20 Minute Talk: Leveling Up as a Technologist

Reading Time: 3 minutes

To thrive as a technologist, you need to constantly level up your skill set. That sounds daunting: after all, there’s so much to learn.

But leveling up is a skill that you can sharpen. We talk about it a lot on this blog.

I give a talk about some techniques that you can use to get better at leveling up. Most recently, I did it for Chicago’s Chipy Lunch Break Meetup. We got a video recording of the talk! A huge thank you goes to 8th Light in Chicago for getting this whole recording right: the screen cam, the speaker cam, the audio, everything.

Here’s a set of freeze frames for your entertainment. Apparently I talk like this:

I don’t picture myself doing all these things with my hands.

The video is almost an hour, but the talk itself takes 22 minutes. I answer questions for the other 26 minutes. Below I have embedded the recording for you to watch at your leisure.

I have a transcript for the extended version of the talk available right here. Also, I made a catalogue below that lists all the questions the audience asked me and links to the time of the video where the audience member asked the question. Not all of the questions have to do directly with leveling up.

Question Catalogue:

21:48 What blog post was most fulfilling for you to write?

24:06 How do you come up with practice projects that you use for learning?

25:48 What’s the best way to reach out to you?

26:04 Have you been able to get other people to [try out commit tracing]?

27:00 Have you ever gone back to a committer and [suggested changes to their work that you traced]?

28:26 Do you prefer squashing to merging?

29:05 How do you [selectively decide which of your skills to maintain]?

31:08 How do you decide which questions are practical to care about the answers?

34:36 Do you like GraphQL?

34:59 How do you stop yourself from going down the rabbit hole of related but different skills when you’re building a skill?

37:14 Why does everybody hate HackerRank? (And what do you value about self-directed projects over HackerRank challenges)?

42:28 How do you get help from people you don’t know?

47:25 How do you make time for blogging?

If you liked this post, you might also like:

This podcast recording (warning: kind of a long podcast)

This other podcast recording (also a long podcast, but a more canonically tech-related one)

Seniority means saying no (I don’t have many reasons to link to this, but I think the message is important)

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