Chapter 18. Continuous Learning

Clint Shank

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WE LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES. As development gets distributed across the globe, you learn there are lots of people capable of doing your job. You need to keep learning to stay marketable. Otherwise you’ll become a dinosaur, stuck in the same job until, one day, you’ll no longer be needed or your job gets outsourced to some cheaper resource.

So what do you do about it? Some employers are generous enough to provide training to broaden your skill set. Others may not be able to spare the time or money for any training at all. To play it safe, you need to take responsibility for your own education.

Here’s a list of ways to keep you learning. Many of these can be found on the Internet for free:

  • Read books, magazines, blogs, Twitter feeds, and websites. If you want to go deeper into a subject, consider joining a mailing list or newsgroup.

  • If you really want to get immersed in a technology, get hands on—write some code.

  • Always try to work with a mentor, as being the top guy can hinder your education. Although you can learn something from anybody, you can learn a whole lot more from someone smarter or more experienced than you. If you can’t find a mentor, consider moving on.

  • Use virtual mentors. Find authors and developers on the Web who you really like and read everything they write. Subscribe to their blogs.

  • Get to know the frameworks and libraries you ...

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