How to get out of your tech comfort zone?

For many years I have been at the heart of the new tech trends. Mostly because I used to switch jobs/companies a lot, and every time it was about learning something new, something I’ve never worked with before, and I really enjoyed staying on top of my game.

However, when I settled in one organization for a relatively long time, I did not get the chance to learn and use new technologies mostly because the project(s) I was working on had already a tech direction set and we were just building software on top of it.
And that’s when we get used to the comfort of knowing and using that technology.

We tend to get complaisant and forget that technologies keep evolving until that day, that day when we take a look at what is happening out there, because of a need to change organizations, or desire to evolve our career.

I found this being a pain to get back to square one, learn something new from scratch, we used to be experts, we’re now rookies, and it’s all uphill from here.

How do you get around this?
How do you keep learning about new technologies and processes?
How do you learn about technology when your job doesn’t necessarily require it (i.e. your project are exclusively on AWS but you would like to learn about Azure)

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I don’t have any advice here but wanted to sympathize with you and say I feel the exact same way. It’s much easier to learn a new tech if it’s somewhat forced upon you as a job requirement.

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Does it count that I have a “summer learning list” a mile long? :laughing:

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I’m right there with you, @marykay25!

Maybe you should share it with the community to see if others here either want to learn together or even are familiar enough with the technologies that they can help you learn it :slight_smile:

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Perhaps introducing some “immersive learning”?!?
This typically involves the entire product team and should. Delivering real work (backlog, feature delivery, etc.) while introducing new technologies, tools, and working patterns using that real work. If the expertise doesn’t exist at the team level, consider including coaches…i.e. Dojo.
You can continue to provide business value while injecting continuous learning and experimentation with a Dojo or similar practice. Starting with grassroots is just fine. Large enterprise scale will, however, require upper level buy-in to scale.

We see huge success in team up-skilling, collaboration and deliverables when applying this practice. Let me know if you’d like to chat more on this subject.

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I like the idea of Immersive Learning @jgetzie and welcome to Skycrafters!

It would be most of the time advisable to break a project or a system into smaller working units and I think that is where new technology can be introduced without impacting other team’s work.
I’ve seen in the past team members that are knowledgeable about a specific tech and that would be a great way for them to share that knowledge in the team.
To your point, I have been there and haven’t been able to implement it for a lack of upper-level buy-in, because change is scary.

Also, as new projects emerge, it is good to assess the technology landscape and, if need be, adopt something new. To @marykay25’s point, it makes it easier to learn because the job justifies it and because that’s the right tech for the right application.

Yes, @raphabot, I vote for @bnwoods to share your list of things to learn, I’m sure we’ll find some common interests in learning and potentially learn from each other :slight_smile:

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Has anyone had any success volunteering to help out other teams in your company to get more exposure? Was thinking about this last week. Might be an issue to find out who to talk to and how to start the conversation but it’s a thought.

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I like the volunteering idea @marykay25; by making us available to contribute to something else, we can learn something new. However, I think that not every company would allow it. It might be hard to justify why one has enough time to do something else instead of what their mean to do. That said, allowing (and incentivizing) volunteering behavior would be fantastic from a company culture standpoint

Last thought, what about learning something new to be able to contribute to an open-source project?

It depends on the project for sure. I’ve known a lot of people that have really gotten into projects around home automation or streaming/tv related projects or fun things to do with your raspberry pi and they’ve learned a lot from those. To me the project would need to benefit me in some way, or solve a problem for me, or benefit my company somehow for me to feel passionate enough to jump in.

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I am very interested in seeing @bnwoods summer learning list! Is this being shared somewhere??? lol. I agree with getting a group of people together that want to learn something. I have a long list of things I want to learn and it is hard to just do it without any real reason like for work or something like that as @marykay25 said. Then you get stuck. In the past when I have wanted to learn something I will do a few different things. Look for resources where I am working. I currently work at a big company so I have tracked down someone who would be helpful or has similar interest. I have also looked outside of work like going to some kind of group like Women Who Code or something similar. I have used Meetup in the past to find people. For me finding someone who is really interested in the same things, you can hold each other accountable and learn together. I also like to find people who know more than me so they can teach me. This can be hard to do at times because you have to find someone as interested as you and with the bandwidth to spend time on it.

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Happy to share some of my learning stuff here (to be honest, I forgot to post something :laughing: )

This isn’t my full summer learning list but it definitely encapsulates a bit of the things I wanted to hit this summer.

Python

Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Cert

Build Local Kubernetes Environment for Practice

  • Try in Azure and GCP for extra fun

I also have some Go courses I bought a little while ago that I want to go through just to get a good feel for it.

Then of course I have various Azure elements I want to get a feel for outside of prepping for the Fundamentals cert. I have a personal dev environment set up in Azure and I wanted to dig deeper into things like Scale Sets and Image Builder just to get my hands dirty. I’ve used them, but I want to get my hands dirty and learn them on a more fundamental level instead of just knowing them at a high level.

I was feeling extra ambitious at the beginning of the summer and thought it might finally be the time that I had a chance to go through the Rust book I bought a while ago, but I think I might still have my hands full with my learning topics above. :laughing:

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I get really ambitious too, at least once a month and then it doesn’t always work out :laughing: Like on your list I have similar ones. I have been focusing on GCP instead of Azure and that has been the same.

When you say Go courses do you mean for the language?

Python has been on the list now for a while. I will get started with it and then never fully get through the training. I will do some training in my free time after work sometimes. I have been doing the free code academy course.

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Yep! Go the language. I’ve messed with Hugo for a personal blog (my current personal blog/site is in Jekyll) but haven’t really given it enough time and attention to actually learn it. And the free code academy courses are great resources! My last job didn’t mind paying for relevant Udemy content so when things would go on sale I would grab them up (the Azure course I linked went on sale for $9.99 so I had to have it). My problem is I grab up all these trainings then never find the time to go do them. Something something “the road to ruin was paved with good intentions” something something :joy:

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: This is exactly how I am! I have classes I have bought on Udemy, signed up to learn things, and talk to people to get resources of thing I want to learn. Then it takes forever for me to get around to it. I do the same with books. I have so many books and they are still waiting for me read them since like 2010 :sweat_smile: Although I did learn when it comes to books that audio books are my friend! Too bad that doesn’t work for learning a new skill.

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We’re very similar in all that! (I keep buying books, and I haven’t had time to read them, but I still want to buy more books :upside_down_face: )

The other problem I find is that I really like to learn hands on, which takes more time than reading a thing – but that’s how I truly understand something. :woman_facepalming:

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