By: Fred Wootten- Bayshore Solutions Programming Team
Learning is a Life-Long Process
You find yourself at the gym next to someone who is running just a little faster than you. Sure they are younger and in better shape than you, but you speed up anyway. You are pretty proud of yourself for awhile, but then you realize you can’t keep up the pace. Eventually you give up, completely exhausted, while they continue without breaking a sweat.
I sometimes feel like this when attempting to keep up with internet programming technologies. Knowledge is a wonderful thing but it can be exhausting and concepts that I may struggle with often come easily to others. Programmers are, by necessity, lifetime students. Those of us who embrace new technologies are constantly studying articles, manuals, and blogs to keep up with the “latest and greatest” applications and techniques. Our clients want, and deserve, the latest available technologies to meet their needs. But we need to be sure that we pace ourselves, otherwise we risk suffering from learning fatigue.
Learning is a life-long process. If we don’t find a pace and a technique for learning that works for us and allows us to take in new information and make sense of it quickly, accurately and effectively, we are in danger of burn-out.
Learning should be done in manageable bites. We learn more efficiently if we can rest our brains between learning sessions. Setting aside a little bit of time daily to learn a complex topic is much better than cramming the entire learning process into a single, all-night marathon.
We also learn better when we are not stressed, so it is important that we begin learning new programming techniques before we need them. While it is often unavoidable, the worst time to be learning something new is when you are facing a tight deadline!
Collaborative learning can be an effective and efficient learning method. Our programming colleagues are one of our most valuable resources. A short discussion across a cubicle could save you a lot of aggravation when dealing with a difficult concept that is new to you but not to a co-worker.
We each have a natural learning preference. By understanding your learning style, you can also learn to create the environment in which you learn best. Some of us do better reading text; others get more from audio/video webcasts or hands-on tutorials. Try a variety of information sources and see which method works best for you.
Internet programming has become increasingly complex over the years. It is nearly impossible to keep up, but we owe it to our clients to provide them with the skills and expertise they expect. For our mental health and the longevity of our careers, we need to find a realistic pace and style of learning that provides the best results for us, our employers and our clients.