You are in front of your computer, wanting to learn a new technology for your job, or because you have this awesome idea on what will be the next Angry Birds. Whether you are a professional, a student or a hobbyist, learning a technology is sometimes a challenge. Where to start? In this blog post, I will give you my tips around getting up to speed with a new technology.
Before your start
If you are not limited to a specific technology, like someone who has to learn the next programming language for their work, you may ask yourself, which one fit the best my needs. A good way to see what the industry is using or what is the thoughts about this new HTML5 thing you saw on the Web last day, online community is the best place to start. I go often to a place call Stack Overflow. It’s really a good place for technical and sometimes, more high level discussion/questions. You can also go to places like LinkedIn.
I know which programming language I want to learn
Now you know what you want to learn. Personaly, I'm still a fan of book, or in a digital world, eBook. You can buy great books on site like Amazon or directly from the publisher like O’reilly or Microsoft Press. You can also go on a site like the MSDN blog to find great resources. If you are ready to invest some money, you can use website like Lynda.com that gives you a lot of tutorial for a monthly fee. Furthermore, never underestimate good music for the learning process!
I want to go further
If you want to learn more, you can also go to conference or users group. There are so many conferences about technology that you have plenty of choices. Just in the top of my head for the next month, I can suggest you PrairieDevCon for Calgary people, Confoo for Montreal people or Le Web à Québec for French people. OK, I know more conferences from Quebec since I’m living there, but search the Web, and you will find a lot more. Don’t forget user groups: there are so many that offer top quality presentation for free or a minimal fee. Here is a list to start.
Prove your knowledge
What happening after I learn the technology? For sure, you will use it for the project or the work you had in mind, but there are more ways to test your competencies. You can take a certification exam or participate in some competitions, hackfests or even take advantage of things like the Developer Movement. A great way to build your next idea, have some fun, be creative, win some prize and for sure, validate your learning process.
It’s not a big step by step process, but these are my tricks to get up to speed with a new technology, what are yours? How do you start the learning process?
Image Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jitze1942/4292084185/
I'm a big fan of the C# language, and so I've been using books for that.