August 24, 2019 Self Help, Technology

5 Tips to Help You Pick Up New Technologies as a Developer

With all these new and shiny frameworks and technologies, I have found myself struggling to stick to learning one technology/framework. It feels like every 6 months some new cutting edge technology arises out of the dust touting that is superior compared to all the other tech out there. As of now, I am working on learning C++ to get involved in competitive programming and I am starting off with Codecademy but not planning to spend too much time on the platform (I’ll talk about why below.)

Sometimes though, learning new technology is essential to learn new and relevant skills for the job market, and I have some strategies that have worked for me.

1. Read the documentation.

Most of your answers will be in the documentation if it is properly maintained and you should start there. If you can’t find your answers in the docs, there are usually other developers struggling with the same issues. Google and Stack Overflow are your friends :-). There are some exceptions to this rule since the maintainers of these new technologies do not always have the proper documentation.

2. Learn just enough to get by.

This is a crucial step that I have overlooked when I start out with new technology. This usually happens because I was not as confident in the new language or technology leading me to avoid things that were unfamiliar and scary. I have often caught myself in tutorial purgatory where I spend so much time watching tutorial videos, usually bored and only able to build a todo app. While it is oddly satisfying to build a todo list because you’re building something actually works, it is the only thing you know how to build. Don’t stay in tutorial purgatory, move onwards once you have learned enough.

3. Don’t learn how to build apps, learn the fundamentals of the technology. What’s going on behind the scenes?

For example, if you’re building a todo application, learn what the 4 core operations are on the database. Focus on how to structure your code. Focus on how to retrieve data, modify data, and create new entries in your database. Learn the skills that application-agnostic. These will be the skills that are valuable for all future projects.

4. Document your journey using version control.

You will definitely thank me later for this. As your application grows and becomes more complex you may forget exactly how you made it work. Keeping your application under version control will allow you to have the documentation to know how you made things work. One quick note, you should try and keep your commits modular. This helps in keeping your changes clean and detangle-able in the future. Also when you build similar apps that you have done before, you can see the history that you may not remember off the top of your head.

5. Don’t be scared of failing! ????

This has happened to me before where I am experimenting with new technologies and I don’t want to keep adding functionality because I am scared of breaking my app. My best advice is to not play it safe and have fun. Create a plan of what you want to build and go for it. Keep it on version control and build incrementally. Your personal projects are not meant for you to play it safe. They’re meant for you to experiment and have fun!

Thank you so much for reading this post and if you have any suggestions for the upcoming week, drop it in the comments section. If you enjoyed reading this, share my page with a friend since I post regularly on technology and business topics.