After my realization regarding the technical debt I was accruing, I made a greater effort to consume information about programming and being a programmer on both hard and soft skills. One of the ways I did this was turning over my commute time (roughly 40 minutes each way) to listening to programmer based podcasts rather than the radio, and a second way was I bought a couple of books on development.
What's amusing is that both things led me to John Sonmez. At this time, I can't remember exactly which podcast it was, but they had an interview with him regarding learning, just being a good programmer and his blog/company Simple Programmer (https://simpleprogrammer.com). And I had also purchased his book The Complete Software Developer's Guide (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073X6GNJ1) on my Kindle.
So of course I read the book and in the process surrendered my email for some additional content. Which of course got me on a mailing list.
So here I am, reading this book, listening to podcasts, a number of which focused on "soft skills" and other things just trying to get caught back up, when an item from that mailing list appears offering me the option of enrolling in a email-based blogging course (https://simpleprogrammer.com/blog-course).
I couldn't argue with the cost (Free!), so I thought why not.
I mean I have a programming blog, and have had one for a decade now. The first post on it was December of 2006 and I posted quite regularly for the next 5 years, generating a bit over 200 posts until life (2 young kids and a wife) and work apparently overwhelmed my posting schedule. As an unrelated aside, I also had a SF/Geek-life blog that had nearly twice that many posts in the same time frame.
So, I had this blog that had not had any new content in seven years, I knew that the best way for me to internalize new information and knowledge was to write about it, and I had just signed up for a blogging course for programmers.
I'm not going to lie, there is nothing truly new in this course that I'd not seen previously. It's a solid, well thought out presentation of those elements, and condensed for ease of consumption.
But I'm also fairly certain that I'm not quite exactly the desired audience as I had ran a blog in the past, and had let it lapse as the time I spent on it was rededicated to my family and completing customer projects at work. And while I have no complaints regarding the extra time that it gave me with my kids, I also realized that writing the blog was something that kept me learning, and kept my brain engaged.
Scott Berkun has a book entitled The Dance of the Possible: the mostly honest completely irreverent guide to creativity, and has this to say about creativity:
The word create is a verb. It’s an action. Creativity is best thought of in the same way—it’s something you can use while involved in an activity, like painting, writing, debating or dancing.
And this is what the blog was for me. It kept me creative and engaged. It was a verb aspect of how I learned about my craft.
Which is why I think every developer needs one, or a podcast, or a twitch stream, or something that allows them to create and to internalize as they learn.