The other day, an acquaintance of mine was complaining about never getting ahead in their career. I didn’t really feel like I knew enough about their area of expertise to give any advice - until I heard what they did when they got home. During our conversation, they described their favorite TV shows, how involved they were with the outcomes; basically once they got home, 4 to 5 hours were spent on the couch watching TV.
Now, I am a proponent of “doing other things” - relaxing, not burning out and expanding your mind in all kinds of ways. But, this was just the same thing over and over. I think I figured out one of the reasons why this person was not progressing in their career like they wanted to.
There are two very important parts to success in your career: learning and demonstration. Here, I’m only going to talk about the learning part.
The most important thing that you can do for your life and career is to continue to learn. Sometimes this is done by reading books, other times by experimenting, by creating something that is either a spectacular success or a dismal failure. Either outcome is fine. (For example, I recently wanted to try my hand at a VueJS project - so I created a demonstration about whether it makes sense to trade stocks using charts, animation and rock-paper-scissors games over the weekend.)
There is always something to learn, too. Even if it seems like there’s nothing new in your field, I bet you can find something in a related field to learn then. The best thing about programming is the more I learn about other languages, the better I can program my primary language.
When you continue to learn, your mind opens up to all kinds of suggestions and solutions. You might be learning about luxury cruise liners at home, and suddenly the next day you draw a correlation between the cruise ships and the way you’re transporting your items in the warehouse. You never know.
So, if you want to expand your mind and grow your career, keep learning. You never know, maybe learning will even turn into your relaxation activity, too!
Follow Up On Project
Above I mentioned this project which I created over the weekend. I wanted to learn about a new CSS framework I heard about, Bulma. Then, I’ve worked with Angular and a little bit with React, but I haven’t touched VueJS, so I built it with that, too. I also wanted to know more about Webpack, so I configured it by hand. Overall, the project is not something that I’d ever release (the github source code is private), but it helped me learn a bunch. One of the side-effects of this particular project was that I learned there are a lot of similarities between the major frameworks - and it shouldn’t be that hard to switch from one to another. This helps me when I determine who and how to hire people for front-end positions.