Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.
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In June 2009 we created a survey for UK developers to tell us how they prefer to learn about technology which we used as input into planning for a number of activities in the UK in the second half of the year.

I just “rediscovered” the raw data and thought it was interesting enough to share more widely.

Top level:

  • Most folks are generalists
  • Web is “where it is at” for many
  • We each have to invest a lot of time in learning technology
  • Search trumps colleagues for answers
  • Few of us have certifications but many of us would like to have them

Who did we survey?

We publicised the survey through the MSDN Flash newsletter, hence it is pretty safe to assume they were in the large developers targeting the Microsoft platform.

  • 53% described themselves as generalists, 47% specialists
  • The specialists were in the main Web Developers (41%) or Solution Architects (23%)

Around 100 developers responded to the survey.

How much time do folks spend on learning?

It is probably no surprise to find that the increased pace of technology change means we are spending a lot of hours each week learning about technology  - as opposed to using it to get stuff done. I think this also recognises that most respondents were “generalists” – meaning a need to be broad on technology and less skill reuse across projects.

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How do folks learn about new technology?

Here we see the tendency to lean heavily on search to find out about technology and the low number of developers who use classroom training. Online training and videos are fairly popular – although in each case around 50% do not use them.

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We had a bunch of similar questions and search constantly come out high – 97% in the case of “How do you look for answers to resolve issues” easily beating “colleagues, mentors and peers” at 42%. 

Focus for next 12 months?

Web is a clear winner here – but Rich Client holds up strong although not UX Design.

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Microsoft Certifications?

Looks like for lots of folks the certification exams are irrelevant, although oddly many people are planning to take them. Maybe it is a bit like New Years resolutions :)

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