With the end of my studies, I realized that one of the most important elements in the job of developer was the technology watch. Some people don’t realize it, but a big part of our job is to always learn more and keep abreast of various developments. That’s why technology watch is here.
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Why is technology intelligence important?
As I said just above, it allows us to get up to speed. New products come out every day, whether on programming languages, new FDI (I use VSCode) or any other subject in computer science.
Plus, it’s never good to sit in comfort. In the short term, it’s very good but in the end we quickly realize that our evolution will suffer. How can we evolve someone who is not able to self-train and propose new things, which sometimes go beyond the imposed framework?
My technological intelligence has allowed me to learn many things that I now use daily in my work, whether in project management, system administration, development and even in legal.
If like me you use CMS, Framework or others, you are dependent on their evolution. For my case, it’s mainly Prestashop so I have to keep up to date so I can use it, do it and get it done the way I want to. I got back to Symfony, I learned a lot, I did what was necessary to be in focus on webpack.
Lately, I put my nose in Laravel and I think I’m pointing on it. I am on several side-projects with Laravel and it is a pleasure to be able to do “something else” and to be able, in some cases, to propose it as an alternative to what we are used to doing.
I set up my technology watch in BTS SIO at first because it was part of the scoring of an event. I have refined it over time and my evolution of positions. Today, I am a technical project manager, my watch is also changing as I go to have sources that deal with project management, team management,
How I organize my technology watch
Organizing a technology watch is not very complicated
(it’s even extremely simple). Already we must not do it out of obligation because it will be counterproductive, when we do not want to learn, it does not miss, we do not learn.
I take between 30/45 minutes a day to make my watch, depending on the content proposed. I don’t force myself to do a full session at once, I take a look at it several times a day to see if I’m interested in anything.
For the RSS feed, you can organize your sources with Feedly for example, which is now the most used RSS feed reading solution. I use it recently, I’m migrating on. Before I used Thunderbird to read my RSS feeds but it frustrated me, I did not have access to it on mobile or tablet.
With Feedly, your feeds are synced and the service has mobile apps (iOS, Android) as well as Desktop (Windows, Mac, Linux) so you can read your articles at any time.
Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of RSS feeds I subscribe to:
- PrestaShop Developer’s Blog
- And dozens (hundreds?) of others…
It’s a bit old-fashioned because we don’t have too much control over the emails we receive and interesting newsletters are likely to be drowned in an ocean of mailing of all kinds.
However with the right filters in your mail client, Thunderbird for me, you can come up with something nice. I know that everything that ends in this file will come from my technological watch. The advantage is that you can read the newsletter whenever you want, on your favorite medium.
I use social networks a lot to do the day before and discover new things.
LinkedIn is one of my favorite networks, it’s a network dedicated to professionals, so it’s much easier to keep an eye on without being polluted by Tata Chantal’s holiday photos. I do not necessarily do a watch about development but a general watch around the web trades. This allows me to be aware of what is being done in the sphere of the web in the broadest sense.
Pinterest is not bad too if you are looking for inspiration as a designer, graphic designer, integrator. Twitter also, if you do not accumulate too many subscriptions, otherwise it quickly becomes unmanageable but I sometimes catch a few small nuggets on it.
Snooping on the web
It’s good to have your sources and focus on it, but to discover new ones, you have to be curious and like to snoop. At the turn of an article you can come across a site, blog, quality forum and add it to your sources.
Even if you’re not interested in the entire site, you can save the article in a corner, come back later or use it during a development.
I have several “tools” to organize my watch, including the RSS feeds that are most used, with a good tool, it’s perfect. As seen above, I also use newsletters (wisely) as well as social networks. However, we can add other media and quote television. There are some interesting shows here and there that can be watched in replay (on Molotov TV for example) or sites that offer tutorials, such as OpenClassRoom, Grafikart, Alsacreation, etc.
Unfortunately, they are forgotten more and more, but books are also one of the best ways to learn. Yes, it’s like school, but it’s true. There are some nice books that can be useful at least to get started in a field. They may be less convenient for learning computer language but can be a great way to learn more about marketing, e-commerce, the web in general or others. Don’t forget them?
Making a technological watch is simple but it is not to be taken lightly if you want to become better. It is not enough to take the 2-3 sources of a colleague or classmate to make a good watch, nor to consult a site once a month.
Technological intelligence is a bit of a long process. Technological intelligence must be regular and made with the desire to learn more, to discover new things, to progress in areas other than your own. I think you should never rely on what you have learned, or risk locking yourself into a pattern, a routine that will harm you at some point.