Perpetual Learning Talk

Published on Jun 04, 2016

I was asked by my good friends at Houston’s Iron Yard campus to be a guest speaker. When deciding on a topic, I landed on giving a talk about how their learning will never stop. Obviously learning and teaching are subjects near and dear to my heart.

Learning can't stop. Won't stop.

As a developer, we live in in a world where we have to know a lot in order to deliver great software. We have to know about business, design, security, databases, operations, frameworks, project management, and of course, programming. Each of these areas people can spend their entire life studying and never quite mastering. So the idea that you can master any one of them much less all of them is insane.

We also live in a world where the rapid advances in technology make it not only impossible to stay up to date, but often make the knowledge we just gained have a finite shelf life.

But have no fear! We don’t have to know it all to be a great developer. We just have to be more discerning on what we learn and improve the speed in which we do learn. Learning, like programming, is a skill so we can get better at it.

In the talk, I cover some basic tips and techniques for speeding up your learning. I also covered how to stay focused, encouraged, and not get overwhelmed.

Here are the high level tips and techniques:

  • Learn enough to be well versed

    • Read on the subject
    • Listen to talks on the subject
    • Make friends with experts
  • Learn the basics in order to be productive

    • Embrace the magic
  • Learn when to catch the wave

    • Follow thought leaders
    • Monitor mindshare
  • You don’t have to move on
  • Practice, Practice, Practice

    • Side projects
    • Katas
  • Sample technologies for exposure
  • Deep dive into technologies for mastery
  • Learn with others

    • Attend meet ups
    • Pair program
    • Hackathons and Code Nights
  • Teach others

    • Speak at meet ups
    • Write blog posts
    • Record screencasts
    • Make a cheatsheet
  • Break it down

    • Use Pomodoros
    • Make a list
    • Flash Cards
  • Track your progress

    • Keep a journal
    • Keep your lists
  • Everyone started out not knowing

    • Simply start
  • No one is the best at everything

    • Admit you don’t know
    • Ask questions
    • Accept help
  • This isn’t a death sentence

    • Take a break

Want the slides? Check them out...

Feedback wanted!

Do you think that it is a good presentation to keep giving? How can I make the presentation better?