Friday, April 7, 2017

Always learning

One of the most fun aspects (to me) of being in the world of software development is the focus on continual learning.  The systems on which we work are constantly evolving.

For instance, when I started way back in 1995, Windows 3.1 was the dominant OS.  Smart phones did not exist, tablets were only on Star Trek and so on.  The challenge is how to adapt to a constantly changing world.

The strategy I use is one of constant learning.  MOOCs have made this much easier in the last few years - I tend to prefer a combination of lectures and hands on to learn a new skill.  To me, which new skill to learn is not as important as always learning something.  Sometimes there is a skill I need to learn that is very relevant to some project that is upcoming - for instance, learning Python because our automation system here at Tableau uses Python is an obvious example.

But other times I take on tasks that are more in a hobby space.  To this end, for the past few months I have been enrolled in a Programming the Internet of Things program at Coursera.  It has been a blast!  It made me brush up on electronics I learned years ago in the navy as well as some programming in C and Python.  I got to work with the Raspberry Pi and Arduino, install some useful libraries and my final capstone was a device that would email me if I left my garage door in my house was left open.  This was a beginner level class so the introduction was very gentle and definitely left me wanting more.

I received my final certificate this last week and am thinking about going deeper into another class.  Either that or finish the growing list of project ideas I developed while taking this class.  Either way, it should be fun!

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,

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