Keeping Up With the News As a Software Engineer
Technologies are constantly shifting and evolving around us, bringing unique opportunities and challenges along the way. These movements can be easily missed in the mass of software news if you aren’t watching for them–with bad results down the line as you scramble to keep up.
On the other hand, we live in an age of information, not all of which is needed or necessary for our work. How can you stay on top of the important news and updates in the software world, yet still filter through the noise and maintain sanity?
Here are our top four suggestions:
- Study and follow thought leaders
- Read books and articles
- Create pet projects
These may be all very well and good at first glance. Implementing them into day-to-day life can be quite another story. Let’s break them down one by one.
Studying and Following Thought Leaders
It can be tempting to create, follow and stick to your own working processes. By doing so, you obtain working results under parameters that you understand. This is also the way ruts are formed and ideas slip away.
Have you looked at what the thought leaders in the software industry have been writing and posting across the web? Have you collected ideas from their social media and blogs? What are the trends they value and the new ideas they espouse? Consider taking some time and making a selection of software industry leaders to follow and read.
Reading books and articles
Many social media and blog posts are short, fast reads. They also tend to be written for the Internet, making their content rather like a short infomercial on television. For more analytical, substantial content, consider online magazines and books.
Because of the time needed to create these pieces of content, by nature they will be more detailed and better researched than the usual blog article. The corresponding drawback is that in a fast-moving industry, books and magazines can go out of date. However, this does not negate the ‘evergreen’ and classic books.
In addition, independent book publishing is a broadening field. Books are able to be pushed online at speeds that were not possible until recently. New titles and topics are accessible on an ongoing basis. Take this opportunity to broaden your horizons!
It’s been said before and it will be said again, but networking is essential, particularly for keeping on top of software news. As you mix and mingle with others, you will learn what they talk about in the software industry and what they value.
This is also a good time to learn what your immediate peers and competitors say. It is also possible at times to find out how they are performing at that moment in time–always good information to have.
If the typical networking event isn’t a favorite place of yours, try out a lecture series or co-working space. You’ll find many of the same people and still make connections, just in a different way. Or if you have a group of friends, schedule a meeting every month or so and swap ideas. You may be surprised what comes out of that focused time together.
Creating pet projects
It’s one thing to study the theory of a new development or process. It’s quite another to actually work within it, particularly on a deadline. Why not test drive the new ideas you have collected before a need arises?
This is where pet projects come in. They are a great way to expand your professional knowledge, explore new ideas and see what works in real-time before you really need to use it in a professional sense. And it can be a surprisingly rewarding hobby!
If you aren’t growing and expanding your professional skills in the competitive software world, you are running a risk of becoming irrelevant. Though keeping up with the software news may seem like a daunting task, its importance should not be underestimated. Why not choose one method to try out today?