As a Software Engineer, I’m always curious about what’s new on the market and most importantly I’m always eager to try out new things. Although it seems pretty easy, it’s actually very hard to keep up with newly released technologies in a doable fashion. Especially in the last couple of years, so many tools and frameworks have been released and they are making the job of developers a lot easier but due to the impressive number, it’s pretty hard to decide on what would actually make sense for a specific use case.
So how can you do it then? How can you still be “up-to-date” in terms of what’s new on the market but still having a social life?
Discovering new Technologies
Although I’m not a real big fan of social media, Twitter has changed the way I see it. Of course, you would still have to deal with the noise, and trust me there is a lot of noise on Twitter, but you would also get a ton of benefits. Just by following the right people, you will be able to access real-time information on what’s new on the market, keep up with software releases and follow up on new trends.
But who are the “right” people? That’s not an easy question that I can answer. You would have to crop your own list of persons that you may want to follow, depending on the area that you’re interested in and their personality type.
I love these guys! They have 4 areas ( Techniques, Tools, Platforms and Languages & Frameworks ) on which they assess different technologies and give an opinionated view. The view, also called the “Radar”, is written by an Advisory Board composed of about 20 technology leaders and it’s published every 6 months. The radar is composed of 4 quadrants: Hold, Assess, Trial and Adopt. So, you can assess by yourself if it makes sense to deep dive into the technology you’re interested in.
Meet-ups & Conferences
You would be surprised by how many cool stuff you can possibly learn from meet-ups and conferences. Most of the talks are max 1-year-old so the chance of running into something outdated is quite small. Usually, speakers prepare about 2 or 3 talks over a year and they present them as often as they have the chance. Of course, going to meet-ups / conferences requires a lot more effort than sitting on your couch and reading stuff but they also present some other benefits, like networking and free food ( sometimes?! ).
Learning new Technologies
You’ve heard about a new technology and you kinda have an idea of what it can do so, now, you simply want to dive into it and explore its limits. How can you do that in an efficient way?
If we are talking about bleeding-edge technologies then most likely you won’t find any other content on the internet other than the documentation itself. I know it’s not the most efficient or entertaining way to explore something new but in some cases, it is the only solution.
After a new technology is released, a lot of passionate engineers will start digging and explore its capabilities and limitations. Soon after, from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, those persons will start posting about their experience with that specific technology. Of course, sometimes the post itself may not be very helpful but in most cases, you would at least get a compressed and filtered version of the documentation.
I’m the kind of guy who prefers to watch a 5 min video rather than read 5 pages and that’s why e-learning platforms suit me the best. There are several out there: Pluralsight, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and many more. Most of them are offering free trials so I suggest you to have a look and decide which one gives you the most value for the money. Be mindful that it takes up to a couple of months to create a quality video course. Also, most of them are created based on the demand so it should come to no surprise if you won’t be able to find a course on a technology that has been released a couple of days ago or it hasn’t managed to stand out from the crowd.