How do you find time? (WAS: Learning to code on the cheap)

Subject: How do you find time? (WAS: Learning to code on the cheap)
From: amdohlman -at- uwalumni -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 07:18:18 -0600

Karen asked:
> I don't want to become a coder, but I'd like to build up my technical
> knowledge so I can become more self-sufficient...

Mike West replied:
>> Which approach best suits your learning style? I got thrown into the
>> deep end years ago. The boss said "change this program"..I'd never even
>> looked at code...but after a few late nights and lots of swearing and
>> re-keying lost code from printouts, I was on my way. The boss thought I
>> could do it, and he was right.

>> If I'd done it "my way" I'd probably *still* be reading the
>> introductory chapter to Programming for Dummies.

Mike's got a point here - I bought a "Learn Perl in 21 Days" book over a
year ago and still have yet to get past the first few lessons. However, if
I *had* to learn Perl (or some other language) to successfully complete my
day-to-day duties on the job, I'd have learned Perl ages ago. (Luckily,
the way my developers wrote Perl, it was very easy to read through that
code and find out what the script did for my doc needs.)

For everyone out there, how do you find the time to stay current? Do you
read up/work during off hours? If so, do you ever have to deal with the "I
work in front of a computer for 8 hours a day, I'm not going to do it at
home" syndrome (of which I'm a sufferer)? Are you able to work it in
during slow times at work? If so, have you ever had any problems with your
boss and how did you work it out? Increasing my technical knowledge during
slow periods at work would really be ideal - here's where I'm focused and
here's where I've got the fast connection and all the software I need -
but I'm concerned my boss might view it negatively. Do you clear it with
your boss first? Does it even matter? How do you find the time to keep up
and increase your technical skills?

Amy Dohlman


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