I can tell you that for me it is not as easy as it used to be.¬† When I look around at the projects going on at TempWorks, I realize I have to sprint faster than ever to keep up.¬† I‚Äôm 53 now, and things just don‚Äôt come as quickly as they used to.¬†¬† My broad mind and narrow waist changed places years ago.
Nevertheless I‚Äôve put together a continuing education program for myself that at least makes it fun to stay in the game.¬† There are two parts to it.¬† The first is to hang around smart people.¬† The second is to constantly seek out great trainers.
When I say smart, I‚Äôm thinking of people like Jeff Bradford, our developer who singlehandedly¬† wrote our XML based matching system.¬† Our clients make their money by making great candidate matches for their clients, so having a super fast and flexible matching engine like what Jeff built with XML means everything.¬†¬† For me, a walk through his code is like a promenade through le Jardin des Plantes.
By smart I also mean our VP of sales, Casey Kraus.¬† Casey is book smart but where he really excels is in the emotional IQ department.¬† When situations get tense, like when a client is upset about something, Casey has a unique ability to calm our end down and get to the root of the problem which invariably leads to a solution.¬† For someone born with a congenital bad temper, watching Casey in action is like having Dale Carnegie as a personal coach.
It‚Äôs not right to only mention two people here at TempWorks.¬† There‚Äôs Paul our CTO who has won accolades from Microsoft for the development of TempWorks Enterprise.¬† Jason and Aaron, top notch designers.¬† Derek and Kevin, developers of many of our web products.¬† Jathan, Ali and Musa, who do flawless implementations.¬† Mari, an incredibly disciplined project manager.¬† Maria Dourgarian, who has rewritten all my accounting software.¬† And Andy, my coffee buddy and inveterate jQuery coach.
That still leaves out a lot of people but I want to get on to the second way I stay educated, seeking out great trainers.
Take Advantage of Great Training
It used to be that to get great training you needed to fly somewhere.¬† When I started at United Airlines in 1979, Univac flew me all over on two or three day trips to get specialized software training.¬† That‚Äôs no longer necessary or even helpful any more.
Currently I use two online training programs whose quality far surpasses anything I‚Äôve experienced even at the exclusive private college I went to.¬†¬†¬† Those programs are PluralSight and ThinkVitamin.¬† They both have limited free videos and full-library of extremely well done training videos for paid members.
PluralSight is how I stay current on hard-core software development.¬†¬† Their tagline is ‚ÄúThe professional On-Demand! training library designed for developers, by developers‚ÄĚ.
PluralSight has a heavy emphasis on Microsoft, but if you‚Äôre not doing Microsoft platform stuff I still recommend them.¬† For example, I just finished up PluralSight‚Äôs jQuery course by Dan Wahlin.
ThinkVitamin is a great resource for anyone interested in the future of web applications.¬† Their tagline is
‚ÄúLEARN WEB DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT - High quality video training to keep you on the cutting edge‚ÄĚ which is a bit stodgy as pitches go considering how great their training courses actually are.
I‚Äôve completed their Responsive Web Design course that teaches how to make websites adapt in a friendly way to different sized devices (desktop, tablet, mobile phone etc).¬†¬† I highly recommend checking out their main website http://thinkvitamin.com/ and changing your screen size to see how responsive web design plays out in practice.