As a first-time part-time software developer at a small consulting company, I'm struggling to organise time to further my own software development knowledge - whether that's reading a book, keeping up with the popular questions on StackOverflow, researching a technology we're using in-depth, or following the front page of Hacker News. I can see results borne from my self-allocated study time, but listing and demonstrating the skills and knowledge gained through Professional Development is difficult.
The company does not have any defined PD policy, and there's a lot of pressure to get something deliverable done now! when working for consultants. I've checked what my coworkers do, and they don't appear to allocate any time to self-improvement; they just work at the problems they're given, looking up specific MSDN references, code samples, and the like as they need them.
I realise that PD policy is going to vary across companies of different size and culture, and a company like my own is probably a bit of an edge case. I'd love to hear views and experiences from more seasoned developers; especially those who have to make the PD policy choices in their team or company.
I'd also like to learn about the more radical approaches to PD, even if they're completely out there; it's always interesting to see what other people are trying.
Not quite a summary, but what I'm trying to ask:
- Is it common or recommended for companies to allocate PD time?
- Whose responsibility is it to ensure a developer's knowledge and skills are up to date?
- Should a part-time work schedule inspire a lower ratio of PD time : work?
- How can a developer show non-developer coworkers that reading blogs and books is net productive?
- Is reading blogs and books actually net productive? (references welcomed)
- Is writing blogs effective as a way of PD? (a recent theme on Hacker News)
This is sort of a broad question because I don't know exactly which questions I need to ask here, so any thoughts on relevant issues I haven't addressed are very welcome.