Learning, upskilling and staying in touch with latest technology and trends are a part of any software developer’s life. They are not optional extras, but are vital to the successful achievement of your career goals. However, there are some common learning mistakes that developers often make regardless of where they are currently in their career. Let’s take a look at them today, and I hope you will pick up a tip or two that will help you become a more efficient learner in no time.
Not having a learning plan
No clear end goal
Choosing too broad a topic
By the end of my learning program, I should be:
- Able to create a new React app from scratch that can
-- Consume JSON payload in a REST API
-- Refresh the content of the app every x mins
-- Navigate to different screens
-- Remember the last screen I visited before (if any)
-- Be Unit-tested
Note that the above learning outcomes are not too specific or detailed (like creating a component in JSX syntax, for example) because you don’t know about the ins-and-outs of the React framework yet. They are not too broad either; there is a clear outcome for each statement instead of just a broad, generic one, like “Create a React app”.
Reading and watching too many books, videos or tutorials
Not keeping track of progress
Having a clear plan and a definite goal are good but they serve a little purpose if you’re not keeping track of how you’re progressing and if you’re reaching your goals. Review your progress every fortnight or at least every month and ask yourself whether you are heading in the right direction. I recommend setting up a reminder in your calendar to review your progress at a regular interval at the start of your learning journey so you don’t forget about it. If you’re not achieving your goals timely, it’s a chance for you to understand where you may be struggling and revise your plan. On the other hand, if you’re achieving your goals, celebrate them to keep your momentum and motivation going.
Be an efficient learner
In this day and age, being an efficient learner gives you an edge and set you up for your career success. I’m a firm believer that you can get better at anything in life if you take the time to understand the process and have the willingness to improve. Learning is no exception. It is a skill that can be improved with practice. And knowing what not to do is sometimes as important as knowing what to do when it comes to learning. Just like what Confucius, a Chinese social philosopher, once said:
Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous. — Confucius