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Let’s look at how to stay relevant as a software developer. Most software developers face the same problem on a daily basis, and it’s not always a fun one. Their skills are no longer needed or relevant in today’s global workplace, which leads to a lot of boredom and frustration for their careers.
How do we update our skillsets and stay relevant as developers in today’s workplace? It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of getting a technology certification, learning a new framework or programming language, or buying the latest gadgets. The truth is that those are just temporary solutions to the real problem – staying relevant.
1) Keep learning
In the first place, you have to stay up to date and continue learning. It’s easy to get comfortable with a technology or programming language that you have mastered, but it’s important to realize that there will always be new advances in your profession. Even if you are not interested in learning something new, it may soon become necessary.
I’m not mentioning names here because I don’t want to offend anyone, but there are some developers who seem to think that they’re never going to learn anything new again. They have a vision of themselves being trapped in the same job forever that’s an overly simplified view of reality. Many times, it’s possible to keep learning without any additional training or certification. Here and there, you might come across something that is unexpected, valuable, and useful for your career advancement. I’ve already discussed some of these here:
2) Learn by doing
Once you have started learning something new from scratch (or even the basics), you should try producing quality work on it as quickly as possible. After all, why would you spend time learning something when it’s not going to benefit you in any way?
In order to get started with a new technology or programming language, you could use a MOOC like those offered on Coursera or EdX. You may also want to take a look at the book page of my blog or some of my posts from the past year. The reason that I’m promoting these resources is that they are high quality and teach important concepts in an easy-to-learn manner.
Many developers enjoy creating their own blogs as a way of showcasing their new skills and sharing their knowledge with others.
3) Grow Your LinkedIn Network
If you’re not already on LinkedIn, now is the perfect time to make it your home page, update your profile, and add updates. In order to do this successfully, you should consider joining groups of developers that are relevant to your industry and of the same level as your skills. In addition, participate in discussions on the LinkedIn Groups and Pages that you have joined. This helps demonstrate what kind of knowledge you bring to the table or just talk about interesting things that people who work in your same field are talking about. If a discussion gets heated, simply redirect it to a more neutral topic or keep joining additional groups until a moderated forum is created for it.
Participating on LinkedIn gives human beings a chance to hear what you have to say and may bring good opportunities your way.
4) Go Outside Your Comfort Zone
Sometimes staying relevant means working with a new technology or programming language that you are uncomfortable with. In order to grow, you have to be willing to put yourself out there and build web services using APIs that you aren’t very familiar with. Sometimes it’s hard to do this because it seems easier just to stick with what you know and avoid the risk of writing bad code – but I guarantee that if you do that, it will be worse in the future when someone has to work on your legacy code or legacy project.
5) Take A Step Back
A lot of developers get into this habit of thinking that they know everything. They read blogs, check out top sites in their industry, and join support groups for developers. However, there are some developers who take a step back at times and evaluate whether they actually know what they are talking about. This can be difficult at first, but it may make your career or career goals more effective if you do it occasionally. It’s important to analyze whether you really know what you are talking about or not because if you don’t, it will trickle down to how other people rate your skillset and how much money you can get for your own projects/work.
While some of the points mentioned above may seem straightforward, many developers don’t think about them on a regular basis. Taking a step back and going outside your comfort zone can be hard at first, but with time, it will help you to grow as a professional software developer. What other things have you done to grow and stay relevant? Post your comments below!
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