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How to stay up to date as a developer

mporam profile image Mike Oram ・3 min read

Technology

A question devs are often asked by people new to programming is how we manage to keep up with all the new technologies. Programming is one of the – if not the – fastest moving industries out there. There are so many JavaScript frameworks coming out all the time that websites like “Days Since Last JavaScript Framework” and “FapFap.js” exist just to poke fun at the situation.

With new libraries, frameworks and even languages appearing all the time, how can one ever hope to keep up, let alone start to learn them all?! I have to admit, I’m glad I started programming over ten years ago, before things started moving quite so quickly. I’m sure it seems like an impossible task these days. Don’t worry, it’s not!

The main thing that people new to the industry should understand is that although there really are new things coming out everyday, most of them are the same underneath. Libraries and frameworks follow the same general principles regardless of language. Learn those using one language, and you will find it relatively easy to pick up the others. After all, every library or framework out there has to follow the same rules as the language it’s built on. If you understand those rules, you’re well on your way. This is why, at Mayden Academy, we don’t introduce frameworks in any language to our students until they have studied at least one module including a complete project build in that language.

The next really important thing to remember is that you don’t have to keep up with everything all the time. All programmers know and appreciate the struggle of having too many new things to learn all the time. Most developers choose a few technologies and languages that interest them and focus on just keeping up to date with those. That alone is not enough though. And here’s the important part: we share that information with each other.

Programmers are truly exemplary in the way that they freely share information with each other. I have never experienced a community that is not just willing, but which actively tries to share knowledge the way the development community does. Research conducted by TechNation in 2016 showed that over 5,000 people regularly attend meet-ups in the Bath and Bristol area. If meetups are not your thing, companies like Mayden, Edo and Seccl (our hiring partners) run all sorts of internal events to help their developers stay up to date, from hack-days to developer lunches to Monday morning code wars. Employers are increasingly recognising that they need to dedicate some of their developers’ time to training
and keeping up to date.

I recognise that most people who read this blog aren’t yet working as developers though. So where do you start? Below I’ve listed a collection of blogs, meetups and chat channels that I strongly recommend you spend some time on. No doubt they’ll help you as they do me.

Chats:
http://bathjs.club/

Meetups:
http://www.meetup.com/BathCamp/
https://www.meetup.com/php-sw/
https://www.meetup.com/Bristol-PHP-Training/
https://www.meetup.com/bristech/

Women’s meetups:
https://www.meetup.com/Womens-Tech-Hub-Bristol/
http://www.itgirls.com/

Blogs:
https://maydenacademy.co.uk/blog/ (obviously)
https://davidwalsh.name/
https://blog.codinghorror.com/
https://akrabat.com/
https://www.smashingmagazine.com/

Discussion

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lyon profile image
Lyon

Thank you for writing this. Very encouraging.

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mporam profile image
Mike Oram Author

Your welcome! :) glad to help!