Know Your Shit

Ever go to a tech conference and think ‘Wow, that guy really knows his shit!’? It’s not impossible to be as good at something as that guy is, but it does take work, which is probably why most people don’t do it.

How to Get to Know Your Shit

So, how do you get to really know your shit? Here’s a list of things you should try to do:

  • Attend conferences. If you can, attend a few conferences each year. You’ll not only learn about new tools and technologies, but you’ll come away inspired and with a renewed energy. And, if you make an effort to not stand in the corner staring at your shoes, hopefully you’ll also meet some people and make some new connections.
  • Question everything. You may know how to do something, but do you really know why you’re doing it that way? Is there some other way that might be better? It’s not enough to just find a snippet online that solves a particular problem and blindly paste it into your code before moving on to the next thing. You need to understand what that snippet does.
  • Follow the right people. It’s important to follow people who already know their shit so that you can learn from the best. It doesn’t really matter if you follow them on Twitter, Google+ or elsewhere, just as long as you do. It helps to continuously curate this list so that you don’t have to wade through a whole bunch of irrelevant content and kitty pictures before getting to the good stuff.
  • Make learning a priority. It’s not enough to just follow the right people. You need to take the time to actually go through your feeds and read the things that people are sharing. Work this process into your daily routine so that you can stay on top of it and not feel overwhelmed or miss important information. You’ll be amazed at all the good stuff you’ll learn about if you do!
  • Apply what you learn. Of course, simply learning about new tools and techniques is fairly useless if you don’t apply them. Look for ways to use them in your daily work or, if there isn’t any practical way you can apply it, then create a personal project and use it there.

So, what techniques work for you when it comes to knowing your shit?