How do you stay involved?

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16 Replies - 3099 Views - Last Post: 01 September 2010 - 12:17 PM

#1 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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How do you stay involved?

Posted 26 August 2010 - 01:37 AM

One of the most important questions that I ask new-hires in the interview process is How do you stay involved?.

How do you stay involved?
How do you keep uptodate?
What publications do you read?
What shows or programs do you watch?

Every year I attend a few annual conventions.

Cuyahoga Falls Hamfest & Computer Expo
notacon
Fort Wayne Indiana Hamfest & Computer Expo

& this year I got to attend Hope in New York City.

On top of this I get to see the latest Viruses & Mal ware as they are released, & infected items come into my shop. I learn background working of Operating Systems & security software at the previously mentioned festivals to learn how to either combat or prevent malicious software &/or configuration issues in the Windows Operating System as well as usage of alternative Operating Systems & softwares.

It's important to understand what we know & how we learned it, getting us to where we are today. Because if you stop learning for too long, you'll find that technology has passed you by & it's much harder to catch back up with current trends than to just stay afloat & stay informed.

& that's really the purpose of this topic is to share not only the information but how we're learning it, how were evolving, & how we're staying informed so we can all learn at a broader pace.

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Replies To: How do you stay involved?

#2 Splatocaster  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 26 August 2010 - 07:01 AM

I strongly believe that the broader your education in programming, the better. First of all, you never know what project will end up in your hands. You never know what API you will have to use, or what language you might have to use. I have had customers request that their program be written in a particular language, and the source included. You can only fill these requests if you have a broad knowledge base.

When I don't have a project, I like to follow the 52 weeks of code and play around with the week's challenge. Or if there is a certain API that I have heard about but don't know too much about, I try to learn the basics of it. Don't shy away from languages or APIs because of inexperience. Knowledge is power - and that saying applies tremendously to programming.
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#3 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 26 August 2010 - 08:24 AM

RSS feeds, mostly.
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#4 moopet  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 26 August 2010 - 11:08 AM

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Staying involved is easy when you find programming issues fascinating. I surf. If I find something someone says in a thread that I don't know, I look it up, and then I find links to other things and then the whole evening has gone by and I haven't noticed - and I've bookmarked ten more topics to read up on.

Oh, and I work. If work doesn't challenge you to learn new things, it's time to move on!
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#5 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 26 August 2010 - 06:28 PM

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Mainly DIC. Researching and answering questions has really helped me develop as a Java developer, as well as just interacting and participating in discussions with others. I would have never known about FP alternatives were it not for Raynes, and I've really expanded my understanding of development.

My internship was also really helpful in exposing me to the Android platform, and my side job has helped me pick up the Java DnD API.

And I guess class forced me to pick up PHP.
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#6 Autocrat  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 27 August 2010 - 06:34 AM

I am signed up for Insidetech. Their newsletters are good enough to keep you up to date.
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#7 Kilorn  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 27 August 2010 - 06:51 AM

I'd definitely have to agree with the nerd on this one, helping people solve their problems has really helped me to learn more and want to better myself even further.

I find another great way to keep the skills sharp is to regularly give yourself a performance evaluation. Granted this isn't a formal evaluation or anything, it's just something that I do mentally to see which areas I've improved upon over the past few months and which areas are still weak spots for me. Once I realize that there are some areas that I've still got a lot of learning to do, I push myself to research and learn as much as I can about that area. I think the key to progression in programming as well as life is to challenge yourself. If you get comfortable with your skill level, then you've gotten yourself into a rut where you feel that you don't need to work to be better at what you're doing. Constantly driving yourself is a great way to keep motivated and to stay involved.
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#8 PhunkRabbit  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 27 August 2010 - 06:55 AM

Blogs, forums and personal projects.

I always have a long term project going for personal development, designed to challenge myself.

I read alot of blogs, things like smashing, nettuts, web designer depot etc.

As long as you have a genuine interest and can bring yourself to learn and read rather than grab an hour on the playstation then you shouldnt have a problem staying upto date in your area.
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#9 Ahmedn1  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 28 August 2010 - 06:30 AM

for me, my sources to keep up-to-date are:
- tech blogs
- forums like DIC
- helping people as you said make me search for new things
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#10 slickhare  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 28 August 2010 - 07:30 PM

Could you all provide links to any web-based resources that you use to remain in the loop? I'm curious to see what other programmers read/find credible.
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#11 Mike007  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 29 August 2010 - 11:45 PM

View Postslickhare, on 28 August 2010 - 06:30 PM, said:

Could you all provide links to any web-based resources that you use to remain in the loop? I'm curious to see what other programmers read/find credible.


I second that notion.

I will start, I read cnet.com and engadget.com. But these are less developer specific, I would love to hear about some credible sources written by programmers for programmers.

I also find writing about things that have not yet been documented or poorly documented a good way to learn. It never seizes to amaze me how the things that seem like they should have an easy and well documented solution do not always have one yet.

Finally, one thing a lot of you forgot to mention is staying updated by talking to people! That is one of the best ways to make sure you don't miss too much. So try putting down that mp3 player every now and then and hearing what people have to say :).
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#12 Craig328  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 30 August 2010 - 09:06 AM

I've made a habit of surfing a variety of work-related sites, blogs and forums whenever I need a break from coding during the day. Sometimes you just need to give yer brain a break from the mental gymnastics of coding and sit back and see how others have tackled similar problems. I got involved here at DIC in the CF forums as it appeared that there were quite few beginners asking questions and not all that many experienced folk answering them. In researching answers to those folk I've either discovered new stuff I didn't know (an embarrassing amount) or rediscovered things I used to know but had forgotten (an equally embarrassing amount).

By keeping the surfing to work related stuff I ensure that I keep up on stuff...and that I have a job as a reason for keeping up on stuff. :)
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#13 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 30 August 2010 - 09:32 AM

Programming and tech blogs, podcasts, books, and most importantly this place!

I have found that there is no better teaching tool then to write an example for someone else. Especially if you don't know off the top of your head and have to do some research, experimentation, etc...
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#14 Kilorn  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 30 August 2010 - 09:40 AM

I agree with you wholeheartedly, KYA. I've learned more from helping other people on this site than from any single book I've ever read.
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#15 SarumanTheWhite  Icon User is offline

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Re: How do you stay involved?

Posted 30 August 2010 - 10:39 AM

Damn, I haven't been to a Hamfest in ages. I need to check the local schedule down where I am to see when's the next one. That's pretty much the only thing I get involved with normally, I'm not much of a participator. As for keeping up to date on things, I get most of my news and crap from some of the forums I read.
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