Never Stop Learning!

“It’s easy to sit there and say you’d like to have more money. And I guess that’s what I like about it. It’s easy. Just sitting there, rocking back and forth, wanting that money.” — Jack Handey

I love Jack Handey, and you know what else I love? Knowledge. Learning. Experimenting. Successes and failure both. I think it’s easy in this industry, for one to rest on his/her laurels, and not seek out any information on items outside of their immediate scope of work. I interview a lot of candidates that, when asked why they’re looking to leave their current job, or what they’re looking for in their next job, they say they’d like more opportunities to learn.

I like to think that the bulk of people in this line of work are hungry to learn, but don’t necessarily know how to, so I thought I would write up a quick entry with some of my most commonly used resources. Outside of this list, don’t be afraid to ask content experts if you know any, whether they be coworkers, people on IRC, message forums, StackOverflow, or wherever. I myself know a ton of stuff, and yet not anywhere near everything, or even near “enough”, and find myself asking coworkers questions and learning from them all the time, because they either have knowledge in other areas I haven’t yet explored, or have a different perspective in areas that I have.

That all being said, here’s my goto list of resources for continuing education, in no particular order:

All of these are excellent resources, either as reference material, or as blogs by authors that really know their stuff. What’s that, you say? YouTube isn’t a blog/reference site? Oh, that’s right. See, the thing about YouTube is this… All of these other sites require reading (the Javascript Weekly link is a great service to sign up for, which sends you a digest once per week, to your inbox, with some of the week’s highlights in the world of javascript, to help filter out all of the noise the internet can sometimes throw at you). If you’re anything like me, you don’t have a huge amount of time for reading, between work and family and projects and life in general. I’ve found YouTube to be an invaluable resource in that I can look up a tech talk of some kind and let it play in another tab while I work throughout the day. A lot of times, you can just listen to those things and glean a lot of information from them without having to actually be glued to the screen watching the presentation. The ones that do have more visual aspects to them, you can simply put off for some other time when you have the bandwidth to give them the attention they may need.

This is just a place to start, if you’re not sure of where to start. There’s a ton of information out there, waiting for you to find it, so go out there and read, play, break things, fix them, find the answers, don’t ever be comfortable with where you are in your ongoing education. Don’t ever stagnate. If you feel like you’ve learned all you can, go out there and look for more! If you really want to learn, you’ll have to make the time.

“It’s easy to sit there and say you’d like to have more knowledge and experience. And I guess that’s what I like about it. It’s easy. Just sitting there, clicking back and forth, wanting that knowledge.” — Richard Lindsey

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