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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Staying Current

One topic I've written about before is this idea of staying current.  Don't believe me, see the following articles (here and here).  This industry is an industry that is constantly moving.  And I do mean constantly, and I think sometimes people on the outside looking in are unaware just how quickly it moves.  This is an industry where the tools, techniques and practices are changing daily, and if you don't make a consistent effort to keep up, you won't and you'll fall behind.  And once you start falling behind, its pretty easy to keep falling.

So what can you do?  I mean there's a lot of stuff out there, and sitting and reading through articles you find via google will only get you so far.  So what options are out there.  Well there are a wealth of resources out there.  I don't pretend to know them all but here's a list of some of the ones I use:

  • CodeProject:  A fantastic site with a great community (and I'm not just saying that cause I'm a contributor).  I say that because you receive a lot of updates and their articles are written by actual developers and then have an active community.
  • PluralSight:  A fantastic site with a HUGE library of training videos and courses.  They provide a bunch of topics everything from .net to beyond and provide new courses all the time.  It is a pay service, but it is well worth the money.
  • Microsoft Virtual Academy:  A great Microsoft supported site that provides a wealth of training videos including videos series around the MCSD.
  • Channel 9:  Another Microsoft Sponsored site that supports a large amount of Microsoft products.  They have regular shows beyond the virtual academy including videos about new releases.  
  • .NET Rocks:  A fantastic podcast where they cover the latest trends in the .NET and technology world.  Overall one of the best podcasts I've found for technology and the software industry.  
  • Gone Mobile:  A great podcast that covers topics relating to mobile application development using technologies such as Xamarin.  
  • Hanselminutes:  A great podcast by Technologist Scott Hanselman, who works for the Azure team for Microsoft.  
  • Central PA .net User Group:  User groups like this are a great way to meet and network with over developers and find out the kinds of things they are working on and resources they are using.  
These are just a few of the many resources I recommend, and options out there for a variety of even more resources.  Staying current is honestly the best habit you can get into to have along and prosperous career in this field.  The best way to learn in this field is by doing.  And the best way to do that is personal projects.  Now I know that sometimes its hard to come up with a personal project.  That's when I recommend sites like Code Chef, which is a great site that will give you problems to solve.