This is the eighth chapter of my Community Manager Diary, and it’s almost about how to spend your free time during the COVID-19 emergency, to grow as a better professional. If you haven’t read the previous chapters of this series, here is a link to the very first article of it.
Learning to fly, away from COVID-19
Whether you have time or if you have a little moment each day to spend reading, this is a great opportunity to learn something new. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, there’s a wide range of online courses that are offered for free or with an interesting discount.
Dear Lockdown Diary
Even today, when some aspects of our lives seem to have gone back to normal, we must not be fooled. We are still in it. There no cure for the virus yet. So, many things have remained the same: no commuting to the office or socializing with colleagues outdoors nor the noise and the shouting coming from other desks.
Essentially, no waste of time.
At first, I was using this extra time either to stay with my family or to take a moment for myself and would pick my dusty guitar. After the initial period though, I started to feel guilty. I fought I was either less productive or I was wasting a chance to improve.
I ruled out the unproductiveness because I knew I was already using all the best productivity tools and methods. That left me with no excuse. I had to go back to the books and study!
Everyone in the tech environment knows that you have to always keep up to date. Coders, in particular, know that almost every language and framework can become obsolete within months. Keeping ready for changes when they arrive is fundamental.
Most experienced developers, as you know, are self-taught. Books, website, blogs, forums, communities, just about anything that can prove valuable can make us learn. Sometimes even Google Trends can be useful!
Some others it is just a matter of instinct or passion when you pick up a new topic. Sooner than you’d expect you become hooked and take the foolish decision to start a community dedicated to it!
Now is the best time to learn
For us, at Codemotion it’s always very challenging to keep up with all the new trends since we open each C4P several months in advance to prepare the next conference. We always do our very best to help our members be informed about what’s new and hot. Even in this extreme situation with COVID-19 lockdown.
As developers ourselves, we know that it can be really hard to leave the comfort zone. After all, we already get paid for using specific stacks. So, why bother learning something new that could gather momentum for the next six months and then disappear? At times, it feels like making a bet!
However, your mind needs constant exercise. For instance, every day I try to save 30 minutes to sit on my sofa and read a book or watch a talk, or even listen to a podcast. It’s extremely rewarding as it gives me a 360-degree vision on technology, and that is extremely useful to know what our community members are truly after.
Free nourishment for hungry minds
As you may well know by now, some academies and companies have decided to offer online courses for free or with strong discounts to help people overcome the crisis. IT companies made no exception.
DataCamp has offered a full week worth of training for free while Udemy and JetBrain – just to mention a few – have some interesting offers still ongoing. We, too, decided to offer an online conference on Deep Learning for free to give our small contribution.
You never know, at the end of these troubled times all you’ll have learnt might land you a new job! I’m not saying that this is an opportunity to become a Full Stack Developer in 4 weeks, of course. But you could still give a second chance to Python or give a try to TypeScript, or even learn the basics of Blockchain.
Use the COVID-19 crisis to grow
I like to think that the COVID-19 emergency can be turned into an opportunity of some kind for all those who were not hit hard by it. I think that giving value to negative situations is a way to be respectful of those who have suffered.
Many lessons can be learnt from this and new challenges should be taken. By acquiring new skills you will be more empowered to do better not just for yourself but also for the common good. I see no better way of investing in my free time.
Check out Chapter 9 of Francisco’s diary at this link!