about how your computer works, and end up with a nicely customized machine that you can easily upgrade. This may or may not be a good use of your time, but it’s worthwhile for the experience.
If this project makes you nervous, you really don’t need to follow this. But if you feel comfortable researching and selecting components and carefully following assembly directions, it’s a rewarding way to spend a day.
8. Embrace a variety of software
General software productivity improves with breadth of experience, so use many different software programs (online or offline) to improve your overall ability to get things done through software. One should usually dive in and start using them without going through the tutorials or reading the manual.
Branch out from software myopia, and experience the full richness of using many different interfaces. You’ll learn a lot about interface design from image editing programs, programming tools, and of course computer games. The greater the variety of interfaces you experience, the faster you’ll be able to learn and master each new program you use.
9. Learn to program
Programming is the art of instructing a computer to perform a task. The key to accomplishing this feat is learning to think like a computer. Programming is one of the most mentally challenging tasks a human being can perform, but nothing compares to the satisfaction of engineering a piece of code to solve a specific problem.
10. Think on practical implementation
Students usually study during the last minute of their exams and get pretty decent marks and pass their examination and mean while complete their graduation too. But the problem statement here is where do they learn? Students need to think logically while they study. They should always look into how their lessons can be implemented practically. This will enhance their technical skills and will let them understand their subjects well and gradually the gap between the industry and the academia will also be bridged.