For learning strategies, I personally think each person has their own way of learning. I learn best by doing. I was extremely lazy and put things off as much as I can, but soon I realized that the more I did something, the better I got at it. I used that and basically pressured myself to learn. I purposefully put myself on projects I know nothing or little about, so that I am forced to learn something because I really wanted to be a top performer. That was it for me.
For skills employers look for, I think most employers look for communication, consistency, and skill (there maybe others im missing) Here is an explanation of each from my point of view:
Communication: basically the ability to explain technical things to business folks, and having a positive attitude while doing it. You can get better at this by writing posts, detailed documentations and by reading a lot of technical posts and understanding how others explain things.
Consistency: it’s all about leaving a positive impression and consistently delivering and keeping your manager/co-workers updated every step of the way. If they keep seeing that you are consistently delivering on your responsibilities, they’ll rely on you more and you’d make a name for yourself as a solid resource.
Skill: this is something you can keep building. Tell your manager and coworkers about your side projects. It shows initiative and aptitude!
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