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Learning New Tech

by C. Ross Jam on August 12, 2017

I found Julia Evans’ take on learning new tech interesting. The short story is, do it on the job!

Right now at work I’m working a bit in Go! That is interesting and I’m happy to be doing it. But it is not so fun that I feel like spending a lot of my personal time on it. And I don’t really think it’s necessary, I learn languages by writing them, reading other people’s code to learn about conventions, and having my code reviewed. I can just do all of those things at work!

To be clear, I don’t think it’s bad to learn programming languages outside of work. I just don’t really do it.

The real key is understanding that conducting mindful, motivated, learning is actually a responsible act that provides value to the business. Sure, boning up on skills as a form of moonlighting for your next startup gig is bad form. But taking reasonable time out to read up on and internalize technologies one doesn’t have depth on is perfectly reasonable. At least in any organization worth it’s salt.

My current gig is at the moment diametrically opposed to hers. I don’t have any dev tools on my work laptop, much less do any development. So it’s challenging to learn on the job. And as opportunity allows, I’m quite happy to learn on my off time. Even so, with the plethora of vibrant open source communities out there, there’s plenty of places to follow her advice on how to learn.

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