Devote Part of Your Day to Keeping Up to Date

Devote Part of Your Day to Keeping Up to Date

I’m not saying that keeping up to date will be easy. But you will have to learn not to kid yourself. Anyone can find a half an hour a day to keep up with the industry. I suggest waking up a half an hour early and doing it before you start work. Another option is taking part of your lunch break to do some reading. But I wouldn’t suggest doing it right before you go to bed. Learning about code is not conducive to going right to sleep.

But how do you go about doing it. Since this is “keeping up to date”, I am guessing you already code as part of your job. Are there any parts of the language you are currently using that you are rusty at? When I started coding in React, I had a pretty good handle on the basics. But I felt I needed to know a little bit more about functional programming, which would take me a long way with React. I could still write good React code without knowing the principles, but I wanted to write better React code. So I found a book on functional programming in JavaScript while I was warming up getting ready for work and I took half of my hour lunch to read it.

Or maybe you have a good handle on what you do at your day job and you are a frontend developer. But you want to learn about a part of the ecosystem that you haven’t touched yet. Does Python sounds interesting? Well, figure out a part of your day that you can spare some time or make some time, get a book on Python and started reading through it. Do the exercises if you want or just read and absorb the information until something clicks and you get an idea for something you want to build.

Or maybe you are not sure what you want to learn to add to your skills. Subscribe to a bunch of programming subreddits and scroll through them every day, reading whatever interests you. Chances are that you will run into something that sparks your interest. This is how I ran into the Numerai stock market contest that taught me so much about machine learning.

But whatever you do, keep learning. This will put you ahead of all the developers who don’t. You won’t ever know when one of these skills you are not currently using will come in handy. And any skill you learn in this industry will tend to inform your other skills.

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Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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