Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Leveraging the Community to be a Better ...

I'm giving a presentation at work about leveraging communitites to become a better developer/tester/sys admin and I thought that I should really drink the kool-aid and make it a better presentation by involving the community. Over the next week, I'll be making a series of blog posts covering the material from my presentation. I'd really like to see two outcomes:

  1. hopefully people outside my workplace will find the ideas worthwhile and be able to use them.
  2. ideally, readers will be interested in sharing their ideas and experiences
Before I get to the specifics, let me share three themes that my presentation was built on.

First, a set of three books that helped guide many of my ideas: The Pragmatic Programmer, Pragmatic Thinking & Learning, The Passionate Programmer. These books have a lot of great ideas, and have each impacted the way I think about learning and acting on the things I've learned. I hope they're each high on your reading list as well.

I'd also like to develop an idea of inside out learning. For a developer, that means that you might start with your chosen language, then move on to learning about other programming languages (especially those unlike yours), next comes studying your industry, finally, the infrastructure you develop on and for (the OS, network, server hardware, etc.) Similar approaches might be sketched out for non-developers.

Finally, based on the idea of Sears' "Good, Better, and Best" model I'd like to talk about three levels of involvment in the community: Passive, Engaged, and Committed. Passive involvement yields the smallest results, but is still worthwhile. Because being engaged in the community causes you to spend more time working with the ideas and skills you're trying to gain, it provides more personal improvement. The greatest gains come when you are so involved in a community that you're helping teach others about the things you're trying to learn.

each of these ideas is probably worth a blog post or two. After I work through the five main ways to leverage the community in your own career, maybe I'll get back to these (if no one's beaten me to it.)

Here are the five topics I'll be talking about in more detail. As each post goes up, I'll link to it from this list:

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matt harrison said...

Sounds interesting. Are you going to post your slides?

gnupate said...

Hi Matt.

Sadly, my employer will not allow me to post slides. The good news is that the real content will be in the blog posts (and subsequent discussion), so you won't miss anything if you follow along here.

Mr. Neighborly said...

Great to see you blogging again! I'm really looking forward to this series.