Keep Up with Changing Technology by Making Learning a Priority
As we carry out our various roles in specifying, developing, testing, and delivering software, we are all confronted with the challenge of keeping pace with rapidly changing technology. As the adage goes, the only thing constant is change.
In most organizations, there’s a constant adoption or integration of new technology, with the goal of remaining competitive. This includes both the technology in the product and the technology used to develop, test, and deploy the product. But there are so many new platforms and methods being created every day that it’s just about impossible to keep up with them all.
On the product side, this includes service virtualization and microservices, containers, the Internet of Things, big data, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality. From the product development perspective, we have classic and newly developed programming languages, different testing approaches and automation, and widely used commercial or open source application lifecycle management tools.
No one can be an expert in everything, and obviously, you don’t need to know everything about all development and testing infrastructures. Your specific knowledge requirements will be driven by your industry and technology passions and your future technical and career interests.
So, how do you keep up? The first challenge—and it can be a difficult one—is to accept that change is the constant and to embrace it. From there, it’s up to you to make the effort to adopt those changes.
Here are some tips that have helped me stay current with changing technology over the last few decades.
- Have a learning plan and knowledge acquisition approach. How do you learn best? What steps will you commit to in order to absorb something new and relevant every day? What are your knowledge sources? How much time will you set aside for learning and applying new skills?
- Develop a constant attitude of learning. Put time on your calendar if necessary.
- Strive to be a voracious reader of blogs, technology newsfeeds, and LinkedIn groups, and follow those you respect on Twitter.
- Attend events, web seminars, training classes, conferences, local user groups, meetups, and boot camps that will further your knowledge and help you make new connections.
- Consider technology, methodology, and tool-learning tracks and certifications.
- At the team leader level, create a team culture of sharing knowledge and educating one another. Allow time for individual and team learning, and capitalize on failures as learning opportunities.
- Contribute to your profession by offering some mentoring, coaching, and training in order to transfer your own knowledge to others. One of the best ways to demonstrate that you have mastered a new skill is to teach it to someone else.
Time is at the heart of realizing your plan, so make continuous learning a priority. Keeping up with the rapid change in technology is critical to your organization and your future.