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How to learn new skills while having a job as a programmer

When and what to study on the side. Studying part-time is great because it can give you more flexibility to pursue your dreams without compromising your career goals.

On average, we work 40 hours per week. If you’re single, that leaves around 16 hours per week to dedicate to learning new skills. Of course, it is different for everyone. Some people may have family and kids that take up most of their time, while others have another job that they are working in addition to their programming job. So learning new skills might not be a priority (or possible) for everyone.

But for many people, learning new skills can have a big effect on their career and long-term success. It can help us land better jobs and opportunities in the future.

How to find time to learn a new skill?

If you already have a family (especially kids), try having a healthy discussion with your spouse to have extra time for learning, either daily or on Saturday, whatever works for both of you. Make sure to communicate the goal of this extra learning, which can improve your life in general.

If you are single, it might be much easier to find time to study on the side. Just schedule the time in your calendar and don’t forget about it!

“If it’s not in your schedule, it’s not real” - Tim Ferriss

Creating a study plan will help you achieve your learning goals faster. You can start by creating a calendar with dates for the different topics that you want to cover.

See how other people did it on Quore how do you find time to learn new skills if you have a family and children to take care

What should you learn?

Ideally, something you’re excited about. Nowadays, almost every passion can translate into a profitable business or become a nice hobby. I would recommend focusing on things that you are really interested in and focus on skills that are practical and useful to you.

Another tip that might be helpful, is to learn based on where you want to work next. Let’s say you want to work at a startup that’s focused on e-commerce in the future. You should learn some things that are relevant to that particular field.

In “e-commerce” case, depending on your role, you can make fun but a super relevant projects that can help you stay above other candidates when apply for the job. For example:

Frontend role: Build a web app that enables customers to order a product from their mobile device while still having an awesome experinece just like on desktop

Backend role: Create a backend system that can deal with millions of orders a day and keep scaling smoothly without a single outage. (Of course, you don’t have to make a real order or real e-commerce) just a simulation of your system. That’s just an example, but you can try about anything you like!

Make sure to publish your code with very clear information (normally on readme) at Github or any other git services.

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