Sharpen the Saw for Computer Scientists

It’s december and a new year will start a few days from now. It’s that time of the year where we think of thinks we want to achieve or do more often the next year. Often theses things include sports, losing weight or spending more time with loved ones.
These are all valid and important new years resolutions and you should go for them. But there is one more thing, let’s think about how we can sharpen our saws to become better at our work. This list is primarily intended for computer scientists and software engineers, developers and architects but probably can be adapted for other professions as well.

Here’s some ideas, some mine, some are inspired by a similar post of Scott Hanselman:

  • Set-aside time, like one or two hours per week, to read technical books or papers related to your field of work.
  • Set-aside time to read one technical paper or book that is not related to your field of work per month.
  • Listen to podcasts, or watch screencasts about new technologies and approaches.
  • Attend conferences and talks and most importantly try to ask questions or at least write down questions and try to figure out the answer for your self.
  • Discuss problems with your co-workers, you might be surprised how much you can learn from a good discussion.
  • Help others, sometimes there is no better and satisfactory way than helping someone to solve a technical problem.
  • Try something new! Whether it is a new programmin language, new software architecting tool or a new software process model you’ll never know when you need it.

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