You’re Either Getting Better or You’re Getting Worse

Resources for keeping your coding skills sharp

Photo by Arnold Francisca on Unsplash

I think as a tech person I like to think the learning process can be represented by an exponential curve—getting started in a skill requires a lot of groundwork, but eventually it starts to pay off. What was difficult becomes routine, competency becomes mastery, and what once felt impossible is now right within reach. The most presumptuous part of that fairy tale is the notion that you only ever more forward. As if once information goes inside your mind’s SSD and the programs have been compiled, that they remain there, ready to be retrieved when needed.

It’s more complicated than that…

In reality, retaining knowledge and skills requires maintenance. Wherever you are in your coding journey—whether you’re a working tech professional, an industry newbie, or an enthusiast—you’ve likely at some point been away from a coding technology for awhile, and come back only to find you have to google EVERYTHING, look back at your old code, etc. This is because of the old adage “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.”

Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash

This is especially true in coding. For one, coding technologies you use can be made obsolete by newer ones, so consistently working to keep up-to-date comes with the territory! Reading blogs, following industry leaders, going to conferences and meetups are are invaluable tools to keep your finger on the pulse.

Then of course, there’s the working of the muscle. Just like an athlete needs to keep going to the gym and pushing their technique farther, a coder needs to keep exercising and pushing themselves father. If you have a gap in your employment or your job has you working without code for awhile, you need to find other ways to stay in shape. Using code challenge websites, joining a Kaggle competition, or just coming up with personal projects are all great ways to stay sharp. Stay tuned for a blog post on some of my favorite places to keep sharp…

Actor turned Data Scientist looking for applause some other way

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