How to Keep up to Date as a Software Developer
The world is changing rapidly. So rapidly, in fact, that many developers feel they’ve entered an all-out sprint just to keep up with today’s technology. Everything that was shiny and new yesterday is nothing but old news today. This is the wild, wild west of software, and developers are hustling to stay up to date.
Believe it or not, there’s nothing good about shiny object syndrome. Falling for the latest-and-greatest technology that appears every week might sound like the best way to stay on top of your craft, but it’ll only lead to developer burnout. Instead, stop worrying about mastering ever new programming language or technique. It’s time to create a strategy that will launch your skills into the next wave of technology again and again.
Learn How to Learn
Too many people today lack the basic skills required to learn quickly. While this is something we were supposed to master in college, it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re behind the curve when it comes to learning new skills quickly. According to Education Week, the most valuable skill a student can have is the ability to learn.
As software developers, we know our stuff. We mastered a new language of computers (or several) and we put that language to good use to solve problems on a daily basis. That being said, how many of us have the right habits to continue learning? Like college students, our primary means of putting our skills to use can’t just be during the workday.
While working on projects is a prime way to learn new skills, this won’t push us further. Like a high school student transitioning to college, it’s time to stop thinking of learning as something that happens only in the classroom.
Read the Top Development Blogs
If you want to know what’s going on in this community, you need to be a part of it. You won’t get very far with your head deep in the sand. Spend a portion of your time every day reading through the latest posts on a variety of software development blogs. Yes, in a way this is letting other developers do some of the heavy lifting for you. But why shouldn’t you? These bloggers are at the forefront of the changes, and you have something to learn from listening to their perspective.
We’ve all struggled through problems during a development project. Believe it or not, these bloggers have struggled through the same problems. Most likely, they’ve come out unscathed on the other side and have a story to share about how they dug through the trenches. Save time and learn in the process by being an active reader on their blogs.
Where can you find interesting blogs? A great place to start is CodeBetter, a blog all about what works and what doesn’t in the world of software development. Another great platform for finding the best blogs is Medium, home to an active community of bloggers, tech-leaders, and developers. Check out Dzone and the Github Blog to start with.
Attend Technology Events
While reading is a great way to improve your understanding of ideas every day, attend tech events is a great way to gain hands-on skills. From conferences to code camps, these events highlight the latest and most-noteworthy in new development technology all in a few days or so.
Think of it this way: would you rather slog through reading a few books on a new subject and struggle along the way or spend a day at a boot camp where you pick up the skills from experts themselves? This is the best way to get that “I get this” moment as a developer without wading through the time-consuming learning process.
Technology events also focus on the latest trends that make you a stronger developer. For instance, cybersecurity and logging are some of the most common coding events and tutorials going on nowadays. While it’s useful to research logging help like 4 Node.js Logging libraries which make sophisticated logging simpler with log analysis and log monitoring by Loggly, it’s also an asset to work with your hands when possible.
Never Get Comfortable
Ultimately, you’ll need to accept that you’ll likely never be 100% comfortable standing still as a developer. A main part of the job is always moving forward towards something bigger and better. However, that’s part of what makes this career so appealing.
These tips above will keep your skills up to date. Don’t be afraid to go back to the basics or to just try coding new things. As long as you’re dedicated to learning and focusing on what works, you’ll see yourself succeed.