5 ways to get more out of your non-fiction reading

Flicking through pages can only take you so far. If you want to digest and get the most out of your non-fiction reading time, you'll need a plan; a strategy.

I’ve been recently pushing myself to improve certain knowledge gaps. Whilst thinking about how to tackle the problem I ended up posing myself a question:
 
When have I made the biggest learning improvements in the past? How did I do it? And can I repeat that process?
 
The answer took me back to when I was a student …it was when I read non-fiction. a lot.

Plot twist! Your portfolio is not about you …

A subtle change in the way you set out your developer portfolio can make a huge difference for it's impact and reach.

For developers, portfolios have become more commonplace. Which in itself is a wonderful thing. It’s a great tool to showcase your work and your passion. I even believe it’s one of the best investments you can make as a developer. Especially if you’re starting out. But, I made a mistake when I created mine years ago. I wish I could go back and do things again. Because there is something that I’d change.

Why “Should you build your portfolio with code or a template?” is the wrong question

Asking which way to build your portfolio is only half the question: the real question is how do you deliver what the market demands.

If you want to step up your developer career you might be considering creating a portfolio. If you are, bravo! Having a portfolio immediately puts you ahead of the curve. So, you sit down with a coffee in hand and debate the best ways to create your website and a thought crosses your mind:
 
Do I create my portfolio in code, or do I use a template?
 
This question came up recently on a front end developer forum. The answers that emerged were short and shallow. Did they answer the question? Yes. Will they help the developer get hired? I’m not so sure.

The best software developers write, you should too

10 reasons you should write. Gain clarity over your thoughts, get better job satisfaction and accelerate your career.

The rules are changing. Especially for knowledge workers like software developers. It’s impacting how we should craft our careers. The opportunities and the tools we have are different to the years before. Writing platforms are one of these big shifts. We have the ability to share our ideas with large audiences. It’s simpler than ever. Mainstream media influence is yielding to the power of individual influencers. Only a handful of developers will identify this opportunity. Even less act on it.
If you insist on playing todays games by yesterdays rules, you’re stuck – Seth Godin, Tribes.

Why learning a new framework could damage your career.

Asking questions such as "Which framework should I learn?" is asking the wrong question. Instead, you should be asking, where should I spend my energy to improve my mastery.

 A water-tight career strategy for your personal brand is your most important asset. Having one will:
  • Guide your decision making
  • Lead you closer to fulfilment
  • Create more purpose in your work
It also puts the power back in your hands. You can write blogs, speak at talks, read books – these are all activities well within your power. With so much choice, how you spend your time has never been more important.

Overcome the fear of selling yourself

Most would admit to wanting more feelings of purpose. We spend most of our time at our jobs. It would be logical, then - to ensure that our jobs have this purpose. If you're a developer and you don't have "a speciality", "a niche" or "a brand". It could be the first step you take towards achieving feelings of purpose.

I’d always hated the idea of “selling” myself. The thought of interviews made me sick. It felt so egotistical. I even asked my father to fill out the about me section of my CV. I couldn’t bring myself to do it.