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Hamp Goodwin
Hamp Goodwin

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How to read documentation

I recently started a new job. There are a few technologies that I haven't had the opportunity to work with, or work as deeply with as I have wanted to. There has been a lot of time spent reading docs.

I want to share with you how I get the most out of my time spent learning a new technology by reading their documentation. There are definitely other good ways to learn, and I do those too, but I want to share how I read docs.

First, I find good resources

Sometimes the primary source isn't great. Sometimes it is and that is very fortunate. Luckily for my I've been diving more deeply into gRPC, Protocol buffers, Redis, and Stripe; all of which have fantastic documentation.

Second, I Read

  1. I put on brown noise, pretty loudly. Preferably on headphones.
    12 hrs of brown noise

  2. I get the lighting in the room relaxed. I find too dark I am sleepy, too bright I am distracted.

  3. Whenever possible (some websites can't be formatted to this), I use the Firefox reader.
    Firefox Screenreader example

  4. I work in 50-minute Pomodoros with 10-minute breaks, giving myself a physical break in-between reading sessions. For these pomodoros, I require myself to stretch, or do a quick yoga.

  5. I use notion to take notes
    Notion Organization of Notes
    I take notes on what I'm learning; what's new, or what is fascinating. I wrote down questions. I take traditional style school notes. I add links for things I will likely want to reference again later. I take screen clippings.
    Notes Example

Lastly, revisit

Too often for me the time spent learning is apart from the time spent putting into practice. So it's important for me to take 10-15 minutes every once in a while and review what the heck I just did. This will keep things fresh enough for me come the time to do the work.

Top comments (5)

kaaiomarxx profile image
Kaio Marx

Awesome to see how you do hamp, the notion is pretty good for sure.
I'm also using notion, but a different model maybe you like to put your notes as "pages" in a table. because then you can create custom columns, in mine, for example, all notes have a "category" column and the date I created, I believe you'll like it.

To inspire you:

hampgoodwin profile image
Hamp Goodwin

Hey Kaio!
I do judiciously use tables in other places. However, I like this "board" setup I have for my "personal" engineering/career wiki I maintain in Notion. The big disadvantage is not having the tagging/searching functionality, but I'm ok with that :)

ikembakwem profile image
Ikechukwu Mbakwem

Docs are always a great place to start learning any technology.

ahmedhossamdev profile image
Ahmed Hossam

Good job ! ❀❀

adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett πŸŒ€

I'm dyslexic and your pretty much describing the same process I take ☺️