It’s tough keeping your skills up to date—especially when it comes to a fast paced industry like the web. Whilst it’s not possible to keep on top of everything, there are a few resources and tools available to make things a little easier. Here’s the resources I use.
Subscribe to Newsletters and Read Blogs
There’s a load of great blogs to read out there from A List Apart, to Smashing Magazine. Quite often though, you don’t need to visit all these blogs—if you subscribe to email newsletters. I don’t think it’s good for you to get an information overload either from reading loads of blogs from all over the place. These newsletters often pick the best of the bunch from the main sources—and others—for you each week. Here’s the email newsletters I subscribe to.
Listen to Podcasts
Listening to podcasts is handy when you’re busy doing something else. Like a nutter, I tend to listen to podcasts when out running or cleaning the house—rather than listen to music. Music seems to be a waste of time when I could be digesting something. I wrote another blog post a little while ago about the podcasts I listen to.
A bit like the email newsletters collecting the best articles so you don’t need to—Twitter can have the same effect. If you follow the right people. I don’t look out for hashtags on Twitter to find content. If a good article pops up, quite often a few people in my feed end up linking to it. I try to keep those I follow to a minimum to cut out the noise.
Go To Events
Depending on the event or conference you attend, they can be a great way to get an overview of everything condensed into just a few days. If you were away from the industry for a year, I bet with a conference and some selective reading you could get into the swing of things again. I wrote about the benefits of attending a conference before.
I use IFTTT a lot. It’s a tool that connects lots of different web services via triggers. For example, if there is something I want to check out later on Twitter I favourite it. IFTTT emails me all my favourites so I can action them from my inbox later.
I also use Pocket as a read later service. One of my actions from the IFTTT email might be to check out an article. If I open that article up and it’s something I want to read when I have more time I check it into Pocket. This creates a reading archive I dip into when on a break or when travelling.