Being a software developer is great. But being a software developer is also hard. Whilst I'm writing this post and you're reading it, there will probably be dozens of new frameworks, libraries, tools and methodologies announced. That's one of the most interesting part of our job. But from time to time it's just overwhelming and I get FOMO.
Am I going to miss something important? How do I stay up to date as a software developer?
In the last few years I've been using the following strategies for myself:
- See what's going on and get the big picture
- Dive into something a little deeper
- Use it in a real project
To see what's going on I primarily use the following medias:
- RSS Feeds
- Podcasts (eg. Dotnetrocks, Hanselminutes)
- Meetup group and conference lists
Even if you just scroll through your timeline, RSS or podcast feeds, meetup groups and conference lists, you'll get a feeling about what's going on and get the bigger picture in your head. When I stumble over an interesting tweet, RSS feed, dev.to article or a link in a newsletter, I save it on Pocket. I take notes about interesting meetups and conferences and put them into my calendar.
Packed with the bigger picture in my head and a collection of interesting articles, blogs and other things in my Pocket, I'm able to dive deeper into a specific topic. I read blog posts and docs. I listen to podcasts. I join meetup groups and attend conferences. In case of a very interesting topic, be it personal interest or for a specific project at my job, I dig deeper into it by means of a book or a Pluralsight video. And last but not least, I play with it in code.
Videos, podcasts, books, blogs and code playgrounds are all great ways to learn something new. But if you really like to know that stuff, you have to get your hands dirty! That means I try to use something I learned in a real world project at my job, even if it's risky sometimes.
You may notice that my strategy heavily depends on free content provided by other people. I'm really thankful and I have a lot of respect for these women and men. Thank you!
I'm trying to make my contribution to the community and to my co-workers in form of blog posts, brown bag sessions and hopefully soon speaking at a local meetup group :-)
But now I'm interested about you. What's your strategy? How do you stay up to date as a software developer?