Keeping up

How do you keep up to date?

Kathy Sierra has another excellent blog entry entitled The myth of "keeping up".

So... it's time to let that go. You're not keeping up. I'm not keeping up. And neither is anyone else. At least not in everything. Sure, you'll find the guy who is absolutely cutting-edge up to date on some technology, software upgrade, language beta, whatever. But when you start feeling inferior about it, just think to yourself, "Yeah, but I bet he thinks Weezer is still a cool new band..."

I've had very similar conversations with several aspiring and experienced architects recently because they've asked me the same question, "how do you keep up with everything going on in the Java world?". My answer is simple - I don't, at least not at the detailed level.

With the rate of change in our industry, there's no way you can keep up on everything, particularly if you deal with multiple programming languages|technologies|frameworks|standards|etc. I think this is even more relevant for people in architect roles because the role requires a greater breadth of knowledge than pure development.

My advice is this - keep up to date with whatever you need to and have an awareness of the rest. Your needs might include stuff you're working on, stuff you have an interest in and so on. Everything else, well, that can wait. At times, the "just in time" approach to learning is the most appropriate.

As for *how* you actually keep up to date on the stuff you need to, I'd suggest all of the usual suspects (blogs, aggregators, articles, books, etc) and, for me, podcasts are one of the best ways to just keep that edge when it comes to having awareness of a wider range of topics. If you're Java inclined, I'd recommend The Java Posse - Java news, views and opinions for those times when you don't feel like keeping up to date.

About the author

Simon is an independent consultant specializing in software architecture, and the author of Software Architecture for Developers (a developer-friendly guide to software architecture, technical leadership and the balance with agility). He’s also the creator of the C4 software architecture model and the founder of Structurizr, which is a collection of open source and commercial tooling to help software teams visualise, document and explore their software architecture.

You can find Simon on Twitter at @simonbrown ... see for information about his speaking schedule, videos from past conferences and software architecture training.

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