November 17, 2017

How I Prioritise What To Learn

One of the reasons why I love tech is because it’s an ever-evolving industry where there’s always something new to learn. There’s always an old or shiny new concept or knowledgebase to explore. This makes it fun for me but it can also get a bit overwhelming if not managed well.

I like that at Happy Bear we have a culture of asking each other what we want to learn next for self-development. That makes it intentional for me to keep a list of things to learn and helps me weave continuous learning into my routine.

I prioritize my learning based on the client codebase I’m working on at the moment. When I worked on a codebase where VueJS was used, the VueJS doc was my bible for that period. I also learned a lot about automating your development environment on that codebase.

I learn from understanding and fixing weird bugs. When a client recently had a bug on their production environment, I learned a lot about query locks on postgresql databases.

I learn out of pure curiosity. That’s how I learned how to build Android and iOS apps. I was curious and I had the time :)

If I’m lucky, the things I’m learning on the job are on my things_to_learn list. At other times, I look through my list and pick what I want to learn about within a period of time. For instance, a few months ago, I decided that I wanted to learn more about ruby internals so I bought and started reading the Ruby Under a Microscope book on a schedule of 10 pages per week (of course, I haven’t been as consistent as I’d have loved but I’m still on it). Next on my list is digging into the core of cryptography and machine learning.

Sometimes, if I have a really chill weekend, I can just pick a concept, framework, knowledge-base, tutorial, etc. and dive into it for the weekend. My learning goals are usually geared towards avoiding the noise and digging out the substance as I believe if you understand the core technologies you can pick up any new tool used on the job.

Read more about how the rest of the team decide what to learn.