I’ve just read Dan Davies article “It’s fun to learn” it’s a great article where he talks about how he is a self taught web developer and over the last year he has really pushed his jQuery skills building demo sites and projects. It’s a great post and well worth checking out.
While reading I was reminded about that initial fun you get when you start out learning new technologies. Like Dan I’m a self taught developer, who has picked up new skills as I’ve gone along. For me learning a new technology has recently felt like it’s something I have to do. For example as a contractor if I want to earn so much a day then I need to have a particular set of skills (not the set of skills that Liam Neeson has in Taken). Which has lead me to looking to pick up the next thing that is popular.
Really I have a lot of experience and a good set of skills, and I could easily stick with what I know, but this leads to stagnation and a feeling that you are going nowhere in your career. This takes the fun out of the job.
Dan’s post has reminded me to not learn something cause it’s popular and may increase contract opportunities, but to learn something that I find fun. And the best way to learn a new technology is to build demo sites as Dan lists in his post.
For me I’ve recently been interested in NodeJS (yes I know it is very popular at the moment, but it’s something I want to learn). As a web developer I like the web frameworks that Node supports, the one I am interested in is ExpressJS. So that’s what I’m going to start learning and have fun doing it.