It’s the eve of my first visit of a conference that focuses on web development topics (EnterJS in Darmstadt, Germany). A couple of months ago, I would not have thought that I would systematically learn about web apps and even visit a conference. However, I’m getting pretty deep into these issues and having a great learning experience. Time to reflect about how I manage to gather new technology insights!
When being the “typical junior developer”, the decision about what I would learn mainly was made by other people. I was put into a project and trying to survive by learning as fast as I could as much as I could. I focused on asking other developers in the team for resources, mainly books. I read those books, applied the knowledge and stashed them for later reference in my book shelve. This approach worked out OK, it made me a productive developer in the team and I learned a lot.
One or two years ago, because of role changes in my team, I asked my team mates if it was OK that I called myself “Tech Lead”. My track record has been growing and I gathered quite some experience, so I thought that should reflect in my role designation.
Also, the process of learning had changed. Generally, I began selecting topics to learn far in advance, not just when having to apply them. I used Udemy courses to get overviews of a topic and bought detailed courses for a deeper understanding of selected issues. Although I was visiting conferences for years, I began selecting specific conferences, talks and smaller events that fit to my interests. That also meant to not visit some events that didn’t promise to enhance my knowledge. More and more, I used my network of other software craftsman to get help with specific questions. Books are still part of my arsenal, however these are more and more strategic books on how to build a career and how to make teams work, less about technology.
Without reading much into this, I’m pretty happy with how things are right now. It’s great to have the freedom to choose the best learning style and to harvest the best results from that freedom.