DEV Community

Cover image for Overcoming Skill Plateaus: How Do You Keep Growing?
Ben Halpern for CodeNewbie

Posted on

Overcoming Skill Plateaus: How Do You Keep Growing?

Hey folks! Ever hit a plateau in your technical skills and felt a bit stuck? Fear not, because we're here to help each other break through those barriers.

What are some effective methods you've found for continuous improvement? Are you experimenting with side projects, joining online communities, attending conferences, or diving into new learning resources? Share you experiences and insights so we can uncover the secrets to keeping our technical skills on the rise and pushing past those plateaus!

Follow the CodeNewbie Org and #codenewbie for more discussions and online camaraderie!

Top comments (10)

spiderpig86 profile image
Stanley Lim

One of the best things to do is getting your hands dirty with a new tech stack or domain you found interest in. You can always follow a tutorial or read about something, but the learning you get doesn't tend to stick as well -- at least it doesn't for me.

For instance, if you wanted to learn about how Redis works, you can try building some rudimentary version. You can look at what APIs it supports and implement it yourself. From there, there's a lot of different things you can expand upon such as adding more complex APIs (good list to start to see if anything piques your interest), security, loading testing (think about frameworks like k6), etc.

Caveat is that you will need some knowledge on it, so read as much as you need to. But a lot of the learning will come from applying it.

maurerkrisztian profile image
Krisztián Maurer

When it comes to how I learn, I find side projects really helpful. I also like reading books and blog posts, especially ones that have timeless information. YouTube videos are also good, but lately I use them less and less. Lately, I've been listening to the "Working Code Podcast" it's a fun and relatable podcast. If I have the time, I try to attend conferences too. Another way I learn is by looking at open source projects created by more experienced developers. And when I write blog posts, it helps me deepen my knowledge and sometimes I get some rewarding feedback, which is keep me motivated.

ruthmoog profile image

true! conferences are an excellent way to discover something new, I like to blog about my favourite conf talks for the same reason.

lucas_montano_8dcc57210c7 profile image
Lucas Montano • Edited

Always Be Closing… a Side Project

It doesn’t matter that you are reading about a new cool framework or new language, doing that won’t bring you results. What matters is that you find something that motivates you to write some real code, like a side-project.

Let’s say you are already following this path and you have created 34 side-projects, congratulations but now remember to close / deliver at least one.

I don’t wanna see your GitHub Repositories of TODO List apps, I wanna see you brand new published app in production!!

  • the final 20% of a project you bring you the 80% of real experience in that stack 🔥
ruthmoog profile image

Joining a tech book club is a great way to incentivise you to learn something new (and actually read the book that's been on your shelf for 5 yrs), plus getting the opportunity to articulate what you learned in discussions deepens understanding, and you'll get a deeper understanding of the book content from your peers' comments.

I find sometimes that going back to basics helps - because you identify knowledge gaps, better understand topics you found difficult the first time and, if nothing else it's a good measure if you know it already. 😅

erinao profile image
Erin A Olinick

Great tips! Do you have any book recs you could share?

ruthmoog profile image

I've been enjoying Grokking Algorithms by Bhargava recently, these ones are great too:

  • Growing Object Oriented Software - Price, Freeman
  • Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby - Metz
  • Test-Driven Development By Example - Beck

and I have to proudly recommend the free ebook Learn Go With Tests by @quii, which I contributed to a little!

Thread Thread
ruthmoog profile image

Have you found any good books you can recommend @erinao ?

billernet profile image

More recently, I find ChatGPT a good way of jumping into something completely new. Normally it gives me enough to get started, and the ability to ask it to clarify is very useful. Obviously this excludes tech created/updated after September 2021, but it still is handy for guidance. Once I get started on something it then just flows from there.

shayd16 profile image
Shayne Darren

My answer is a bit different from the others who've answered so far in the sense that I 'm to address overcoming skill plateaus within a skill you already have.
For example, once you've worked with React(or any langueage/framework/library/pattern) for a year or two, you would have the skills to create any application somebody asks you to. This might make you complacent when it comes to improving your react skills. How you overcome this plateau is by throwing yourself new challenges for the same problem.
For example, after you've mastered basic react using a todo app, the next level of the challenge could be 'how do I optimise this to have the least amount of renders possible'.

Basically, you create a new non-functional challenge, that will force you to rethink the things you already know and learn new tricks that you wouldn't. Imo, Performance is by far the best challenger, however depending on what you're tring to improve this may change.