skills up-to-date

How to Keep your Skills Up-to-Date as a Developer

There is no end of learning in the IT industry. Some would say that there is no industry that is so dynamic and inviting as software development. New libraries, frameworks, and even languages are constantly appearing, so you have to keep up with new trends in order to stay on the top in a competitive market. It’s easier to keep up and understand these changes for those who started programming many years ago, but sometimes this can lead to burnout. However, if you establish your own way of learning and choose some websites or forums that you check on a daily basis, you probably won’t feel these changes as a threat. For those who just started learning this might seems like an impossible task these days, but it’s not.

These are some of the main reasons you should stay up to date with new technologies:

  1. You want to stay in the job market
  2. You want to be productive
  3. You are passionate about learning more and you’re genuinely interested in technology

Also, if you’re searching for a job, every IT recruitment company will check your social media platforms in order to see if you share news from the tech world, follow professionals from the industry, and see if you’re engaged in the IT community.

  • The good thing about programming is that people share information with each other freely. This is the strong community that gathers people and advocates sharing knowledge online, on conferences, meetups, social media, and blogs.

Most of new things are the same underneath

The fact is that libraries and frameworks follow the same general principles regardless of the language. As you know, every library or framework out there has to follow the same rules as the language it’s built on. So, if you know the general principles and rules in languages, you can easily pick up new information.

Instead of being frustrated, be curious

Look at these changes this way – life of a software developers can never be boring. You can play with so many tools every day. If you love your job, you will be interested in looking into new stuff and expand your knowledge. Just stop being afraid of new information and your life will be more comfortable. You’re probably thinking that it’s easier said than done, right? However, when you finish reading this article, you will understand that there are many exciting ways of learning.

Stay open to new ideas

When somebody is telling you about new technologies, don’t just reject these new ideas. Be open to hear about them from the person who is already using new technologies, but also check them when you get home. You probably believe that your way of working is the only way, but you have to be open to new ideas if you want your career to move in the right direction.

Trust your instinct about new technologies

Should you invest your time in every new framework? Of course not! Some of the new things will not be relevant in the future, so it’s normal to hesitate a bit. Nevertheless, don’t let these questions stop you from making any progress at all. Invest a little bit of time exploring the general concept about new things and dig deeper if you see that it has potential.

stay up to date
You have to find your own way of learning

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Check news on podcasts

Instead of listening to a radio on your way to work, why wouldn’t you check out news from developers world on a podcast? They are a great way to keep yourself up to speed. There are numerous professionals discussing trending topics, you just have to explore and find the favorite one. Here is a list of interesting podcasts:

Meet like-minded people on local events

Local meetups are a great way to connect with people in your city and discuss new technologies. Being engaged in a local IT community is healthy and beneficial on personal level as well. Connect with people who are as passionate about coding as you are will boost your productivity and knowledge. So, check out Meetups or organizations in your area and become an active member of IT community.

Boost your knowledge on conferences

There are so many benefits of going to conferences. You will connect with other professionals, get a new perspective on your job, learn new things, maybe go to a country that you never had the opportunity to visit, and motivate yourself do to more on your job. The important thing is to make a plan and check on speakers. Here are some conferences that are held in Europe:

GrowIT Conf
Connect with IT experts, beginners, enthusiasts, business owners and students

Find inspiration on CodePen

CodePen is a social development environment for front-end designers and developers where you can try to figure out how to handle projects and what’s going on behind the scene. This is actually a community where you can discuss all sorts of things, build and deploy a website, show off your work, build test cases, and find inspiration. You can listen to a podcast or read a blog, whatever you prefer.

Explore your field of work in-depth by reading books

If you want to explore a technical topic in-depth, then books are an excellent choice. Some people say that books are actually more thorough than blogs and there are plenty of reasons for that. For example, articles are often SEO-driven, not knowledge-driven. Further, books cover the entire landscape of the subject and there is no distraction in form of pop-up notifications and ads while you’re reading them. However, not every book is great, just as not every blog post is bad.

Ask colleagues for a recommendation or read some books that are “evergreen” such as “Clean Code”, “The Pragmatic Programmer”, “Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams”, Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture, The Algorithm Design Manual, “Software Craftsmanship”, “Domain-Driven Design” or “Test-Driven Development. Yes, the industry evolves incredibly fast, but these books will help you explore your field of work on a much deeper level.

software engineering articles
Articles are often SEO-driven, not knowledge-driven, so sometimes it’s better to read books

Read blogs on a daily basis

People usually check the news in the morning to see what’s going on in the world, but following news from tech can be your morning routine. There are so many blogs that will help you stay up-to-date, just pick few of them and follow them on social media platforms. For example, you can start with Hacker News, Slashdot, DZone, Smash Magazine or find a tech blogger whose style you like. Maybe you will find David Walsh, Jeff Atwood or Rob Allen interesting. Whether you want to solve some issue on work or you want to stay up-to-date, blogs can help you find what you need.

What happens if you stop learning?

If your company is moving on but you’re not, you might get replaced by other programmers. Yes, a lot of coders don’t feel the need to learn new stuff for their work and still live a happy life, but for how long?

  • The fact is that every month, a new programming language is born and every week, languages get updated.

So, if you really want to stay relevant as a programmer, you have to keep learning. Use the resources above in order to stay the best in your job. Which way of learning do you prefer the most?

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