How to stay on the cutting edge of programming in 2016

I’m a restless software developer. Meaning, there are some languages and frameworks I like, but I also want to try new languages, frameworks, and new technology in general. But my job, personal projects, and family matters keep me very busy.

My dilemma:

  1. I want to stay on the cutting edge of programming.
  2. When I see a language or framework I find interesting, I want to try it out.
  3. I don’t have time to look for a lot of content on internet, and it is difficult to find good content fast.
  4. I live in a small city, and the developer community is very small.

This is a problem I need to solve. I think I have finally found the solution and I’m going to share it with you.

Related to my geographical location, I wrote a blog post some months ago, explaining: Why We need Remote Meetups.

Remote Meetups are my first solution to stay up to date and to be more involved with the community. Remote Meetups allow me to meet people from all over the world. I’ve participated in meetups with amazing people from France, USA, Canada, Taiwan, Brazil, and many other countries!

One remote meetup we were live streaming, ParisRb
Interview with Mike Perham, sidekiq creator

Remote Meetup also provides opportunities to interview amazing people and strengthens the community. It provides the community direct opportunities to ask questions and learn from others interested in the same languages and frameworks. Currently, we are live streaming ParisRb:, a Ruby meetup in Paris — which according to Meetup.com, is the biggest meetup in Europe. With this, people from ParisRb also has access to new speakers from other countries.

Interview with Dan Abramov, redux creator

In general, we try to invite speakers from the Open Source community. Of course, these guys love to help people! This is one of the best ways I try to keep up to speed, meet more people, and see how the community is moving.

Unfortunately, this still takes a big time commitment , but I’m trying to keep this idea up and running, not only for me, but because I think this will also help others.

This solution solves problems (2) and (4), but it doesn’t really help me find good content on the internet quickly. Remote Meetup sadly does not increase the amount of hours in my day.

I don’t have time to sit and watch 3 hour videos about general content. None of us have that kind of time!

When I was at school, I would write lists of subjects I wanted to study or improve, but I usually did not accomplish my goals, because of poor time management and study methods. I have since discovered and come to love the Distributed Practice method and I think this is the best way for me to learn new things.

What is the Distributed Practice method? Basically, instead of sitting and learning something for 3 hours, I divide that learning into smaller blocks of time. It reminds me of the Divide and Conquer approach.

Recently, I’ve discovered DailyDrip. After my first look at their website, I was convinced I needed to use it to stay up to date. They are one of the only subscription learning services that practices the Distributed Practice method. After following the elm topic for several days, I truly believed this is the way people should learn, especially busy software engineers like me.

How to distribute your learning in chunks

DailyDrip helps me solve problems (1) and (3). I don’t need to waste time searching for good content on the internet because their experts dedicate themselves to doing that for me. Also, with this idea of Distributed Practice in mind, I can divide everything I want to learn and try to study just a little bit every day. Believe me, it works!

This is the approach I’m using to stay on the cutting edge of programming in 2016. What is your approach? Please, let me know in the comments!

P.S.: I'm not saying with this text you should only learn frameworks and not study the principles behind those. I suppose you already have a good understanding of the basic principles. Of course, the basic principles and theory behind it's the basics. If you don't feel you know the basics, stop and learn the basics and the fundamental principles.