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Where do you find the time?

I am sure there are lots of us in this very common situation.

You have a job that's demanding. In other words you need to put in 50+ hours/week and yet you are expected to keep up with what's happening on the bleeding edge technology and open source end.

Any suggestions folks how you do it? Reading blogs or papers on C++ or ruby is hardly an option during office unless of course you want to give up on lunch.

Also, what would you want to read? There are way too many C++ tools and ruby gems that are relevant to my work -- can't read them all, right?

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You need to get a life or change a job. –  Job Aug 6 '11 at 3:23
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Expected by your employer or is this just in your head? –  JeffO Aug 7 '11 at 12:03
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marked as duplicate by Paddyslacker, Walter, Anna Lear Aug 8 '11 at 3:24

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3 Answers

I personally believe that if a company really wanted the best from their employees then they should allow an amount of time allocated during the day to reading, learning and searching of new technologies.

You say you are expected to keep up with new technologies but doing it at work is not an option unless it's at lunchtime. That shoulds like a contradiction in your employees expectations to me. Have you ever mentioned it to your manager? I was of the same opinion recently until I brought it up in conversation and my boss was happy for me to spend 30mins a day reading online blogs, involved in forums and generally trying to keep upto date. In fact he encouraged it during our discussion.

My first suggestion then would be to bring it up with your manager. You might be pleasantly suprised.

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Agreed, it is definitely not an outlandish request, and it will show your boss that you are more than willing to stay current in your respective field/technology if allowed. Nobody respectable would look down on that. –  user29981 Aug 6 '11 at 3:52
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Your definition of what it means to be a good programmer is in conflict with your employer's. Startup/struggling companies often don't have the luxury of giving you free time to broaden your skill set. They need the billable hours or need to get the product shipped so they can start making money. Some are miopic and don't see the need for career growth or some sort of life balance.

When I've worked for more mature and/or profitable companies, they are in a better position to provide training and time for self-learning. Startups may not have the money, so they offer a little more freedom to improve job satisfaction.

Instead of being only focused on knowing what's on the bleeding edge, start learning things to help you on the job. Get things done in less time. It could be programming related or some form of time management. At some point, working for someone that totally micro-manages your time, is a sign you need to look elsewhere. Ask yourself why you were not able to recognize this problem with your current employer and how are you going to avoid repeating this mistake.

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There are way too many C++ tools and ruby gems that are relevant to my work -- can't read them all, right?

If they are truly relevant to your work, then you should have the time to read about and understand the tools that you are using in order so that you can use them better and more effectively. This is especially true if you are using a tool or library that you have never used before new version of a tool or library. Having this knowledge will improve the quality of your work, and therefore make the end product better.

Also, what would you want to read?

For obvious reasons, you can't read everything about everything. You probably can't even read everything about what you do use. You can, however, prioritize and read what is essential to get your job done in the best possible manner.

If you are getting pushback from your bosses, you need to discuss it with them and evaluate your position. If you aren't being given any opportunity to do your job better, is this really a supervisor or company that you want to work for?

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