Careers Staying Current In The Tech Industry

The technology industry is always changing. When you remain up-to-date, you stay competitive as a jobseeker and ultimately as an employee. Beyond that, when you’re aware of what’s happening in the industry, you establish yourself as a passionate professional and have even more content to reference in interviews and when you meet people in the community (at events, meetups etc.).

When you’re current on events and news, you become familiar with more aspects of your industry as a whole—not just your specific vocation. When you have a fuller understanding of all the components, you can connect and relate to a variety of people, like designers, product managers, founders, and more. This further supports the notion that you’re a passionate professional.

When you’re in between prepping for interviews and doing technical challenges, consuming content made by people in the tech community is a very productive way to spend your time while also taking a “break” from job search-related work. Below are three ways you can stay current: listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and subscribing to newsletters.

Podcasts

Podcasts are great for several reasons. For one, they allow you to listen on the go. So while you’re exercising, folding laundry, or commuting to work you can learn something new. They also give you the chance to listen to experienced techies talk about code. (Which is a lot different from reading about code.) When you listen to conversations about technology, you’ll pick up on new terms but also gain a better understanding of words you’re already familiar with. Hearing these conversations will provide more context.

And because podcasts are usually interview-based, they allow you to take a peek into people’s lives. Learn about their career trajectories, side projects, challenges they’ve overcome, and the stuff they’re interested in learning more about. As a new professional in your field, you want to mirror these people and the way they talk.

Suggested podcasts to listen to:

  • JavaScript Jabber - A podcast about JavaScript (Node.js + Front-End Technologies) developer careers, working on a team, and more.
  • Ruby Rogues - A weekly panel discussion on the Ruby ecosystem as well as programming best practices, tools, and even careers.
  • NSScreencasts - A video-based show with both free and paid episodes. Because it’s video screencasts, NSScreencasts is more tutorial-like.
  • CodeNewbie Podcast - This weekly show features conversations with both newbie and seasoned developers. The show covers topics like security, hardware, mobile development, and more.
  • HanselMinutes - Hosted by well-known developer Scott Hanselman, the show contains interviews of technologists, developers, founders, and other tech industry thought-leaders.
  • O'Reilly Data Show - Ben Lorica is the Chief Data Scientist at O’Reilly Media. In each episode, he is joined by an industry professional to discuss topics in big data and data science.
  • Data Skeptic - One of the longest-running data science shows, this podcast has a little bit of everything, and it has wide appeal, whether you’re a complete beginner or already technically skilled.

Blogs

Unlike podcasts where you can listen on the go, reading articles requires your full attention. Blogs, however, are great because they can be more technical by showing things like code samples. (Unlike audio-based podcasts, where you can only get so detailed.)

Suggested blogs to read:

  • Mislav’s Blog - This is software developer Mislav Marohnić’s blog where he talks about the terminal, git, software best practices, and then some.
  • Tender Lovemaking - A blog that’s been in publication since 2006, Tender Lovemaking covers Ruby, software testing, debugging, and more.
  • A List Apart - A List Apart has been online since 1998. Now, they’re much more than a blog (they have books, events, and more). Nonetheless, they feature some of the best material on web standards and best practices.
  • Joel on Software - Joel has been blogging for 15 years (!!). He shares insights on software, business, the internet, and more.
  • KD Nuggets - With over 80 awards, KDnuggets is a leading online resource for big data practitioners.
  • Data Science 101 - Run by Ryan Swanstrom, Data Science 101 started in 2012 and today, it is one of the leading blogs that provides resources for learning data science.
  • Data Science & Psychology - Run by a Chief Data Scientist, Ravi Iyer. With a very uncommon approach for analytics, the blog focuses on exploring societal trends, ethics, and morality through the lens of data.

Aside from personal blogs, many professionals also publish on Medium. On Medium, you can follow different topic-based publications, like Hackernoon, Towards Data Science, or Muzli Design Inspiration.

Email newsletters

When you subscribe to newsletters, the news shows up right in your inbox. There are many different newsletters for different industries. Some curate top news stories, while others share events going on in your area.

The great thing about newsletters is that you don’t even have to think about going to iTunes to listen to a podcast episode, or visit a website to read an article. Instead, they are sent right to you.

Another benefit to newsletters is that they’re typically quick to digest. Newsletters give you a snapshot of what’s going on, and you can choose to learn more by clicking a headline or event posting.

Suggested newsletters to subscribe to:

  • Ruby Weekly - Curated Ruby news, also includes job postings.
  • TechCrunch - Get startup and tech news from popular news site TechCrunch delivered right to inbox
  • AlleyWatch - Tech, business, and startup news from Silicon Alley (NYC).
  • VentureBeat - Another tech news site that will send you updates. Here you can choose what you get updates on - e.g. “Daily Dev”.
  • Hacker Newsletter - Weekly newsletter of top articles from Hacker News site. Includes code, design, career, and more.
  • Data Science Weekly - A free weekly newsletter featuring curated news, articles and jobs related to Data Science.

Stay on top of news by setting up alerts

If there is a certain topic, person, or company, that you’d like to keep your eye on, set up a Google Alert. Google Alerts help you monitor the web for new content by sending an email notification every time a certain word or phrase is indexed in the Google search engine.

One way you can use Google Alerts is by setting one up for a company that interests you. This way, you’ll stay on top of news. Plus, it can also provide a fodder for follow up emails. Additionally, you can setup an alert for well-known professionals as well as other influencers in your field.

Don’t just consume - contribute, too

While it’s awesome to consume all this available content, you want to take your efforts beyond that, and contribute to the conversation.

One simple way to do this is by following podcast guests as well as bloggers you admire on Twitter. Tweet at them after hearing their excellent interview, or reading their latest post. This is something that takes a few minutes to do—but can help increase your professional network in the long-run.

More than just telling the person you enjoyed their podcast/article, you can create a blog post about it. After consuming a great piece of content, reflect on it. Then write a blog post about the topic and send it to the speaker/writer. This kind of reflection will stand out from the masses who reach out to them daily on social media.

Ultimately, your goal should be to get interviewed on a podcast, or guest write for a blog. Putting yourself out there in such a way will give yourself more exposure. It can also lead to more connections with like-minded people. And it positions you as an expert on the topic at hand.

Conclusion

When you’re working in a high growth and competitive industry, you need to stay relevant. Your career depends on it. Beyond listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and subscribing to newsletters, your goal is to contribute to the conversation. To do this, you must put yourself out there by reaching out to others and contributing to the dialogue.

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