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How I learn things after 10 years


When I see that people that have been in the web industry for decades still learn and want to learn new things, that amazes me. I am also learning constantly, but in a different fashion than before.

I don't have a lot of developer friends, so I occasionally end up listening to people complaining or just talking about their jobs. There are two common problems as I see it: the other person, like a boss or a colleague, or the job itself, like bad organization or just lousy job.

I rarely hear from my friends that they have to learn some new things or spend a weekend working on my side project to improve their skills.

That makes me wonder, who is the luckier one: me, who needs to learn new stuff constantly, or they, who rarely need to learn something new for their job?

I love to learn, but I want to spend less time in front of the computer as I am getting older. So if I am not able to learn new things during office hours (which I, as a remote worker, manage myself), then I usually just read some articles before I go to sleep.

I noticed that I am not trying new things as much I used to. I don't immediately jump to something new like a new framework or feature. Instead, I try to remember an article or at least the gist of it, or do a little bit of investigation and general learning, and apply the knowledge when I actually need it. If such an occasion doesn't occur, at least I didn't invest my time in something useless to me.

One thing that helps me memorize all the new things is my newsletter. I have a few hundred subscribers, but I write it primarily for me. When I read the article, I try to summarize it in one sentence before sharing it. I also try to learn more about the author, especially if the author is not in my Twitter circle. The summarized sentence and author information stuck with me longer than the plain article.

On more than one occasion, I tried to find an article, and then I remembered I shared it in my newsletter.

Before starting the newsletter, I bookmarked almost every article I read in the Pocket app. It was insane. The list was too immense, and I rarely used or searched it. As a result, many solid articles vanished from my memory, unfortunately.


I recently read Rachel Andrew's interview with Bramus, and I was impressed how Bramus still loves to learn and explore every new shiny feature in CSS. I think that is a blessing. It might be that web technologies are still just shaping, and we are doing our best to use them in their current shape. Having people like Bramus trying out the new features and writing about them, we developers could learn a lot and prepare for the exciting future.

Conclusion

My friend salesman, my other friend electrician, or my other friend teacher, their jobs are already well defined and finalized. I think we still have a long way before we could call technologies like CSS finalized. That excites me so much, but mainly during office hours.