Technology professionals who don't keep up with technology soon become ex-technology professionals. Learn how you can efficiently keep up in fields where change is rapid, available knowledge keeps expanding, and current knowledge becomes obsolete.
Keeping up with evolving technology doesn't happen by accident - it takes
deliberate strategy - what to learn, how to learn, when to learn, and how
to compete. It's essential to learn how to keep up efficiently. In this
course, Keeping up with Technology, you'll get started on developing your
own strategy for improving your learning efficiency so you can win at the
technology career race. First, you'll explore different strategies to
efficiently keep up with the latest technology. Next, you'll learn which
technologies you should keep up with, how to determine when to learn them,
and how to find the time. Finally, you'll discover techniques to help you
learn efficiently, and how to keep up with technology as a marathon to
build a long-lasting career. By the end of this course, you'll have the
necessary knowledge to maximize your learning efficiency and time when
keeping up with today's evolving world of technology.
Dan Appleman is a well known author, software developer, and speaker. Currently the CTO of Full Circle Insights, he is the author of numerous books, ebooks, and online courses on various topics (technology and other). His latest book is "Advanced Apex Programming" - advancedapex.com Personal Website http://danappleman.com.
Keeping up Is for Losers It takes time to keep up with technology. That's the price. The real cost of keeping up. Yes, schools and courses cost, but you're in technology; you can probably afford it. Time, though, there's never enough of that, so I won't waste your time in this course. I'm not going to waste time talking to you about why it's important to keep up with technology. Unless you're just starting out, you know that the useful lifespan of a large portion of your skills and knowledge is measured, at best, in a year or two, and sometimes in months. Fail to keep up and say goodbye to your livelihood. And if you're just starting out, well, you'll find out soon enough. I'm going to start, instead, with a rather harsh truth, one you already know. You can't keep up. There's too much new technology, and existing technology changes far too quickly. The best you can hope for is to keep up with smaller and smaller slices of technology. Keeping up is a lousy way of looking at our careers. Even the term keeping up is awful. If the best you can hope for is keeping up, it means you can never win; the game is rigged against you. But I always figured if the game is rigged against you, it's time to change the rules, or even play a different game. So despite the title of this course, I'm not going to teach you how to keep up with technology. Keeping up is for losers. I'm going to teach you how to play the game differently, to thrive, to win the technology career game. Just watch.
What Should You Keep up With? Figuring out what to learn can be a huge challenge given the seemly endless choices available. So let's start with something easy and obvious. Most technology workers hold jobs where they are paid based on time worked, an annual salary, or an hourly wage or consulting fee. Put another way, you're selling time for money and you already know that the cost of keeping up is always measured in time. So if someone comes to you and says, instead of producing something in the time I've bought, I want you to learn something in that time, well there's really nothing to think about. If someone is paying you to learn on the clock, time you're working anyway, learn it. It doesn't matter if it's particularly interesting or fun, or matches your future goals. It's the best deal you can possibly ask for. It's like when you were a kid in school and asked your parents, how come I don't get paid to go to school? Except now you are. Things are trickier if your company is offering to pay for your education, but it's on your own time. Not that it can't be a good deal, especially if you're getting reimbursed to pick up a degree or learn something you want to learn anyway. But it's not quite as obvious as learning on your employer's time. Getting reimbursed for educational expenses is great, but don't let it blind you to the fact that it's costing you time as well. If you're spending your own time learning something that someone else wants you to learn, instead of what you've chosen to learn, you may find that what you're really doing is working overtime for a much lower rate of pay than you get normally. You might be better off learning what you choose, even without the reimbursement.
When Should You Keep Up? One of the best ways to improve your efficiency when keeping up is to reduce the amount of time it takes to learn something. Let me ask you this. Let's say you need to learn a particular technology and were give two choices. You could either have full access to books and courses, online training and tutorials, along with accurate technical documentation, or you could be limited to some partial technical references that weren't completely accurate or up to date. Which would you choose? It is so much more efficient to learn a technology once resources are available. Books and courses, such as this one, are written by authors who have already struggled to learn the technology and figured out how to organize the material in a way that's easy to learn. Online forums provide places where you can find answers to tough problems that others have faced. Endless blog posts and articles contain accurate, up-to-date documentation. All of those resources take time to create. Most won't exist for new technologies, especially while in beta or pre-release. And those change so quickly that what exists is rarely up to date. Learning new technologies is so time consuming, frustrating, and painful, that we often call it the bleeding edge. I know there's a lot of pressure to keep up with the latest technology, but the truth is that it's infinitely more efficient to keep up with technology that's about six months old. The only people that should ever learn a brand-new technology are those who have a compelling, immediate need to use it, and those who make a living creating the books, courses, and other material to make things easier for everyone else. Learning bleeding edge technologies is not only inefficient, it may be completely useless, as you'll see next.
How Do You Keep up with Technology? Some people like to take classes, some read books, some watch courses such as this one, some explore blog posts, articles, and online forums. Personally, I learn best by reading specs and lots of experimentation. If you're going to learn efficiently, it's important to know how you learn best. If you followed my advice from the last module to avoid the bleeding edge, by the time you're learning about something, there will be all kinds of resources available. If you insist on learning a new technology, technical specs and experimentation may be all you have available. When choosing your preferred learning methods, there are a number of things to keep in mind to help you choose the best ones and avoid wasting time. Consider timeliness. With technology changing as quickly as it does, the last thing you want to do is invest time with content that is no longer accurate. This is especially important when using content you find online, some of which is not even dated. Curation. I can't stress how important curation is. The documentation for today's software systems and its devices can comprise of hundreds, if not thousands of pages. How do you know which of them are important? How do you know the best order for learning them? If someone can identify the key information that you need and present it to you in a logical, easy to understand order, your learning efficiency can skyrocket. That's what curation does for you. There's discipline. Life gets busy. Most of the time we're not just trying to keep up with technology, we're trying to keep up with every aspect of our lives. Whatever you think of school, there's one thing it does very well -- force you to attend classes on a schedule and meet deadlines for homework and exams. Short of attending school, you'll need to choose learning approaches that you will actually have the discipline to use. Consider joining a user group or study group to help with that.