Small Talk Episode 2: Staying Current in Software Development
Our Intertech Small Talk series dishes out questions around a current software development topic to a group of our Developers and then hands them the mic to share their opinions, thoughts, or whatever else comes to mind. Have a topic you’d like them to tackle? Comment below and we’ll queue it up.
This episode will focus on staying current in software development. With rapid changes in technology what are the top ways to stay on top of your game? Who are trusted experts to follow and what side projects keeps us fresh? How about you? Chime in below in the comments to share your thoughts.
What are the top ways you stay up to date in software development?
I’ve been doing a lot of Udemy courses in the past year and a half. The courses are cheap but in depth and challenging. I highly recommend Maximillian Schwarzmuller courses. I also peruse Twitter and Medium for the latest on Angular news.
I find InfoQ to be a good source of information in a format that works well for me. Also just keeping my ears open to what my colleagues are doing at the Intertech office is a great way to keep my finger on the pulse of what is real for our customers.
I try to get software development content mixed into my “news” feeds. When something new or interesting catches my eye I usually dig into it more. If after some digging I find the technology interesting and I can find a “hello world” tutorial, I’ll usually give it a shot.
Conversation. While there are a virtually unlimited amount of resources on the web for staying up to date with software development practices and technologies, I find that I learn and retain much more from speaking with colleagues and friends in the industry. Sometimes they are utilizing a tech stack built on tools that I have not yet heard of in which case I now get a whole new basis to do my own research. It can be hard to look something up if you don’t know about it yet. Otherwise if they work with a technology that I do know something about, it makes the conversation that much more engaging, and more often than not I walk away with some new techniques or libraries to try for myself.
Lately I find myself on Medium several times per week. Sometimes I search for a particular topic but more often than not the feed will suggest something interesting.
I also read a lot of other peoples’ code. I review the project structure, choice of tools, and the code itself for ideas. You can learn a lot by critical review of someone else’s work. It’s similar to the idea of teaching or doing code reviews for peers.
What have you read, coded, etc on the side recently that has been fun and kept you fresh?
I’ve been coding a Bible reading app using Angular 6 and Firebase. It’s really been fun and kept me up to date on how to work with document databases. I’m also using NgRx for state management and that helps me out on my current client since we use it there as well. I can try new things out on my project first and then bring it to the client.
I am reading Domain Driven Design by Eric Evans. It was written in 2003 so not sure this is keeping me fresh but I am trying to formalize my understanding.
I have an examples repository that I write blog posts for that demonstrate different functionality for Angular. It’s a great way for me to test out different pieces of the framework before bringing them into my client project. I’ve recently been working on bringing in three.js/WebGL into the example. I’ve got it in the project, now I just need to remember all that stuff about vectors I learned back in college.
In preparation of a blog series, I have been working on a basic angular application showcasing some
techniques on how to effectively integrate d3 into the powerful framework. It was daunting to start
at first, so I drew inspiration from my passion for music and have devised a fun way to bring together
my favorite hobbies, but you will have to read about that when the blog comes out. For those looking to
start a programming side-project, I recommend trying to find some way to involve one of your other
passions to give you that extra motivation to get started!
Internal projects here at Intertech provide an excellent place for me to keep fresh. Most recently a complete rewrite of a traditional Restful API using GraphQL has been a wonderful experience. Everyone should be using GraphQL.
I’ve been working on a learning project building a progressive web application (PWA) using GraphQL, Apollo Client, and the Material-UI React components. Switching from a REST API to GraphQL has had a major influence on the design of the client-side code. It’s been great to explore this new type of architecture in a project with realistic complexity rather than a trivial sample app.
Who do you recommend following via Twitter, Medium, etc. that provides great information for Developers?
Twitter: @angular, @mgechev, @DanWahlin, @bradlygreen, @toddmotto
I love medium. If you curate your feed right you can get all sorts of information coming through. I’ve most recently been on a UX kick, there’s a feed “UX Collective” that gathers a wide range of UX/Design posts. As a developer it’s a good way for me to step back from the code and consider the design side of the work.
While I don’t closely follow any individual developers, I highly recommend the /r/Programming and
/r/web_design subreddits. Both of these communities offer great resources for language-specific
help, ideas for projects, updates to popular frameworks, and occasionally very interesting anecdotal
experiences from people throughout the industry.
I recommend following a few key subredddits that fit in with what you are working on. The two best for me are
See answer one! Medium has turned into a great resource for me. I find multiple viewpoints on topics and I don’t spend much time doing so.
If you had a free night for gaming what would be your game of choice – either video or board game?
Dominoes – either Mexican Train or Chicken Foot
So many to choose from, Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed are solid video games and Pandemic is a fun newer board game.
College football season is just around the corner; that means it’s time to fire up the Xbox 360 and NCAA Football. Go Big Red!
Chat disabled for 3 seconds.
I’m a big soccer fan so I love a game of FIFA 17 with my daughter. Next week I may have to take a day off to enjoy the pre-release of FIFA 18!
That’s a wrap for this episode! Stay tuned for more Small Talk in episode three coming soon. Have opinions on this topic? Join the discussion below. We’d love to hear your thoughts.