How our developers keep ahead of the game
The digital sphere never stays still for long. Technologies and techniques are constantly evolving, and a lot of new information is published online every day. Keeping up with the latest developments can be a daunting task, especially if your job is to integrate and utilise those technologies on a daily basis, like our developers. When it comes to keeping their skillsets primed and their knowledge up to speed, our Dev team has a list of reputable development resources they rely on for the most important news first.
Here’s how our developers at Storm improve their skills and stay up to date with the latest technologies, techniques and technical issues they encounter regularly.
Our Head of IT and Cloud Services, Mike, swears by Pluralsight’s videos. Pluralsight offers a variety of courses in software development, IT Ops, Data, and Security. These courses refresh participants’ knowledge and build on existing skillsets to provide a well-rounded knowledge base in these areas, as they are needed for professional purposes.
Twitter is a treasure trove for finding the latest news. Have you made a Twitter List of all the experts in your field to get the most up-to-date news? You should! Our SharePoint Developer, Tom, listed four of his go-to Twitter accounts for the latest developments:
Some meetups and groups also run Slack channels to give developers the opportunity to discuss issues on the job. The Edinburgh Umbraco User Community has a Slack channel dedicated to discussing Umbraco development issues and updates.
Another firm favourite of our developers for the latest industry updates and roundups are newsletters.
Front-end developer Ryan is a big fan of Pony Foo because it rounds up trending topics and tech updates hot off the press, so he stays ahead of the front-end game.
Geoff, our Chief Technical Architect, relies on Thoughtworks Radar and Cooperpress for his development news roundups. The content in the articles shared by these websites is hugely informative and tailored for developers, so he never misses the latest dev discussions and updates.
Sometimes it is useful taking the learning offline, too. Alan finds the Umbraco meetups in Glasgow and Edinburgh to be invaluable. These meetups give developers the opportunity to network with other Umbraco enthusiasts. There are often presentations and knowledge sharing from experts and debates. The DDD events are incredibly useful for bouncing ideas around and learning from the development community, too.
Umbraco hosts “festivals”, CodeGarden and UKFest, which often include hackathons to contribute to the Umbraco project (it’s open-source after all) and talks/presentations on upcoming features/other topics (security, case studies, etc.)
Blogs and vlogs
For many of our developers, Feedly is a one-stop-shop for the latest technology and development news. Feedly can be integrated with Trello, Evernote, OneNote 365 and Slack – all of which our developers have used in a professional capacity – which makes it easy to share relevant content with specific teams or individuals.
Hackernews is a social news website that publishes the latest computer science breakthroughs, and is very popular in our office among the developers.
Geoff often starts his day by visiting Morning Brew and Alvin Ashcraft’s blog; Morning Dew. These blogs publish the latest news in web and cloud development, .NET software, Microsoft updates and more.
Umbracoffee is a podcast that occurs weekly. The premise of the podcast is to highlight goings-on in the Umbraco development community, discuss new packages released and usually includes a conversation with a guest speaker. This is run by people from Cogworks (who also do UKFest) – they are based in London and give back quite a lot to the community.
Senior Web Developer John finds that side projects are crucial for keeping him up-to-date, and, more importantly for him, excited about the work he is doing.
“Side projects are important for me to stay fresh and try new things.”
Enthusiasm for the craft and the ability to test new technologies and approaches to development is essential. Such projects prevent boredom and fatigue, and to allow our developers to get more involved with the technologies they are using regularly – or rarely. Our Storm Labs projects are a great example of side projects putting their skills to use outside client work.
This list is extensive, but far from exhaustive. How many of these development resources do you depend on to stay up to speed on the latest news and technology advancements that can affect your work? Are there any development resources missing from this list that you think our developers should absolutely be using? Let us know in the comments!