Being in the tech business is not an easy task. There is something new every other day. A new library, a new framework, an upgrade to an existing framework or new syntax introduced can actually leave you anxious. No matter what your profile is – backend developer, frontend developer, data analyst or a database administrator, you need to stay updated in this ever-changing world of tech else, sooner or later you’ll become obsolete.
Now, this has to be done without hampering your work. The deadlines cannot take a backseat just because you wanted to learn the new tech-stack. Sometimes you just want to learn new things or try your hands on the new tools just for the sake of it. But the question is – WHEN? and more importantly – HOW?
When I faced this issue?
I realized this problem when I started working in a startup. Chasing the deadlines, contributing to the meetings, taking client calls and setting the pace of the team as a team lead, along with the core development of the product/project, I realized there was a disconnect in my work and my learnings.
I am not saying that the projects aren’t challenging enough or the work that I am doing is not providing me an opportunity to learn. The work that I am involved in is not just challenging but to some extent – inspiring! Here my concern is about a completely different type of learning, the type which will help me do my job in a better way.
If you want to understand what kind of learning I am talking about, at the end of each day, apart from filling the timesheets and giving updates to your project manager, just quickly analyze what is one thing that you learned today which will help you to do your job better the very next day or in the coming months. Somedays you’ll have an answer but somedays you won’t.
Wait, hold my beer…
Let me explain my point with an example:
Consider a situation where I had to clone an object or array and then perform some basic data manipulation/modification. Because I know the methods I perform them and move forward with the next problem in hand, so on and so forth! This continues for the rest of the day/week/month.
Exactly this kind of learning is missing on a daily basis. And to be honest, this is the only kind of learning you should focus on as this can be a differentiating factor between a good and a great programmer.
So, I hope we are on the same page now and you understand which kind of “LEARNING” I am talking about.
The secret sauce? The golden scroll?
Now there are 2 ways you can accomplish this type of learning.
- Do your job and hope that your seniors/superiors teach you to do the right thing during the code review, or
- Spend time at home (after work – which is next to impossible) and on weekends to polish your basics
But what if I tell you there is a third way to accomplish this type of learning without relying on hope or sacrificing your family time on weekends.
The answer is very simple – DEFINE PRIORITIES.
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily”— Mike Murdock
Do the following steps for just 1 week and you’ll be able to notice the difference:
- Get to work on time
- Greet your colleagues and sit at your system
- Put your headphones and start reading articles (I read Angular articles). These articles can be of a particular framework or dead simple topics like how to clone an object .
- Make a google doc where you keep the link of this article for future references or you can use Pocket
You’ll see astonishing results within two weeks because, every day when you leave your workplace, you have learned something new that day which made you 1% better than yesterday.
“Compounding is the greatest mathematical discovery of all time.” — Albert Einstein
I can say that this works because not only I am using this technique to improve myself on a daily basis but my team is equally participating. And yes we can see the difference. There have been instances when an article that we read 2 weeks ago suddenly was put to use, saving a ton of R&D time.
Rest, I leave you with exploring The Daffodil Principle
Let me know in the comments what hacks you use to keep yourself updated in this ever-changing world without hampering your work.