One of my fellow guest bloggers on OutlierDeveloper.com, Andrea Angela, has a great article explaining the importance of Active Learning over Passive Learning. I would like to take you through a worked example of how you could apply this principle to achieve much better results.
Let’s suppose you are interested in learning Angular JS but have no experience in it.
Use your preferred search engine to find a blog post with some good advice on which version you should learn. Then download the version you are interested in and try out some basic hello world type examples on one monitor while playing your preferred online course or skim reading the online book.
Get a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of the framework and how it compares with alternatives. Then try writing a slightly more interesting yet still simple example such as a to-do application in a test driven manner. Again consider what the framework gives you over the alternatives that you know of.
Now dive deeper, perhaps learning about the security implications or the best practices both through study and play. Find out who the Angular JS experts are and follow them on Twitter or subscribe to their blogs. Take a look at Github and what cool stuff other Angular JS developers are uploading there.
Consider helping out or uploading your own Angular JS project. Find out where your nearest Angular JS user group is, when the next event is on and who is speaking. Go there and see who you can connect with and ask them any questions you have. Don’t be afraid to let others know that you are only just getting started and don’t have a lot of experience yet, but show your passion for the topic and share your own experiences.
Get a feel for how you match up with the other developers there, what areas do you know less and which areas do you know more. If you think that you are even a little better than the average attendee or that you may have some experience in a unique area that other attendees would benefit from, e.g. security, offer your services as a speaker.
Take a look at your Big Goal. Let’s take two scenarios:
“To become a highly in demand SQL Server trainer and instructor, earning at least $150/hour”
You should not look into Angular JS any further right now. Use your interest in this and your frustration with not having time to learn it right now as a reward for eventually completing your big goal
“To become a highly in demand Front End Engineer, earning at least $150/hour”
This work is a valid component of your big goal so you can follow all of the “Better” steps
I have used Angular JS as the example because it is such a popular technology that very many people are already familiar with. I don’t consider myself to be an Angular JS expert and am not currently pursuing this area.
I hope that you can now create your own Good, Better, Best scenarios to identify the best course of action for yourself and achieve much better results.