Continuous Learning

Continuous Learning

WE LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES. As development gets distributed across the globe, you learn there are lots of people capable of doing your job. You need to keep learning to stay marketable. Otherwise you’ll become a dinosaur, stuck in the same job until, one day, you’ll no longer be needed or your job get out-sourced to some cheaper resource.

So what do you do about it? Here’s a list of ways to keep you learning. Many of these can be found on the Internet for free:

+ Read books, magazines, blogs, Twitter feeds, and websites. If you want to go deeper into a subject, consider joining a mailing list or new group.

+ If you really want to get immersed in a technology, get hand on–write some code.

+ A good way to learn something is to teach or speak about it. When people are going to listen to you and ask you questions, you’ll be highly motivated to learn. Try a lunch learn at work, a user group, or a local conference.

+ Join or start a study group or a local user group for a languages, technology, or discipline you are interested in.

+ Go to conferences. And if you can’t go, many conferences put their talks on line for free.

+ Long commute? Listen to podcasts.

+ Follow the advice of the Pragmatic Programmers and learn a new language every year.

+ Not everything you learn has to be about technology. Learn the domain you’re working in so you can better understand the requirements and help solve the business problem. Learning how to be more productive–how to work better–is another good option.

+ Go back to school.

You don’t have to spend every waking hour learning. A little time–say, each week–is better than nothing. There is (or should be) a life outside of work.

Technology changes fast. Don’t get left behind.