“3 Ways To Keep Technically Fit” by James Rothering

We are often looking for new opportunities to share with our network concerning learning about new and truly bleeding edge technologies and how they might be implemented. Recently, we have been working with James Rothering, who runs the Technology Radar Meetup Group, which focuses on the exploration into such new technologies. We asked James to share some of his expertise in staying apprised of new developments.

3 Ways to Keep Technically Fit – By James Rothering

First of all,  develop at least one Technology Radar (a guide for new technologies that are being developed and how they might be implemented). You  probably already do this informally, but you need to formalize the process. One common way to formalize such a process is to make yourself accountable to someone for your formal product, and then receive their feedback about it. Check out the link above to the meetup group for more information about the Technology Radar technique and how to be involved.

Secondly, interviewing for job opportunities can be a valuable way to learn about what other companies are doing. Furthermore, it’s so easy to get comfortable in your job that you lose sight of what the marketplace is demanding of candidates. This is a great way to get to know the kinds of people who rise to management positions and learn what
the market is demanding in the way of technical interviews (and tech topics covered will reveal to you gaps in your understanding). Taking interviews can be a very valuable method to be at the top of your game all of the time.

Thirdly, you should periodically participate in Hackathons. The pressure of having to code and deliver a solution in 48 hours — or as is increasingly common, 1-day — will keep you in tune with newly emerging tools, frameworks, and techniques that can facilitate agile prototyping. Too often, our companies become hidebound, “process oriented,” behemoths that can never pivot, or produce a prototype on short notice. But this is an essential skill, especially in today’s agile/lean Startup world. There simply is no substitute for a time-boxed exercise from time to time to see how fast you can use the tools you have mastered. This also helps to focus you on getting some prototyping and rapid development tools into your arsenal.

Start with this three techniques to keep your self technically fit (which is as important as being physically fit, if not more) and prevent yourself from becoming a technological dinosaur!

In addition to his leadership of the Technology Radar Group, James is very active in various networking groups and provides CIO consulting (mostly for early-mid stage companies). He can be reached on LinkedIn or through meetup.com.

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