Do you have the time to learn XYZ?
It’s Monday morning, I’ve just indulged in some tea. So I am awake – sort of – and I have this question for all of you. Do you have the time to learn?
I just finished reading about the ABAP Chicken and the ABAP Frog. Both are very interesting characters. I also have a blog I’ve been working on for a while now. It is about the time it takes to begin learning something new – and how to learn it. I’ll get it done, it’s just a matter of time. For an early hint take a look at Open Online courses by SAP.
I have been following a great coffee corner chat about unit tests. I am also one of those people who have limited time and a lot of things to learn quickly.
After reading both the chat and the blog, I figured I’d start with a “Michelle’s guide on what to learn”. That’s this blog.
Big breath – deep breath:
I am a person who will and does train on both company time and my own time. I have taken a week off of work to get to listen in to as many SAP Teched sessions as possible while they were going on. I say / type that out loud, because I – like lots of you – get defensive. I feel like I have to justify myself. Should I? No, I really shouldn’t need to do that. Just making sure people know that I do things outside of work as well as inside it – time permitting. And don’t feel like you have to even do one minute of training outside work time. There is such a thing as families, hobbies, just enjoying a good movie.. Or anything else.
There are a LOT of things to learn very quickly. I am from a small shop. It doesn’t really matter if it’s large or small. That’s just to let you know I wear many hats. Sometimes I wear ones with large holes in them, where knowledge is missing and has to be learned.
So here is my advice
Take a deep breath and decide what to focus on, and go forward from there.
But how to decide????? Shouldn’t you know everything? Not really no. Very few people can learn everything or almost everything. And trust me, they like you and I are still learning. Why? Change is constant. Learn something new and their will be 10 other things to still learn.
So how did I decide what I should focus on:
I began with Unit Tests. I started in open sap, and continued by buying a book or several. I even used unit tests in a couple of programs. Then I got busy, very busy. Since unit test were new to me, I didn’t see a big return. Hint – if you are new at something it will take a while before you see a benefit. When I started with objects, I announced to my co-workers it was stupid and took more processing time. Then I started really working at it, and began to get the benefit from it. I still laugh when I think about telling my team mates it wasn’t worth learning.
So back to unit tests, I simply didn’t have the time to develop them while trying to stay floating in my raft. Yes the waves were pretty darn high with a lot to learn. Of course, that meant I wasn’t seeing a benefit. Please take a look at the Coffee Corner discussion. There were some great insights as to why we should learn unit tests. And a great tip from Matthew Billingham.
List of my learning:
Unit tests were put on hold for me. So here is my HANA list. Your list will probably be different:
- LTMC/LTMOM for our conversion.
- CDS views
- PDF development using fragments
- Flexible workflows
- Fiori development – first with Fiori elements
- Fiori Development – UI5
- Unit tests – fell to the bottom of the list
NOTE: This was over the last couple of years. Most of it was learned as I needed it. And guess what? I’m still learning each and every thing on my list with the exception of LTMC/LTMOM as they were for our data conversions. Any Fiori development was just interesting to me. So I did just a few programs. UI5 – I’m a beginning learner. OK, I consider myself as a beginning learner on each and every one of the things on my list.
Whew! I’ve had a busy time of it. Of course, still developing and gathering requirements. Creating technical specs and functional specs. And well… You get the picture. Real work never ends while we are learning things.
And another hint if you read a different blog of mine – you might see that order different. Plans change. They have to.
So how did I get my list on where/when to learn something. This is where it is up to you as a developer to work on what’s important to YOUR job, your future job, or your own development.
How to determine your list:
- Make a plan, be ready to change that plan, and above all don’t listen to anyone else. Talk to your boss about carving out some time to learn.
- Sometimes it’s possible to just remember about a blog you’ve seen or technology you’ve learn. Then you can propose it for your next project and learn while you go. Make sure those timelines are a bit longer.
- If you can pick between 2 projects, and one of them will use a skill you have yet to learn; push yourself and choose the one with a new skill.
- You have projects that need a certain skill. Yes, learn quick.
- Something interests you. If you don’t want to learn it, you won’t.
- Some free time. Take some time and plot out what you want to learn. Then as you have some extra time, learn it. But make sure it is something you can use too. Or maybe not. Eventually you will probably use it. When that happens, you will have a basic understanding.
So my advice about learning
- Just learn and grow every day. It may not even be learning technical or for your job.
- Pick the technologies you need to do your job effectively. I would expect your list to be different than mine.
- Worried because your system is still on the “older” technologies. No worries, you can have a test system if you want. Or focus on the technologies you do use. You are not behind if you are staying up to date on your own work.
- Don’t look at what others are doing and find yourself lacking. Well… Michelle learned XYZ. I have to do that. No you don’t. In fact I’d be surprised if your list is the same as mine. Sometimes learning one skill for awhile is better. You could learn it with a larger depth than I did. FYI – if I had to use LTMC/LTMOM, I’d have to brush up on that skill. It’s lost in my brain somewhere.
Last and more important:
Give yourself permission to just enjoy coding using the dreaded “older” technologies. You have to give yourself a break or well…. You are probably going to go insane. OK – I’m a little insane myself. But I am a developer.
PS – I think not having enough time is not just an excuse. It is a viable barrier to using something you’ve learned. Or even learning something. I believe it is a bit of both.
What do you think? What is your personal list? Yes, we probably won’t follow it, but it’s always nice to know what other people are thinking about.