“How the hell do you stay updated?”


I received that question from our freelancer James, who saw me working on an Objective-C iPad app one day and a Three.js/Javascript web application the other day. He asked how I learned all those things that seemed like Greek to him, and we had a very long conversation about it.

As a creative person, it isn’t easy to stay updated with the latest techniques and technologies, we all know that. A lot of people don’t want to take extra courses when they are back home from a full day of work but just want to lie down and put that digital world away.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that and you should have a life without this digital world, but I personally think that it doesn’t stop after your work hours.

So, how the hell do I stay updated? The next steps listed below help me personally to stay updated with the latest trends and techniques.
Quick note: this is viewed from a designer / developer perspective and this works for me, I’m just sharing my view on this right here.

1 — Twitter
The key is to follow the right people that post the right things that you want to learn about or that interest you. That’s why you should follow only people that give you value about your work and not your little sister who talks about little ponies.
If you think that Twitter is just another channel of distraction, there is an app called Something good to read, which gives you offline articles from people that you follow. You can swipe Tinder-wise to the left and right if you like an article or not.

Something good to read

I use this app everyday when I’m in the subway heading home becausethere is no phone connection in there.

2 — Podcasts
As I use Something good to read in the evening, I listen everyday to a podcast when I’m on my way to work.
They are a very good way of keeping your eyes away from your (mobile) screen and just listening to someone that is saying interesting things in your ears.

I’m personally crazy about podcasts because they give you some much information. I know, maybe you want to listen to your favourite song , but I listen to music all day when I’m working, so I don’t have the need to listen to my jams in the morning.
Even when I’m in the gym, I’m always listening to podcasts. It’s my way of being quiet and stay updated at the same time.

Some of my favourite podcasts are: The Big Web Show, Shoptalk, Tentative, Working Out, Design Details, Greyscalegorilla, Design Matters, On The Grid, Seanwes, The Web Ahead and much more.
I’m always in for learning new podcasts, so please let me know if you listen to some that aren’t in this list.

3 — Blogs
Reading blogs is a good way of finding out what people are working on and the problems that they were struggling with. It’s very interesting how people can find something special and originally, maybe in a way that none of us would expect it.

That’s what I like about blogs, it’s not just the result that they give you, people tell you how they got to that point and how they found the inspiration to get the result.

A few of my favourite blogs are: Webdesignerdepot, Smashing Magazine, The Next Web, Siteinspire, Muzli (which has an awesome Chrome extension), From Up North, Design Mag, Creative Bloq, Abduzeedo, Codrops, CSS Tricks, DesignModo, David Walsh, Treehouse, Line 25, …

If this is a lot to go to everyday, which I totally understand, there is still such a thing as RSS (welcome back to 2000) but I’m a big fan of Feedly which I think does a great job showing (new) blog articles.

Feedly

4 — Just look at other work
This seems like pretty logical, but looking at other people’s work can make you learn stuff too.

As a developer you can easily see the code of every experiment or website.
If I find something special or something that I don’t know how to do, I just check out other people’s code and try to do it on my own.
That’s why I think CodePen is one of the coolest websites around, for example: I always wanted to learn WebGL & Three.js, so that’s why I found an experiment on CodePen, and I just copied it on my own way.
Then I made my own design, changed the values and you’ll get something way different. It’s all in the practise.

If you are a designer, you probably know Dribbble too. A lot of people don’t like it because there are a lot of the same styles and that gives the feeling that people aren’t original anymore. Personally, I love Dribbble because I like the system, just a simple shot of what you are working on. Honestly? I’m even really jealous that I didn’t invent Dribbble, because it’s awesome.
Other good websites to find design inspiration are: Behance, Designspiration, Niice, Sitespire, Pinterest, Awwwards,…

5 — Leave your computer and meet up
I’m crazy about meetups, it’s a good way to meet new people, learn new stuff and create connections. The Meetups application does a great job, you can subscribe to groups and have a calendar with your next meetups.

Big events like SXSW, OFFF.net Generate, FITC, … are even cooler because they always have the best speakers and the atmosphere is even nicer.


So I hope this helps you to stay updated, if you have any questions or additions to this article, please don’t hesitate to connect me at my Twitter or Email.
I recently moved to New York too, so I’m always in for a coffee or a beer!