If you’re a software engineer, like me, spending most of your time working on projects and ideas, you probably only end up using the specific skills and knowledge required by those projects. It’s likely that you rarely get a chance to review what you know in other areas or to look into new topics, programming languages and technology.
With this in mind, I’ve been on a (Kindle) book buying spree, and will be spending a few hours each day filling in those gaps, whilst working out ways to put the new knowledge to use… because nothing solidifies a new topic like actual use.
So because that worked so well last time, it’s time to pick a new topic again and I’m currently torn between another language supported by the JVM (which would seem logical), or something entirely new. I haven’t decided yet.
If you don’t “sharpen the saw” (as Stephen Covey calls it in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”), you can end up reaching a point where your skill base has dated quite severely, through only looking in rather a blinkered manner at the next project, and the next project, etc. You have to pause occasionally and figure out how to maintain and add to the tools you have at your disposal.
It’s hard to find the time, but I realise it may also help me to come up with new project ideas. Often when you aren’t looking directly for new ideas, connections are made and they seem to pop up. Yet another reason to sharpen the saw occasionally.