If you really do not want to become a great developer or team lead, avoid doing anything and everything on this list;
- Spend time learning and staying on top of new technologies.
- Join a local user group focussed around a specific platform for technology that allows you to network with your peers.
- Join groups on LinkedIn to stay abreast of industry trends.
- Setup Google Alerts to receive emails to your inbox focussed around certain technologies and trends.
- Watch videos upload to YouTube that walk you through the How-Tos many different ways.
- Read some (not all) of the blog content out there to get ideas on how to solve problems.
- Share your code and examples via CodePlex or GitHub.
- Write the most complex Hello World example you can think of.
- Start a blog and share your ideas – not just the good, but the bad, the ugly.
Pretty dumb right? Who would wilfully choose to any of the above where the only requirements are some online accounts (free), an internet connection and a computer (the last two having at work, a library or your home).
Going to conferences and drinking from the Firehose is great (and yes it’s fun), you get to sit back as someone walks through their presentation and than (hopefully) discuss the pros and cons over beers with your colleagues later that evening. I have always thought of conferences as more a perk and a “Thank you” vs an actual training session. If anything they are the catalyst to move you into a certain direction.
If you are like many, only happens once a year for 1 week a year.
So the real question becomes – “Why limit yourself to what you might receive in a year for that one week?” – when you have so much around to help you out for free.