We all know that saving and investing our money is a sound practice. But other investments—beyond those that build financial assets—matter, too. In fact, no venture is more profitable than investing in yourself to increase your skills. This type of investment offers gains that continue to multiply throughout your career as your knowledge increases and you become more valuable to current and future employers, as well as to yourself.

To achieve career growth and recognition, you need to keep learning and growing. This type of self-investment can take a number of forms—from a light, daily investment to more intensive programs that last years. Here are four ways that you can continue to learn throughout your career:

1. Stay Current

One of the easiest ways you can ensure ongoing learning is by simply incorporating it, in small ways, into your daily habits at work and home. Do you roll over in the morning and check your phone? Instead of just catching up on email, maybe read one article of value before you get up or over breakfast. Commute to work? There are a ton of really valuable podcasts that you can follow by industry thought leaders, companies and news organizations. Find ways to incorporate articles, white papers, analyst reports, expert blogs, magazines and books that are related to skills you want to improve into your daily routine. Good resources include the Marketo Marketing Blog (you’re reading it right now, so you’re already doing great!), the American Marketing Association publications, and lists of other marketing and sales magazines, such as this one from All You Can Read.

2. Get Certified

If you have more time to commit, it may make sense for you to achieve one or more certifications that are relevant to your profession. This can take some research depending on your area of expertise or interest. If you’re a marketer, earning a Marketo Certification validates your skills, and can boost your career as it’s a sought-after skill by organizations and recruiters. Other certifications you may want to consider? Think about where you want your career to go and the skills you need to build to get there—maybe that’s a certificate in design, user experience, product marketing, or project management.

3. Take a Class

A more traditional way to educate yourself is by taking training courses or by getting another degree. Your education is only as good as your maintenance of it, but that doesn’t mean you have to constantly be pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree. There are plenty of courses you can take online or in person, either as a part of series or as a stand-alone—check out various universities, and businesses to see what they have to offer. For example, Marketo offers a variety of education options and certifications, including our instructor-led courses, which take a deep-dive (with hands-on training) into the Marketo Engagement Platform. Additionally, when students are ready, we offer the Marketo Certified Expert Exam; once you pass it you can sign up for our new Marketo Specializations that help certified experts extend their Marketo certification.

4. Look for Learning Opportunities

Keep an eye out for webinars, workshops, and conferences. You’re probably already connected to learning opportunities that you may not know about or be fully utilizing. For example, most vendors offer some kind of ongoing education through webinars, or customer user groups. Find these opportunities by looking at the products and solutions that you currently use and the resources that the vendor offers, and then determine how you can use those to build skills that will help you move forward. Marketo offers a wide range of resources to their audience, including Marketing Nation®, a vibrant marketing community that offers a place to engage with other marketers and explore a repository of useful information about marketing topics. Additionally, Marketo University’s offers Adoption Courses, as well as free training modules (more on this in the next paragraph).

A New, Free Way to Self-Invest

Now we have a new way for you to invest in yourself with free, self-paced training modules for marketers that cover everything from setting up a Marketo instance to building engaging content. These free training modules were built by experts and typically contain four core components to help any marketer, regardless of background or skill level. Learn engagement marketing concepts and see how they are executed through the Marketo Engagement Platform. The components include:

  • Learn: A video introduction the concept, including what it is, why it’s important, and key considerations for success.
  • Watch: A video that provides instructions on how to approach and execute the topic within the Marketo Engagement Platform.
  • Do: Resources that provide step-by-step written instructions on how to accomplish tasks in Marketo.
  • Check: A short quiz to assess whether someone has learned the core concepts of the training module.

We have more than 40 modules planned for release by the end of 2017. To access the courses, simply visit the Marketo University section of Marketo’s website.

I invite you to try one of our new, free training modules. After you check them out, I’d love to hear your thoughts about them. Don’t wait—it’s never too early to start taking advantage of these modules and other ways to invest in yourself. Doing so will contribute to your personal and professional growth, and isn’t that a worthwhile cause?