Over the years, I have always been searching to learn more. I remember when I discovered HN years ago now. The world just made so much more sense. Out of a sudden, I had a goal, I was excited by so much knowledge, by the potential that software engineering had. I discovered people outside my extended social circle that I wanted to be like. Remote mentors that I never met. It gave me so much motivation to learn and be better.
This post is about the easiest way to kick-start being better. That recipe is simple as it requires only time and can be started now (yes right now).
Be interested in everything
These 4 words are pretty powerful and have a very important meaning. For me, it is really a way of living, that has lots of implications in every part of my life even outside our tech world(bubble). If you were to ask my partner, you would be told that even though I am socially awkward and an introvert, I get so interested in everybody, in what they do, how they think, how their work functions, what drove them to make a specific decision,… That I am seen as nice. Maybe my social awkwardness makes me create some kind of social algorithm in my mind that I resort to when expected to small talk, but hey I am seriously interested.
But in the tech world, it means getting excited by everything and to get exposed to everything. Your definition of everything can be tweaked a little yes, but the main goal is to be open and to broaden your mind. Being open gives you the power to train your mind to think outside the box. It allows you to evaluate new technologies, new frameworks, new languages, new paradigms with learning as your main goal.
Going further than what your day job requires of you
This doesn't mean that your day job sucks. It just means that you should try to expand your horizon to not only help you during your day job but also in your career. Don't forget the fun in this as well, what brought you to be a software engineer. The fun of creating.
This subject is pretty opinionated. But I think it is important. As a developer, I'll want to work with you if you are at the top of your game. If you want to learn from me and if I have something to learn from you. The saying work smarter not harder is important here. I believe the people you work with make a big difference in the speed at which you learn and at making your work environment dynamic. Making you as a team be more efficient and successful.
How I do it
One word: Really Simple Syndication
Yes, it is that simple. If you have one thing to keep from this whole post, it is this section. Like your editor, like your nice command line aliases or like your nice dotfiles, we, as developers, love our tools. We spend so much time finding the perfect programming font, tweaking the colors of our terminal, getting the best mechanical keyboard and so on. So why not use the best tools to get on top of new stuff happening all around us. Here, I am talking about feed aggregators. Back in the days, there was the now defunct Google Reader. Now there is a lot of choices. My favorite is http://newsblur.com/. But feel free to try different ones to find the one that fits your life the best, maybe a command line based one would fit you better http://newsbeuter.org/.
The top feeds
Now that you have your Feed reader ready, it is time to add some feeds to it. The following are just the best feeds to get you started.
- Hacker News RSS - http://hnrss.org/
This is a priceless tool, it allows you to create filters on top of the fire hose that is HN. For example, I use it to filter posts that have 10 votes or higher.
- Engineering Blogs - https://github.com/kilimchoi/engineering-blogs
This repository regroups the dev blogs of lots of tech companies in the firm of an opml file that can be imported in your feed reader.
- O'Reilly Awesome daily 4 short links - https://www.oreilly.com/feed/four-short-links
I am always amazed by the quality of those 4 links by https://twitter.com/gnat.