Continuing education

Continuing education for developers is a must. In this industry, you either continue to make yourself better or you get stagnant and wait for the time when all the upcoming kids take your position and you find yourself worried about whether you will still have your job in the future or whether you will be able to find another one if something were to happen. Today is different than any other time in history. The internet and online education makes it possible for anyone to take classes from home, from some of the best schools, for free.  When I started learning programming, the only choices were to read books and the occasional blog.  You could get great information, but it wasn’t structured in a way that really got you involved. Todays online classes are amazing, interactive and force you to be actively involved as you learn. I have a few favorite sites, but if you know of more, please post them in a comment!

I’m going to be starting this new year, early, with taking a class about designing every day things. The class is based on the first few chapters of a book by Donald Norman.  Design is hugely important in software development. Oftentimes, as developers, it is easy to get in the mindset of how an application works technically, being efficient, without thought to how the every day user will interact with your program. If your app isn’t usable to the average user, they won’t use it. All of your hard work will be useful only to you, or a select few. This is fine if you are building something to practice a new technology, but not if you want people to use what you have built.

So here we go. I’ll post about the class when I finish and possibly along the way as I learn things I feel I need to share right away. By posting here, I’ll hold myself accountable for finishing the class and absorbing the material.