Are you keeping up with technology?

By on September 12, 2013 in Education

A common challenge for developers and architects is keeping up with technology. Technology moves extremely fast, it seems like almost every day there is something new to learn. A new tool, technology or solution that provides an improvement to our lives if only we could invest the time to learning about it. That’s the kicker, you must invest some time in order to realize the return and like investing in the stock market there are no guarantees that your investment will yield a return. Our time is a precious commodity and we have many competing priorities so how does one decide which technologies are relevant and which are fleeting. If we only knew which ones to pay attention to and which ones we could ignore. The short answer is, we can’t so we must develop an education strategy that we can make part of our daily lives. One that allows us to slow down the fire hose of new technology that bombards us daily into a trickle that we can consume at our own pace.

Over the years I have observed that developers and architects fall into two categories. The first category are frustrated learners. They feel keeping up with new technologies is a challenge, a burden that frustrates and even discourages them. I often hear developer friends of mine say they need to learn about a certain technology but they just don’t have the time. They feel like they are always behind and can never seem to catch up. I feel their pain, I hear the concern and sincerity in their voice and believe they want to move forward, they just seem to never be able to take the next step.These are frustrated learners.

The second category are lifelong learners. They are the technologist that treat learning about new technologies as part of their professional responsibilities. They embrace it as an essential part of their job and are motivated to learn new things daily. They treat education like other professionals where continuing education is a required part of their professional certification. They embrace it as a challenging yet rewarding aspect of their chosen profession.

Quite obviously the second category is more successful but I think the important question is: why do some developers and architects fall into this first category of frustrated learners? I don’t believe it is apathy or laziness, the developers I am thinking about right now are skilled and motivated and I would hire them in a minute if they were looking for a job. I believe the fundamental problem in the first group is the sheer amount of new information that we are presented with. Frustrated learners just don’t know how to get their arms around the problem so they do what we all do when that happens, ignore the problem.

If you are part of the first group of frustrated learners but want to become a lifelong learner then it is imperative for you to develop a plan for getting there. Below are the first three steps to help you move you in that direction.

1) You must decide that you want to be part of the second category of lifelong learners. This must be a conscious choice and one that will require time and effort on your part. Don’t just read this and move on to the next point. You really need to decide that keeping up with new technology is important. You have to make a commitment to yourself or you will never succeed.

2) You must make learning about new technologies a habit. Integrate it into your daily life. Treat is just like you do your morning coffee or reading your email. Something that you practice daily and even look forward to.

3) You must create a process that allows you to tame the technology beast. You will need to find ways to integrate learning into your daily life, slowing down the firehose into a manageable trickle that can be consumer daily. This is possible, many people do it and so can you.

Keeping up with new technology can be a challenge but it is one of the things that we all must do as professional software developers and architectects. We must develop consumption strategies and goals that help us improve as professionals. We need to embrace continuing education to keep our skills current so that we remain relevant.

In my next post I will review the strategy that I use to tame the new technology beast.



If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Comments are closed.