Sometimes we learn something later in life only to realize that it was put in our ears a long time ago. Take the story of the Tortoise and the Hare for example. The moral of the story is that consistent work pays off over pure talent.
Consistency is key to anything. Ask any business owner how important it is for them to maintain consistent and predictable hours of operation and they are likely to tell you that their business would suffer severity if they didn’t maintain consistency.
Consistency has everything to do with anything related to success. I’m preaching about consistency because I’ve seen its fruits first hand as well as its failures for the lack thereof.
I’m pretty consistent about some things and not consistent at all about others. In terms of keeping up with software development skills I’ve been pretty consistent about learning more about it every day(and that’s just to stay afloat, forget being on the leading edge). I have very few days since I started my development journey that I went without writing any code. I write code in the evenings and on weekends or at a minimum I will read blogs or watch videos.
There’s this idea that you can get away with doing enough to meet your day job obligations and that is perfectly fine. I disagree with that idea, unless you plan to transition out of development in the near future. The typical day job requirements will not exposes you all the things going on in the industry. Even worse, your day job may require you to work on antiquated technologies. While you might excel and provide a lot of value doing that, it is hurting your skill equity.
Let me tell you a little story about my personal experience in the matter. Last year I did quite a bit of tutoring as a side hustle. I did it for a couple of reasons; to make some extra cash and also as a way to learn new things. Yes to learn a few things. I actually learned about many new things that you rarely hear about in the professional circles.
Most of my students were a pleasure to work with, except for one in particular. This individual had around 15 years or more of software development experience. The problem was that his experience was in maintaining legacy mainframe systems. He now found himself looking for steady work in the modern environment and he did not posses modern day skills.
This individual wanted to meet every week for a few hours each week to teach him all the topics on his list which included, Java, Android Development, Enterprise Web Applications. He wanted me to teach him step by step out of the books of his choosing.
I knew this was a bad idea from the start for many reasons. Among those reasons, I didn’t necessarily posses the books the he wanted to learn from. In addition, teaching a full course is a lot more than the demands of tutoring. I initially and reluctantly agreed. After the first few sessions I found it very difficult to work with this individual because, not only did he know very little, he wanted to conduct the sessions from the passenger seat.
My hopes were that I would provide him with the guidance and information about resources and then I would provide help with the things he didn’t understand.
In the end I called it quits after the second or third session.
His problem was that he didn’t keep up with his skills and he almost wanted me to transfer the knowledge from my brain directly over to his. Writing software solutions doesn’t work this way. You have to put in the work to get the results. Comprehension is a big part of learning development and that only comes with spending the time writing code.
The moral of the story is to be consistent about maintaining your skills. The state of business application development is in a big flux. So… many things are changing, best practices are being redefined everyday. Developing large applications has become more complex. Client side development has changed in dramatic ways. Unless you plan to exit the industry on a moment’s notice, you must stay consistent about learning a little every week, even if it’s only a couple of extra hours a week.
Now …maybe I should heed my own advice on consistency and start blogging on a regular schedule.