How to get better at what you're doing

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How to get better at what you're doing


So, want to improve at what you’re doing?

In a phrase, don’t stop learning.

In my profession (software development), this is even more important, because the field sure isn’t going to wait for you. Jeremy Miller posted about how developers need to get out and “see the world.” He was specifically talking about checking out other technologies like Ruby because it can help to see how things can be done differently, but he makes one statement that I liked in particular:

Software development is still a young profession that’s in a state of constant flux and it’s just not smart to put your head in the sand.

Yeah, I know, we all want work to end at 5 pm. But development is the profession we chose, and if constant learning doesn’t suit you, it’s time to move onto something else.

This reminds me of a phrase that Scott Hanselman used in his recent podcast on “Hiring and Interviewing Engineers.” Here’s the relevant snippet from the podcast:

Scott Hanselman: … I also ask people about what blogs they read, what books they read, how do they become lifelong learners

Carl Franklin: Yeah, very important.

Scott Hanselman: …because it is not that you want them to be people who are necessarily working on Open Source projects at night, but they should be enthused; they should be stoked about whatever they are working on.

I actually typically use my lunch hour to catch up on feeds, which are an excellent source of continuing learning. As far as books… well, I’ve got like 5 or 6 at home that I need to read. I still need to work on that.

What are your tips on continual learning?

(man, this post reads a lot like those cheesy “the more you know” commercials from TV… sorry…)