I’ve been pretty terrible at keeping up with the #startYourShift challenge, and this month is barely an improvement. This months topic: “Web Education”.
Web Education can encompass a variety of topics. For our purpose here, I’m going to briefly touch on the topic from the vantage points I typically deal with.
Sharing with co-workers
As professionals, it’s our obligation to not only take time to improve our own knowledge, but those we work with. On any given day, our group chat at work will include a variety of links to blog posts, tutorials, or webinar sign-ups. I find it a real blessing to work with a great team, all of whom want to improve and push the web forward. We share new techiniques and ideas with each other. We discuss these ideas, try them out, and figure out how we can adapt them to our needs. We push each other to improve and not become stagnant in our craft.
AKA “blogging”. A lot of web professionals are wary of starting a blog. The reasons range from “someone has probably already written about this” to “I don’t want to sound dumb”. Well, the fact is, we’re all learning and working our way through this web thing every day. All of our experiences are unique, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from each other. By putting our thoughts and experiences on the web, we’re making it possible for people to learn our wins and losses. And even if someone has posted something similar to yours, it may be your post that helps someone solve a problem, either by the way its written, or the examples provided.
The process of putting together a curriculum is an interesting excercise. As someone who’s been involved in the web and learned as it’s changed, trying to put together a linear process for someone to learn everything that it takes to build a modern website can be challenging. It’s really eye-opening how much we take our experience for granted. Breaking a specific topic down to its base level and presenting it in a way a beginner can understand requires one to really understand it themselves, and not as easy as you might think. Do you have a local community college? Check their course offerings, and if they don’t have a modern and up-to-date intro to web development, contact the school and pitch the class. You may end up with a highly rewarding side-job.
Presenting at conferences and meet-ups, like teaching, forces one to really get to know a topic. To be perfectly honest, I’ve submitted talks to conferences for topics I knew very little about, but of which I wanted to learn more. And then, if/when they get accepted, I really have to dive in and learn as much about the topic as I can in a short period time. And then on top of that, I also need to figure out the best way to present the topic in a logical order. Even if you’re an introvert (like myself), presenting at conferences be a great way to learn new things and meet a lot of fantastic peers.
We all learn and grow on a day-to-day basis. We should all make it a point to share what we learn in whatever way we find comfortable. So start a blog. Do a lightening talk at a conference or meetup. Learn something new and figure out how to teach it to others. Share your experiences, be they wins or losses. You may just end up really helping someone else learn and grow.