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Keeping Track of your Skills

Hi, I'm an ops person.
I've been a developer.
Done distributed systems and System Engineering.
I did things with Haskell, Rust, C, Perl, Shell (lots of shell), GNU/Linux, {Free,Open}BSD, TLS, x509 and whatnot.

It's been some time since I started and sometimes I lose track of what I – hey, there's Python, JS, HTML/CSS missing in that list above – actually learned over the years.
There's still moments when I notice that I actually know what a TIME_WAIT on Linux is and why it's there and also what the difference between an abstract class and an interface is in Java.

So now my final question: Do you, if yes, how do you keep track of all that?

Note: I know that there are certain advantages to not keeping track (e.g. not accidentally claiming to know tech when your knowledge is hopelessly out of date).

Top comments (9)

neex profile image
neex • Edited

I do not keep track of it, although, I think I will after reading your question. If I start it will be in a folder-structured markdown files, with everything else that matters to me.

I lost too much data in online note systems (Evernote, OneNote, etc) to trust them, and in the occasional file corruption incidents, to use closed formats (MS stuff).

I used to use Zotero, but it required too much bending it to my purpose.

Since you want to keep track of something that does not change a lot, it does not seem like cross-platform accessibility anywhere-anytime is very important, but if it is, you can always keep it in (any) cloud.

You can make it very small and just have one file, or make it grow to any-size you want. I also use recoll to index all my files for fast search.

This system has the benefit of linking non-markdown files in relative links. If I have some external data that I want to keep. And all is indexed and searchable.

For people who do not like to lose the visual aspects of formatting text, there is a lot of tools with a split view like in markdownpad that also have icons for formatting. It is an easy way to learn markdown painlessly. I use typora but it is still in beta, and it is supposed to be paid when grows out of it.

benaryorg profile image

As to the sort of application to keep track of that, I'd probably use plain markdown with my vim config, that allows me to fold sections and subsections, making it easy to scroll.

+1 for that part:

I do not keep track of it, although, I think I will after reading your question

pgoodjohn profile image
Pietro Bongiovanni

I have decided for an approach similar to yours, markdown files in a folder structure but, as I am very bad at managing files by myself, I started using Ulysses ( which is basically a markdown editor which also manages file structures.

I found it very useful to have all my notes in one place but at the same time being able to distinguish school from work from personal, and making it easy to jump from one topic to another one!

Highly recommended, and from today onwards I am also going to keep a skill journal!

maxwell_dev profile image
Max Antonucci

I've been trying to use a Github repo with markdown files of notes on books and other things I've studied. It's been hard to get into the habit of writing in it though. I prefer it since it's a good place for storing all the info, and it also lets others read it. It's always good to share knowledge, and doing that at the same time one's learning more makes it even easier.

benaryorg profile image

Keeping a list of read books is also a good thing.
The Stack Overflow CV allows for that, which I think is a good thing, but that one again doesn't let you have simple nested lists (8-level bullet-points and such).

lexlohr profile image
Alex Lohr

I don't really keep track of my skills. If I cannot remember one of my skills right away, chances are that it is forgotten, outdated and/or useless.

Also, as a professional developer, my most important and practiced skill is acquiring new skills. The result of any good development is not only a finished product, but also a developer who learned something new on the way.

mikkpr profile image
Mikk Pristavka

If I were to write everything down, I would most likely use a mind map instead of a flat list.
To me, keeping track of my skills doesn't make much sense as I'm constantly expanding my skillset from one end, but due to lack of use, the skillset is shrinking from the other. I guess the only thing that does increase over time is the number of skills you're good at in a given moment. This might be a personal issue as my memory is really subpar and acquiring new knowledge is really difficult — I have to keep practising, practising, practising constantly to keep my mind sharp.
Come to think of it, keeping a written record might actually be helpful to internalize everything I've acquired so far :)

pabiforbes profile image
Pabi Forbes

Hi, I generally do not keep track and I've only been developing for 2 years now. It quite difficult to find an effective way to keep track of it all, especially if you use different tools and languages from one project to the next.
But after your post, I should consider finding a way to keep track.

courier10pt profile image
Bob van Hoove

I do keep track of it. It's listed in my 'previous' resume. When the time comes to move on I add new things and perhaps remove some :)