Staying up to date

Staying  up to date as a software developer on what’s current in the software industry, is a requirement if you don’t want to become obsolete together with the technology stack you’re working  on.

By staying up to date, I just mean being aware of what relevant technologies and techniques are out there. I don’t mean mastering or even playing with them, that’s the next step.

However, with spare time being scarce and a a constant barrage of new technology hypes and trends, this can be either impossible or a serious energy drain that is no fun.

Through the years I have had different ways of managing this. A big one was listening to podcasts during commutes (.NET Rocks!, Software Engineering Radio), which completely leaves you spare time untouched.

But with podcasts not being a good option for me anymore, I switched to subscribing to good news letters with my work email, instead of my personal email.

This integrates the time spent on staying up to date in your work day. The key is the quality of the news letters, which ensures the time spent is well justified.

Because unless you are hired just to warm a seat, staying current is part of your job as a technologist.

I currently subscribe to these by email or RSS:

  • Thoughtworks’ Technology Radar –
    • Low frequency updates on trends in the industry, about every couple of months
  • InfoQ –
    • Weekly updates on developments in the industry
  • Scott Hanselman –
    • Some posts might be personal or not relevant to you, but whenever there are big developments in the .NET ecosystem, his take on them will improve your understanding of what’s happening or where things are going
  • DotNetCurry Magazine –
    • Bimonthly magazine, gives me a chance to read up on .NET related things I didn’t give a chance yet
  • MSDN Magazine –
    • Ofcourse this is all about promoting Microsoft technologies, but skimming through the magazine is enough to ensure you haven’t completely missed any major developments in the Microsoft stack
  • Pluralsight –
    • Courses take time to make, so ofcourse this lags behind, but it gives you a chance to dig a bit deeper into topics, which is sometimes necessary to see or be convinced of something’s value
    • Depending on my task, I can put this videos on in the background on a second screen, while working
  • Lobsters –
    • It’s not as overwhelming like Hacker News, it only takes a couple of minutes to skim through the home page for interesting pieces, ideal to end your lunch break
    • This allows you to get the best of other blogs and sites out there, which might not be worth subscribing to

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Staying up to date