What is the quickest you have developed new job skills?

After a few years basically ‘off’ from working as a freelance/corporate web designer, I’ve started to look into picking up some work again. I am talking with someone who is possibly interested in having me apply for an in-house position, but it involves some tech I have no experience with, and some for which I have a basic, but not ‘developer’-level skill set.

I am not hiding this fact, but am also eager and willing to learn. Any of you out there ever give yourselves a crash course in a new skillset for a job? How did it go. I’m kind of psyched by the potential opportunity, but intimidated by not really knowing how big a gulf there is between what I know and what I need to know.

If you are phyched by the new opportunity half your battle is allready done. Just being physched greatly enhances your learning curve. Look back at your history and it will likley restore your confidence which will also aid you in your ability to learn new things. The mind set is no less important than the material you will be learning so keep yourself motivated and you will rise to the occasion.

A week. We had a trainer come in and spend four days teaching us a new mainframe operating system and a interactive screen generator/editor.

Right after training, we started converting our payroll system from the old system. Nearly 20 interactive screens had to be rewritten using the new systems screen generator/editor. Then we had forty batch programs to convert. Testing involved running payrolls on the old and new systems and comparing results. The whole project took four Programmers three months work.

Take on responsibilities that our outside your current technical expertise that will require you to learn new things.

I’ve learned a new programming language in a couple of days. Enough to add a new feature to already existing code, at least.

But then, I had no choice: My boss said: Add this feature to that program, so I had to learn how to do it.

I stumbled into a job Teaching English as a Second Language. I had never even considered teaching anything, besides having terminal stagefright. I started the next morning, suddenly facing 25 students staring at me who couldn’t understand a word I said, did it for two years, by all accounts I was very good at it, my students succeeded miraculously and all seemed to like me. On my weekends off, I looked forward to getting back to work.

A couple of weeks of more or less intense work.

Consider how much you learn in a semester at school then think about how schools work: in a semester program, you get 12 weeks of 3 hourly sessions per week of a course (at least, at the universities I went to)…that’s only 36 hours (labs/tutorials/etc not included).

If you were able to get through college or university classes at any point in your life, then you can use a work week or two to learn quite a bit about a topic!

I often have to familiarize myself with new software - some highly technical - while talking on the phone to a user in order to solve a problem. Google is an essential tool.

Yep, Thank god for google.

I still have nightmares of the old days when I had to leave work, scour every bookstore and library in town, and call every nerd on Earth I knew to try to get some documentation on a piece of legacy code that had gone sev1 fixed by the SLA deadline.