Saturday, 13 February 2010

Ways to improve technical skills

It's nearly the end of my first week as a blogger. Already I'm feeling the benefits of finally getting round to starting up my blog. It got me thinking about what the best ways are to continue developing your skills and learning new things.

For me, there are 3 particular ways that I find are invaluable if you want to keep yourself on your toes technically:
  1. Learn by doing - often you learn my making mistakes. Want to know what LINQ is all about? What can SQL CLR do for you? Hit those syntax errors then fix them. Think it's not performing well? Investigate, find out why, look for alternatives. Just try it out - play around.
  2. Learn by participating - I'm a StackOverflow enthusiast. Before that I spent years on another similar site (the one with the unfortunate name and conveniently placed hypen). Why? Because seeing what problems other people are encountering and helping them to find a solution is a great way to broaden your technical horizons. You'll often find there are other ways to go about things that you may not have thought about, but which other people suggest.
  3. Learn by sharing - Now I'm a blogger, and already finding that a great benefit. It gives me the drive to investigate areas I find interesting. Being able to understand something is one thing; being able to share it in a way that makes sense and provides value to others is another. It's a learning curve and I'll be feeling my way for some time.

Of course there are books, blogs, webinars, converences and other online references that are extremely valuable resources for learning and the above list by no means overshadows these. The DevDays London conference opened my eyes to new areas and as per an earlier blog post, I'm expecting great things from QCon London. My intention is to feed back into this pool of resources with this blog.

I encourage any feedback as it will only improve the content I produce. In return, I will promise to try and keep bad jokes to a minimum. Although in my experience, telling bad jokes is part and parcel of being a software developer.

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