The Cool Kids Corner: Lifelong Learning 

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Read more about co-authors Mark Horseman and Anne Marie Smith.

Hello! I’m Mark Horseman, and welcome to The Cool Kids Corner. This is my monthly check-in to share with you the people and ideas I encounter as a data evangelist with DATAVERSITY. (Last month, we discussed data leadership.) This month, we’re talking about lifelong learning. In the Data Management space, what drives us to learn more and keep up to speed with the latest technology and evolving regulatory landscape? We’ll look at some learning strategies, and ultimately, we’ll see what the cool kids are saying. 

We live in an ever-changing landscape of tools, ideas, technology, and techniques. In Data Management, keeping up with the latest trends and ideas can be a challenge. Building a foundation of knowledge in Data Management is no easy task, but luckily, a lot of Data Management professionals come from a background of computer science, math, or even business analysis or business administration. This educational core generally provides folks with a capability and thirst for knowledge. 

How do we maintain that knowledge? Strategies will vary from person to person. Early in my career, I found inspiration from my good friend Gail McAuliffe. Back in the late 2000s, she had styled herself on Twitter as “BI Data Learner” – I thought that was a neat pseudonym. Gail would often post links to materials from various content providers or discuss ideas on Twitter. This provided me with a goal and context for my own learning journey. Personally, for me, learning is about absorbing and applying new knowledge to the point where I’m comfortable teaching and explaining it, which cements my learnings.  

With all this discussion about learning, learning strategies, and goals, I would like to introduce you to Dr. Anne Marie Smith, who is currently working with the DATAVERSITY team to provide Data Management content for hungry learners. I’ve asked Anne Marie to share her thoughts below. 

As someone who has been an active proponent of lifelong learning, I was thrilled that Mark asked me to participate in the “Cool Kids” topic focused on one of my passions. Lifelong learning stands as the cornerstone of professional growth and adaptability in today’s dynamic work landscape. For professionals – especially any of us in the data-related fields – embracing continuous learning isn’t just a choice; it’s a strategic imperative. In a world where technology evolves rapidly and industries undergo constant transformation, staying relevant requires a commitment to ongoing education, in your chosen discipline and beyond. By actively seeking out new knowledge, skills, and perspectives, professionals equip themselves with the skills and tools needed to navigate change, seize emerging opportunities, and continually enhance their careers. 

Moreover, lifelong learning fosters innovation and creativity, essential elements in driving progress and staying competitive – as a professional and as a person. Professionals who engage in continuous learning are more likely to acquire new skills, learn how to think critically, solve complex problems, and generate novel ideas. Lifelong learners cultivate a broadened mindset that enables them to approach challenges from multiple angles and find innovative solutions. This adaptability not only enhances your own performance as a professional and person, but it can help improve your organization’s capabilities in many areas. In essence, lifelong learning isn’t just about personal development and satisfaction; it’s an investment in professional success and collective advancement. 

Check out what Anne Marie is up to: 

Remember that you can meet and join Cool Kids like Anne Marie at DATAVERSITY events: 

Want to become one of the Cool Kids? All you need to do is share your ideas with the community! To be active in the community, come to DATAVERSITY webinars, participate in events, and network with like-minded colleagues. 

Next month, we’ll be taking a look at Non-Invasive Data Governance!