Friday, October 14, 2011

Fastest Way to Learn

Here's the fastest way I've found to learn the core skills of an IT architect / specialist. Unfortunately and with much embarrassment, I didn't figure this out on my own. It took that huge project failure mentioned earlier, a great boss, and caring mentors to set me on the right path:
  1. Find an experienced team with a history of delivering projects into production, and do whatever it takes to get on that team.
  2. Stay with the project through delivery to production. Even better, stay with the project through the first service release.
  3. Be a major contributor. Shift rolls as necessary to maintain this status (i.e. requirements lead to design lead to testing lead).
  4. Keep your eyes and ears open. Roll up your sleeves and learn everything you can from the 'stars' on that team.
Repeat this as often as you can throughout your career to continue your growth and keep your skills current.

Lesson learned: To accelerate learning and keep your skills current, serve as a major contributor on an accomplished delivery team throughout a project's life-cycle. Repeat.

16 May 2012 Update: Be sure to read the Fastest Way to Learn Part 2.