I’ve started to wonder if by focusing so much on learning code, we’re losing focus on how to support one of our most important assets in the technology industry.
Technology and languages change constantly, so what was taught in a college coding class a few years ago is now outdated.
This is a big problem, and one that will only become more severe over time. Just think about an iOS developer who in a few years might be coding entirely in Swift , Apple’s newly launched language. This type of rapid change is absent from almost all other industries, yet remains a serious concern for us.
Here are just a few ideas that come to mind:
1. Encourage pair programming
In case you’re not familiar, this is where two programmers work on the same computer at the same time so they can solve problems together. Every programmer has different strengths and weaknesses, so taking time to code together with different people in the company can be a great learning experience.
2. Make learning free
A lot of technology companies offer some pretty awesome benefits, like catered lunches, healthy snacks and gym memberships. Education should be a part of that, too. Give employees budgets to buy educational books, or offer to pay for couple technical conferences a year that they may want to attend. The easier you make it for your team to continue learning, the more likely they are to take advantage of educational resources—and that ultimately helps both them and your company.
3. Set learning time during work hours
Some companies set aside a few hours every week for everyone to stop working and spend time doing something that makes them better. This could be taking a typing class, playing an online programming course, refactoring some old code, or even coding a side project using a new language.
Not one way to learning but many.
learning is a personal process and different things work for different people. Some people like books, others prefer online videos, and some just like to dig in and experiment. The best way to tackle different learning styles is by having a good mix of tools—and ways for developers to get access to them—so they continue to grow in the way that’s best for them.
Have you successfully implemented an education program for your development team?