Do you feel adequately skilled in the market as a software developer? Do you get lost in conversations about tech outside of your work and wonder if you are staying relevant? If your answer to these questions are Yes, you are not alone!
The software development world has one constant, and that is change!
New programming languages, tools, frameworks, environments, devices are all born regularly. By the time you master one framework, your friend is talking about a cool new framework. What is the strategy to stay relevant and skill up as a software developer?
I like to start off by sharing some of my personal experiences as a developer.
Note: You can follow me on twitter @AdhithiRavi to learn more about me and keep in touch!
Don’t Live in a Bubble
When we begin our careers we are enthusiastic and all pumped up to be great. As the years pass by, we get older, get married, kids arrive, and our career just becomes a job that feeds the family. This is the cycle for most of us in any career path. It is not necessarily bad, but being a software developer, also means that tech changes and we have to skill up and stay relevant.
Don’t get sucked up within your company, over-work and miss opportunities outside of it.
There are exciting opportunities and people outside of just the company that we work for and the first step is to recognize that. It is easy to get caught up in a bubble within a company and sometimes just stepping out of the bubble and seeing what’s around can be enlightening.
Don’t Learn Every New Framework
To stay relevant in the software development market, you don’t have to learn every new language/framework/tools. This would make you good at none of them.
You can’t be a React developer, an Angular developer and be really good at Vue.
For example you cant be great at playing every musical instrument (although there are some exceptionally talented musicians who can do that), you instead pick one and master it. The same analogy applies to tech as well.
Pick a language, framework and toolset that works for you, your team and the product after comparing with what else is available in the development world. If this tech stack works well, go with it. At this point, you don’t need to panic every time a new idea or tech is born.
For example, if you are building React apps and it is working great for you and your clients, there is no need to jump ship to another framework unless you have a valid reason to.
Pick your tech stack and master it!
I am not discouraging developers from learning and exploring new frameworks and technologies, but I am saying that we don’t have to learn every new framework that comes our way. This is a huge investment in time and may not be worth it. Don’t feel lost or left out if someone talks about a cool new technology you aren’t using. You don’t need to use it right away!
Meetups and Conferences
When you learn in isolation you may loose track of your learning and goals. Learning in public is a very important consideration for a modern software developer. Tech meetups and conferences are organized frequently around the globe. If you are interested in a certain technology, look for meetups in your area where other developers gather to speak and learn about it. This is a great way for you to meet other like minded developers and share knowledge.
If there is a topic you would like to share, speak at the local meetup about it. Once you start getting the hang of meetups, you can try larger conferences and apply to speak there as well. This helps you in learning a ton within a short span and also make connections with other developers in the industry. This is a definite win-win for skilling up and staying relevant.
Open Source Contributions
Another way to skill up and stay relevant as a software developer is to get into open-source coding. There are plenty of cool open-source projects that need contributors. You can start with providing some help in fixing bugs, documentation and so on and move up to creating new features. This helps you learn outside of your daily work and get in touch with developers across the world and learn from them as well.
Open source contributions make your developer profile stand out while you are looking for a job.
So next time you have a free hour, try to fix an open issue, and submit a pull request to an open-source project. Once you get a hang of it, you keep doing it!
Alright folks, that’s a wrap.
I hope you enjoyed this article and some of the suggestions I shared to skill up as a developer. See you again with more articles. If you liked this post, don’t forget to share it with your network. You can follow me on twitter @AdhithiRavi for more updates.
If you are a software developer and are in the path of learning, there are numerous awesome courses available at Code With Mosh. The courses are arranged based on learning paths and you can explore technologies of your choice.
I like to leave you with a quote.
“Excellence is not a skill, it is an attitude.” – Ralph Marston