“I love learning new things” no matter how much I love this quote I have to admit… It’s one of the cheesy things that developers say for self promotion. This quote is very popular when we are looking for a new job and we want to impress the interviewer with how dedicated we are blah blah (1).

It’s funny though that every time we developers are in the job hunt we learn tons of new stuff only because we want to rock the technical tests and get that sweet new offer. However learning new things should not only be part of your job hunt. It should be something that you do every ${yourPreferableTime}. (op op a coding joke 🤓)

I have a few developer friends that keep complaining about why they don’t do any new and more interesting projects at work, how their position sucks and that they envy this other team at the office that does all the cool stuff. I always ask them, have you tried these cool things in your personal projects? Most of the times the answer is “no I don’t have time after work” some of them also add at the end “I have a life” which is offensive to the rest of us that clearly don’t have one. Well, then don’t complain about your situation is the answer they get from me. 😂

What I have realised in my career is that if you want to learn these cool new things you need to do so in your personal time. Most of the times dealing with a new tech (from scratch) at work is a horrible idea. Why? Uuu time for you people reading this to grab the pop corn as things are going to get wild. We have all worked with “this guy” that started a project with a fancy tech he wanted to try, implemented it in the worst possible way, after a couple of months he just left the company (2) and now guess what, you have to maintain that shit. DON’T BE THAT GUY. Trying new stuff at work in many many cases ends up with something that future employees will refer to as technical debt or even worst… legacy system 😱

Learning something and having to deliver it asap usually ends up with you not following the best practices. No matter how awesome Redux is (is it really?), there is absolutely no need to use it in your 3 pages static website (3). One of the beauties of our profession is that learning new techs feels like solving a new puzzle! And it gets even better… The more puzzles we learn how to solve the more money we get paid to do so.

One key thing to keep in mind is the importance of learning technologies different than the ones we currently work on. I know that React is super popular and everyone uses React everywhere and your twitter bio says React dev which gives you extra swag (4) but you know what… React may not be around forever. What’s going to happen to you when the next cool thingy shows up? Exactly, you will need to LEARN IT!!! Getting the habit of continuous learning is way easier than having to learn a new tech because you just found out that next month you are unemployed. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to say that learning new stuff should only be a backup for doomsday scenarios. I just find it to be an interesting and very valuable addiction to have. And YES it becomes addictive after a point.

Another major benefit is that it will give you a better understanding of your current tech because you will see how other languages / frameworks / libraries approach similar problems. I used to be a PHP developer (5) and when then started doing some React (yes my first real experience with Javascript was in React). At the beginning I found the different logic very weird and more complicated than it needs to be. Then I got used to it and I saw that my PHP coding skills had levelled up. Why? Because seeing a problem from a different perspective gives you a clearer understanding of the whole problem (uu that was deep). In other words I started considering asynchronous approaches and adding more error handling checks as PHP is like async await everywhere! I am now doing the same with Go where it made me realise how easy coding in Node.js (6) is 😂 But that is a story for another blog post.

To me opening your mind to new experiences is the most rewarding part of continuous learning. Your job will never be boring or repetitive! Say that to your friend that works as an accountant (no offence if you’re one of them) and you will get the point. I recently started being more “active” with my side projects and learnings and I can already see that I am doing better at work and have many more things to look forward to the future. Why not you try the same?

Irony list

  1. I used that a lot (but at least I believed it
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