Staying Current

How do you stay current in the ever changing IT industry?  Well, its time consuming. Working as a self employed consultant I need to stay current and skilled up. How as engineers can we design / implement complex network architectures using design best practices if you don’t keep your knowledge current?

What do I do to keep current?

Listen to Podcasts

Instead of listening to music while in the car or walking the dogs, I pour IT Networking podcasts into my ears.  Sometimes 4 – 5 podcasts a week.  Packet Pushers is my favorite, all the shows are excellent. The co hosts Ethan Banks and Greg Ferro are highly respected network engineers in the industy.  I also listen to Ivan Peplenjak’s podcasts.  Ivan is a Jedi in the networking industry and I’m haunting his blog site all the time, you should check out the content, its outstandingly good. Orhan Ergun has an excellent blog site with support for people studying for the CCDE.  Orhan is also a host on the Packet Pushers community channel.

Use an RSS reader!

You need to find an RSS reader, I use feeder pro as a Google Chrome App.  I’ve added lots of respected engineers blog sites to the reader and i’m alerted when they post new content.  This is invaluable. I spend at least an hour a day reading the days new blog posts from various sources I’ve collected. Feeder Pro syncs to a cloud hosted database which all my devices sync to so If I read an article on one it marks it as read on all devices.

Follow the pro’s on Twitter

Follow all the respected pros and vendors on twitter.  They often re-tweet interesting articles from others than you can then follow yourself.

Gain Certifications

Regularly study and take exams to gain certifications.  What can I say, I was a boy scout and like badges 🙂 I take multiple approaches to studying by reading books, listening to audio books / podcasts and labs. There’s a saying in the training circle :

“I see – I forget
I hear – I remember
I do – I uderstand”

I’ve mapped the above to my study plans like this:

“I see – I forget <== Reading books (although I do remember some stuff I read)
I hear – I remember <== Audio Books / Video’s / Podcasts
“I do – I understand” <== Configure it in a lab and get it working!

These are some of the key things I use to keep current.  Any suggestions you have would be appreciated!