How to get better at writing software (or any other skill)?

“It shows a dump of forgotten memories. Scrapped and disappearing. The same process happens to knowledge - read and not used.”

Don’t learn in advance

Is it about reading more books or courses? Yes and no. Books and courses do count. Yet, there’s one more important thing to do.

While knowledge that lies in books, videos, podcasts is worthy, it is what we do with it, not how much we ingest. Knowledge alone is like ideas - worth nothing unless implemented. It’s same as computer software. You could plan to build next Instagram or Facebook. What separates plans from becoming next tech giants is execution.

It is the key to bring live knowledge you get. It is crucial to try what you learn. Otherwise you take time reading interesting article, even revolutionary. And without proper action, this piece of content lies in the dark corner of your mind, forgotten.

Have you ever watched “Inside out” movie? This animation visualized processes occuring in a mind - mine, yours, everyone’s. It shows a dump of forgotten memories. Scrapped and disappearing. The same process happens to knowledge - read and not used.

Who knows how much knowledge I’ve left behind. I’ve read something interesting many times, yet I didn’t bring it on. It was twice the waste. Time to read and not using the opportunity to improve. Imagine, it’s even worse than if I don’t ever read that article!

Of course if you get piece of knowledge and use it not immediately, but later - it’s not wasted time. Yet, how much content do we remember after a week or month? Not much, only scraps.

Use this to improve learning

  1. Learn ‘just in time’. Do not hoard knowledge. Do not change your brain to scrapyard. Be agile and light. Learn a concept when you need it.

I’ve made this error not once or twice, but most of time. I love to read. But reading is not the same as action. I’m still struggling with this one and I try to beat it step by step.

  1. Do it till you learn, practice. The quickest way of learning is by doing. Of course it’s applicable where it won’t hurt anybody. But even there’s a replacement. VR helps, simulations help. Try to make as real excercises as possible, not only reading. You can, for example, try your new knowledge as a code kata (deliberate practice).

  2. Attack the topic (you are learning) from various angles. The more ways of learning you use, the better it’s wired inside your brain. Even changing your environtment helps as your mind have to adapt to changes.

What are your ways of learning? Share your thoughts