Editorial Note: I originally wrote this post for the NDepend blog. You can check out the original here, at their site. While you’re there, take a look around and download NDepend to try it out.
You don’t tend to see vaguely patronizing, unflinchingly desperate requests like that unless you sit on some kind of goldmine. They approach us the way one might approach a mischevious toddler holding a winning lottery ticket. And, of course, anyone would expect that with wildly disproportionate supply and demand.
But, for us, this transcends just writing the code and oozes into learning about it. Like baseball teams playing the long game, companies would rather grow their own talent than shell out for high-priced free agents. And so learning about software might just prove more of a growth industry than writing it.
Look at wildly successful industry player Pluralsight. It has built a benevolent commercial empire on the simple promise of democratized learning about technical pursuits. Then you have a host of fast followers, an army of boot camp providers, and endless how-to blogs. Sometimes it seem as though a gigantic wave of pressure pushes us all toward writing a bit of code.
The Learning Tools in Your Tool Belt
Let’s say that you’re convinced. You see the money to be made, or you simply feel drawn to the profession. You want to get involved, but don’t quite know where to start. What sorts of learning can developers avail themselves of?
While I won’t call this an exhaustive list, I can offer some general categories of learning. First, consider theoretical, passive learning. You crack open some book called, “Principles of Modern Web Development” and get to reading. Second, you have classroom-style learning. An instructor leads your lessons, curates information, and engages you in Q&A. And, third, you have hands on learning. With this kind of learning, you put actual concepts into practice.
Understand that I do not consider these mutually exclusive by any means. Any serious leaning plan worth its salt is going to incorporate elements of all of these (and probably other form categories that escape me at the moment). But understanding the flavors will inform the rest of this post.