Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. (Learning technique)

Photo by Kevin Richardson

We, as developers, very often feel overwhelmed with the amount of frameworks/tools/libraries/paradigms getting out so fast, especially if you are working in the web development industry.

To have a job from 9 to 5, spend time with your family, have time for your hobbies, maybe work in a side project, and also stay up-to-date with the latest technologies, is extremely hard, and guess what? that's pretty normal in our profession. You have to stay tuned to the latest technologies, you can't keep away from that. Consequently, you will be in the uncomfortable zone of being exposed to new knowledge, again and again.

So many questions come to your mind, but the biggest one is What can I do to stay relevant and avoid to die trying? I have also made that question to myself and after some failed attempts, a simple technique has given me some amazing results and I hope it works for you too.

Warning: with the next technique I don't pretend to make you  a guru in any technology, but how to make you get the necessary/basic knowledge. Having said this, keep reading. 😀

Let's start with this easy math, a year has 12 months which are 365 days, what if you could use 1 day per month to learn 'X' technology that has been in your mind but you keep telling yourself that you don't have time for it or you simply got the feeling of getting lost in the process of learning it. Yeah, it's just one day of only 6 hoursHence, at the end of the year, you will have 12 new pieces of knowledge and you only have spent 0.82% of the total time of 1 year.

First, make your list, for now just select 12 things you would like to learn. Example:
  • Node.js
  • Travis CI
  • GraphQL
  • Docker
  • React
  • Webpack
  • Jest
  • ... and so on.

Second, for each technology that you want to learn, follow this path:
  • Read 1 or 2 articles about it, the best practice, pros, cons, etc.. (1 hour) 
  • Watch 1 or 2 videos about how to use it. (1 hour)
  • Start a small project where you can learn by DIY, something shorter than a To-Do List app. (4 hours)

The time could vary from one technology to the other, however, the whole point is to spend at least 6 hours to gain the knowledge. Some technologies will require more time to learn it, although, in most of the cases, this should be enough. Another thing to keep in mind, 6 hours of learning will not make you an expert in 'X' technology but you will grasp the basic concepts and will know how to implement it in any project for professional or personal purpose. 

It could also happen to you; you start learning something but you really don't feel the "ok, I got it" moment. The secret here is to keep reading/watching/playing until all that exposure to a new concept puts your mind to work like if you were solving a puzzle. In the end, you will say "that wasn't hard after all".

In this new year, let your fears out and start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

To conclude, I will let you this amazing Will Smith's video talking about fear, enjoy.


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