11 Staying Current  “The core skill of a software engineer is being able to adapt to new technologies well; not just knowing one language or another.” David M Gregg, Director of Software Eng. at Kenzie Academy No matter what your path into coding is – whether you go through a bootcamp or choose to self-study – you will end up teaching yourself new things all the time. Technology is consistently moving forward, and, if you do not keep up on current trends, you can get left behind very quickly. If you get hired using one JavaScript framework now, you will probably need to learn another one with- in a few years, not to mention other tools that change every few months. If you learned all the best practices for programming last year, some of them might have already changed this year. Many people are intimidated by this state of perpetual innovation, but if you keep up with every minute change, you won’t get anything else done. Along your coding journey, you will find several tempting rabbit holes everywhere that are waiting to suck you in and waste your time. This is where having a plan comes into play.  Tools to Use Some tools that are very helpful to stay in the loop with programming are podcasts, mailing lists, and micro-blogging platforms like Twitter. All three of these help you keep up to date in different ways (although the latter can be much more addictive and unpro- ductive if not managed well). Podcasts There are many podcasts that sift through a lot of current and helpful information so you do not have to. They are also easy to lis- ten to in the car during your commute, or while you are working out or cleaning. The idea is to let them supplement your studies with terms, ideas, and concepts. Here are some useful podcasts to get started with: •freeCodeCamp: Excellent quality, short, and to the point •Code Newbie: Great podcast for new coders •Learn to Code with Me: Self-taught programmer Laurence Bradford interviews guests about interesting topics (I was interviewed on this episode) •Faraday Tech Cafe: This is my own podcast about software development •Check out my list of favorite podcasts and podcast apps at gwenfaraday.com/learn-to-code-book Since there are so many different ones to subscribe to, it is a good idea to make lists of episodes you want to listen to during your weekly planning sessions. I like to use listennotes.com to search for podcasts, episodes, and topics; and compile those into lists that I can import into other podcast apps (make sure you are copying the RSS feed link). Mailing Lists Thousands of development articles are published everyday and it can take a lot of energy to sift through every single one of them for relevant information. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to have someone else just send you curated lists of articles, videos, and other resources regularly? Fortunately, for all of us, there are quite a few daily, weekly, and monthly email lists that do just that. Here are some examples (there are also plenty of other ones for every language or technology you can think of): •Faraday Academy Weekly Newsletter – My weekly newsletter at my blog •freeCodeCamp Newsletter – Sign up for an account on freecodecamp.org and make sure you have the “Send me Quin- cy’s weekly email” setting turned on. Here is an archive of previous emails: freecodecamp.org/news/i- email-1-2-mil-lion-ple-ple-every-week-heres-i-i-say-to-them-3c62e6d9812a •For more, see my list of developer newsletters: gwenfaraday.com/learn-to-code-book  Micro-blogging Platforms (e.g. Twitter) A quick scroll through Twitter every few days can keep you reasonably up to date on the current happenings in tech. Set a rule to not spend more than 10 or 15 minutes on Twitter and then use a browser plugin to block social media, if necessary, to keep from overdoing it. Many people get caught up scrolling through feeds for extended amounts of time and it is not nearly as useful as spending that time working on your studies. I block all social media from my browser so I have to explicitly unblock it so it does not distract me from my work. Here are some relevant tech influencers to follow for the latest tech info: •Traversy Media – @traversymedia •Quincy Larson – @ossia •freeCodeCamp – @freeCodeCamp •CodeNewbie – @CodeNewbies •MDN Web Docs – @MozDevNet •For a more comprehensive list of people and organizations to follow, please see: gwenfaraday.com/learn-to-code-book This list is just for getting you started. As you meet people at events and grow a network, you will find many more people and groups to follow. News Platforms This has been my favorite way to consume tech news for the past year or so. Partly because these sites can have great new content every week, but also because they do not have the rest of the distractions of a regular social media type of site. I can just go to the site, read the news and leave without feeling tempted to do anything else. Here are my two favorite sites: Tech Crunch: They have a good search field so you can try searching for different types of content if you do not want to just scroll through the latest general news. There is no filtering though, so you may have to play around with searching for different terms until you’re comfortable using it. Hashnode and Dev.to: These are some of my favorite places to scroll through and pick up new tidbits of information. They are developer-focused blogging platforms, so not technically news platforms, but with so many different writers, I find lots of information about new technologies that I had not heard about before. Reddit: You can check out some subreddit feeds like r/softwaredevelopment, r/development, and r/learnprogramming to get some fast updates on the world of technology. I do not go here that much anymore, but some of my developer friends use Reddit as their primary source of news information. So, check it out and see if you like it.  To-Read-Later Lists (e.g. Pocket) What do you do when you find something you want to read, but do not have time right now? You should be keeping a bucket list for these items somewhere. I personally recommend using Pocket (getpocket.com) for this. It gives you an icon in the search bar at the top of your browser that lets you add items to your list with one click. You can also easily tag items as you add them to create separate lists by category.  Face-to-Face Meetings Meeting and talking in person with other humans is sometimes underrated in this industry since you can get all your information online (and do your job entirely online, for that matter). Please do not underestimate the value of good old-fashioned communi- cation. Attending meetups and study groups is a great way to get exposure, interviews, and recommendations, as well as hear the lat- est buzz. The information gained at meetups can be extremely useful because it is localized to your area and job market. If you live in a large or medium-sized city it will not be difficult to find groups that share your interests. You can check out Meet- up.com and search Facebook Groups to see what’s available in your area. If you live a distance from the city, it will be harder to jus- tify making frequent trips, but once or twice per month should still be doable. If your situation does not allow for this, there are still live-streamed meetups and even conferences that you can attend virtually. It is more challenging to connect with people, but there is usually a chat or, at least, Twitter hashtags you can use to participate in the conversation. If you attend one of these events, make sure you get there early and/or stay afterwards to chat with other people. The talks are usually interesting, but the real value comes from in-person meetings and building relationships.  Conclusion This combination of resources should help keep you up-to-date with your skills and show companies that you know what you are doing. Current knowledge will really come in handy as you network and start getting interviews. While keeping up on what’s current has to fit into your schedule, make sure you allocate a set amount of time to spend researching new things since you should be spending most of your time studying and learning. If you discover other resources for keeping updated with software and tech, please Tweet at me about it, @faradayacademy. Action Steps:  1.Download a podcast app and subscribe to a few podcasts. 2.Sign up for mailing lists on web development or other topics you are interested in. 3.Decide on a place to keep lists of articles that you want to read later. 4.Search meetup.com and social media sites for local programming groups.