Technology is advancing at a faster pace today than it ever has before. Driving these changes are consistent innovations in software engineering. Because of these innovations, over the past 10 years, there has been an explosion of advances in devices like smartphones, tablets, and wearable technology. The speed of change has expanded what it means to be a software engineer. New fields, techniques, and concepts have emerged as a result. Just in the past few years, we have seen concepts such as

  • Big Data

  • Cloud Computing

  • DevOps

  • Internet of Things

  • Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

become high in demand in a field that is struggling to keep up with its own growth. The tech industry is in a period of accelerating change and it is more important than ever that we, as software engineers, continue to expand our knowledge and development.

How to Avoid Being Left Behind

Being complacent even for short periods of time can leave you with a feeling of being left behind. Staying focused for too long on only a particular tech stack can leave you with limited options a few years down the road if you find yourself looking for a new position in the industry. This is not an unlikely scenario as the tech industry has the highest turnover rate of any sector. If you want to keep up, it is important to become familiar with a number of tech stacks and to stay engaged with the community. I’ve found that building some simple habits and dedicating a small amount of time each day to exposing yourself to new ideas, technologies, and processes can keep your mind sharp and ready to implement the proper solutions that will fit the needs of your customer or company. I take half an hour in the morning to read a couple of blog posts, watch a lecture, or practice computer science algorithms and patterns. Taking the time in the morning is a good way to warm your mind up for the day ahead and to also keep you “in the know” regarding different technical solutions and patterns. At the end of my day, I will again take another half hour or so to finish up or continue any readings or lectures from the morning. It is a nice way to decompress and transition out of the headspace I have been in all day for work. You won’t become an expert on these topics, but you will have knowledge of their uses and will be able to better recognize when the techniques or tools may be a viable solution for a particular problem space you may encounter.

Personal Recommendations

Listed below are some of the resources I use to stay connected in the technology community. These help me to keep learning new topics and to shore up my understanding and vocabulary of topics I am already familiar with.

  • Meetup: Meetup is a great way to stay involved in your local tech community. There are a number of different technical lectures, hackathons, and networking events that you can attend. Of course, depending on where you live, you may have a smaller amount of options available to you. If that’s the case, you can start your own group and build a community from scratch!

  • Medium: You can sign up at Medium for a daily email and receive recommended blog posts and technical writings. These vary from specific technical skills to broad technical topics.

  • LeetCode / HackerRank: These sites provide hundreds of computer science-based questions. Practicing these can keep your fundamentals sharp when it comes to algorithms and data structures. These are also quite popular during technical interviews as well, so being familiar with these types of questions can give you a leg up on the competition when job hunting.

  • A Cloud Guru: This group puts out brief weekly video blogs that discuss any new features of both Azure and AWS that have been implemented that week. A great resource if you are working with Amazon’s or Microsoft’s cloud computing services.

  • GOTO Conferences: There are a number of lectures available to view from the different GOTO conferences that are held each year. A majority of these lectures are well polished introductions to different topics in software engineering from microservices to devops to serverless.

  • Reddit: While I don’t use Reddit every day as a source of information, there are useful subreddits that can provide great insight into different topics. Subscribing to these can inject the occasional pop of knowledge into a feed that may contain other non-productive, yet quite entertaining subreddits (I’m looking at you r/freefolk). A few of these that I subscribe to are:

  • Nuvalence: And finally, of course, here at Nuvalence, we are dedicated to giving you our thoughts and learnings based on real-world scenarios that we face every day building digital platforms with modern technology. Stay tuned to this space for a steady stream of content from engineers as we help build the digital future at both startups and large-scale companies alike.

While this post outlines *my* habits and resources, I’d be curious to know what the broader community does to keep up. What’s your approach? What do you read regularly, or whatever other resources do you leverage?

Feel free to leave comments!