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Curiosity didn’t kill the cat, falling behind did

Dear Reader,

If you aren’t curious, you won’t try new things. If you don’t try new things, you won’t learn new things. If you don’t learn new things then you are a paper weight. Curiosity isn’t an optional trait for programmers. Look at the speed at which things change for us.

First, let’s look at PHP. PHP is enjoying a resurgence. We went through a rough patch there for a few years. The core developers lost their focus, the language started to stagnate, and for a while things did not look good for the PHP community. Then recently, things started picking back up. Yes, we went through some upheavals and I won’t say all of them are done, but we are now getting new language features and regular releases. PHP is changing for the better.

Now that it is though, our jobs just got harder. We as developers have to keep on top of all these changes. This doesn’t mean we have to implement them for the sake of implementing them , but we do have to be familiar with them and what we should use them. To stay on top, you have to be curious, even if you are just faking it until you feel it. You have to keep at it.

That’s just PHP. There are changes happening in all aspects of web development. Changes in how we structure applications. Changes in the technologies we use to build the front-end of our apps as opposed to the back-end. Changes in infrastructure we build our applications on top of. The worst part of it is that nothing we learn today is carved in stone. A good portion of everything we are investing our time in right now will be outdated and useless in 5 years. (Can anyone say Silverlight?)

With all of this pressure, what can you do? You have to stay curious, you have to keep learning, and you have to keep experimenting.

  • Start a side project that has no meaning other than for you to experiment on
  • Play with a new technology in your side project
  • Participate in an online discussion about what you are working on

You have to keep at it. You have to keep up, but it doesn’t have to consume you. Just discussing new technologies with other developers is good way to keep abreast.

Keep up, keep at it, be curious.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

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