To give some context, I am a Masters student in the US, with 5 years of experience as a software engineer. I try my best to learn as much as I can about Software development, Machine Learning, System Designs and everything developers are interested in.
I read blogs, books, research papers, and news feeds from LinkedIn, Twitter and I am part of multiple discord channels of up and coming AI startups and open source communities. I am also part of GDG study groups who connect on slack that focuses on Google Cloud solutions and discussions on Taro as well. So, I basically have a lot of data sources and I am overloaded with information.
As much as I want to focus on one domain (ML in my case), I don’t want to miss out on what is happening in the industry. I am trying really hard to reduce distractions: I have setup a second brain account with Notion, which has helped me organize the informative links I receive from my data sources but I am always doing a catch up because there is only so much I can learn and remember.
I am working on a bot which can classify discord messages as random conversations or important links or conversations and push them to my notion database. I want to expand this to other data sources eventually so I can ignore comments and random conversations lying around a certain topic which are irrelevant.
I also have a lot of hobby project ideas that I have noted down like PRD documents, some very small which can be built in few week and some which will take months to build with a good architecture.
You can ask why I am trying to learn everything. My simple reason is little bit of FOMO and a fear of not knowing enough. But also, as a CS student, I am also preparing for interviews and I want to be able to explain how a certain technology works and be able to build and design using those technologies.
I have faced this information overload while I was a software engineer and continue to feel it as a student. If you have read till here and you are able to relate to this, I would like to know how you would suggest one should go about staying organized and maximizing the information gain.
I can understand your experience. I feel like sometimes when you try to do something of everything you can get in decision paralysis.
At the very least you want to have a general foundation in the field you're targeting, (ML/SWE). Once you're there my suggestion is to make a list of priorities of your goals (I presume getting internship/new grad roles) and focus your attention on that and ignore the noise.
Since you already have a foundation, should you need to learn whatever you're feeling FOMO about you'll be able to learn fairly quickly.
This video by Steve Hyunh does an excellent job going in depth on this topic: https://youtu.be/UAzQZdttdsA?si=m8GOkW82tL58VNQ5
To summarize the video in a sentence: The goal should be a clear mind to think creatively and make good decisions, not perfect retention of facts
Dismantle this notion! "FOMO and a fear of not knowing enough."
This is a recipe for disaster in software engineering. There's no way you could know everything, and even if you could, you'll already have failed because something new would have happened.
Instead of your goal being information gain, make your goal to work with interesting people or build something valuable. And information gain happens as a byproduct of that.
This is far more motivating for me. Don't try to keep up with the constant barrage of news, articles, or books.