One of the best part of my job which is also the most difficult one is always having to learn new stuff.
It’s great to have the opportunity to learn new things every day, it keeps my job interesting and challenging through the years. It also adds a lot of pressure to deal with: we know that a developer who doesn’t try to stay up to date for a few years quickly becomes “obsolete”.
It’s even harder when you consider the fact that a great number of us have to be productive during working hours and don’t have much time to work on that aspect.
How do I manage to keep up?
Here are some of my tips.
Only going to user groups on regular basis is already a great way to learn new stuff. Most of the time it’s cheap, happening after working hours and you have the opportunity to talk with the speaker.
Nothing new on that side, I follow a lot of blogs to stay up to date and get news.
Microsoft Virtual Academy
If you do not already have an account just go sign up now! This site has a lot of training modules on MS technologies (not only) made by Microsoft and hosted by MSFT’s and/or experts from the community. It’s free and really useful!
Moreover, Microsoft Canada is organizing a prize contest offering you a chance to win free cinema tickets. (Canadian residents only)
As a Microsoft MVP a have access to free credit on Azure. If you don’t already know it, you have tons of things to learn about it and a huge market is opening up right know. Besides from playing with available technologies, it allows me to quickly set up my labs without having a cluster at home (which I had a couple of years ago).
MSDN comes with a lot of benefits, including Azure credit, ability to download all Microsoft products, training, support…It’s clearly a game changer, you never again ask yourself if you have the tools you need, you just have those.
Here is a video describing all the benefits http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/Breakpoint/s02e07
With all these benefits I can “play” with what I’m learning whenever I want with personal projects.
I always enjoy reading a good book about a technology I need to deep dive in.
I hope that this short post would have given you some ideas. What about you? How do you keep up? Anything you could recommend me? Don’t hesitate to comment!