I am a new grad Software Engineer who has completed 6 months ago. There's a lot of internal tech stack and plenty of codelabs. Lately, I have realised that I am not prioritising learning about the stack my team uses (but I do not currently use directly).
I understand it would be helpful in one-off occasions when I have to interact with a new part of the codebase or during on-call, which I am expected to begin soon. However, I always end up prioritising my current work that I have in hand. (It is also because of the fact that I find the codelabs pretty slow and boring)
How should I prioritise learning new things? I remember Rachel's video where she said she spends 20% of her time learning new things and that seemed like a good strategy to me.
It’s great to get your own work done before doing extra learning that is tangential. Having a goal to finish your sprint early though, and then using the time to crank out some study time seems like a strategy that could work.
Another option is talking to your manager about your desire/need for the study time and seeing if you can build 20% time for that into sprint planning. Something to try would be asking for those one-off tasks that you need the knowledge so you are practicing what you learn and demonstrating the study time is allowing you to increase your scope.
Set aside Monday afternoons and Friday mornings. They are usually slower times of the week.
Love the idea from MistPlay to build 20% learn time into your estimates. Genius!
If you're a young person working in tech, right out of college, without work experience... you need real war stories. Here are 3 ideas to get you started:
• Manage to get yourself fired at a side job (wait tables, work a cash register, stock shelves). There now that you know what that's like, it's not that bad; you know what it takes; let's not do that again.
• Manage to get yourself promoted to lead, supervisor, or manager at another side job. Now you know what it's like leading people. It's not easy. Now that you know what it's like to be the boss, you know how to help your boss, she's your customer, and now you know what she needs.
• Go shopping for something expensive you want that you know nothing about. Shop around in person and over the phone, and see what it's like to be a potential customer. You'll have people try to tell you every product or solution is good for you; it's not helpful, and now you know what not to do. Eventually, you'll run into a salesperson who recommends something out of all the options. This option will be the best for you based on price, value, features, and other considerations. Now you know what it feels like to be served well. If you're unsure where to go... go to Nordstrom's for business clothes.
With this newfound experience, you're going to be better suited to serve real people in the tech industry.