10 ways to Learn a new Programming language or Tech skills in 2020?

One of the main challenges of being a programmer or software engineer is constant learning. Yes, that's true. As a programmer or developer, we always need to learn new things, sometimes every year. Thanks to C, Java, Linux, and SQL, we still have some ground, but the way these technologies are used changes every year. For example, we have a new JDK 12 release this year, even though many Java developers are still learning Java 8. We also have a Spring Framework 5.0 release last year, combined with Spring Security 5.0 and Spring Boot 2.0 version, which many of us need to learn in 2020.

In short, a Programmer should be a quick learner. This quick-learning ability is also what the interviewer looks for while selecting a candidate. I have chosen many candidates just for their quick learning ability, especially at junior levels.

If you are not a quick learner, then programming is probably not the right field for you, but what is the secret of learning new technology? How do programmers keep on learning new frameworks, libraries, and new technology year on year? The StackOverFlow's Developer Survey has some answers for yours.

If you have not participated in the Developer Survey, still you can co-related with the methods many programmers use as they are quite similar to yours or my list of things we do to learn coding, a new framework, or a new library.



10 Best Ways to Learn a New Programming language or Tech skill?

Here is my list of things a programmer should do to learn new technology, like Machine learning, Big Data, or Mobile application development. You can also use the same methods to learn a new programming language, like Rust, Groovy, or Kotlin, a new framework, like Spring Security 5, Angular JS, or React JS or a new library,  like Jackson.


1. Join online courses

As per StackOverFlow's Developer Survey, a whopping 64.7% say they’ve learned programming or new technology by taking an online course. Which is quite right. Even I have learned most of the things by taking classes on Pluralsight and Udemy.

I also have the annual membership of Pluralsight, which gives me access to their 5000+ courses, and I take them while at the home, office, or traveling.

I have also bought several courses on new technology, like Machine learning and Big Data on Udemy on their flash sale, where they offer every course on just $10.

Both Pluarsight and Udemy have their pros and cons though, the most significant benefit of Udemy is that you own the course for a lifetime, but you need to buy individual courses, with Pluralsight, you just pay an annual membership fee, and you can access over 7000+ expert-led online courses for one year.

Btw, Pluralsight is offering all their courses free as part of their Free April Sale for full one month You should not lose this opportunity to learn a new skill

10 ways to learn new skills in 2020


You can also gift Pluralsight membership to your friend or colleague as a holiday present, he would thank you every time he needs to learn new technology.


2. Buy books and work through the exercises

This is another best way to learn a new technology or programming language on your own. In fact, this is the oldest method I am following until I come to know about online courses a couple of years back. I have read hundreds of books, and I have them in PDF and other electronic formats in my Kindle and iPad.

Many of my readers ask me how I am able to read so many books? Well, the secret is the better utilization of your time. I also have just 24 hours, and I also need to spend time with my family; hence, most of the time, I read a book while traveling or commuting.

I also listen to books using my Audible membership when I don't feel reading. This means I make most of my ideal time. Also, the default speed of Audible is plodding, and you may feel sleeping. I generally listen to books on 1.5X or 2.0X depending upon the content.

If you haven’t already signed up for an Audible.com subscription, do it now–seriously, it will be one of the best decisions you make in your life.

If you are looking for what books to read in 2020, I suggest starting with Effective Java 3rd Edition, which is coming on 7th January. If you haven't pre-ordered it yet, then just do it now to avoid disappointment on New Year.

Which Java books to learn in 2018


If you don't like Java, you can also search around on this blog, and you will find my recommendation on most of the technologies and programming languages. Here is one such list of Algorithm books to start with.


3. Part-time/evening courses

To be honest, nothing beats in-person classroom learning, not even virtual classes or online training. Why? Because when you join a real course you met with real people, you go into the environment which is conducive to learning. You discuss things and problems with real people. You listened to them.

This means you are doing active learning where all your senses, like eyes, ear, mouth, body, and mind, are engaged.

This helps in quick learning, and you also retain knowledge for a longer time. In short, If you can, then you should enroll in a college or training institute or part-time or evening to learn new technology.




4.  Contribute to open source

This is one of the best ways for experienced programmers to keep themselves up-to-date. For example, if you need to learn a Big Data framework like Apache Spark or Hadoop, then you can also join the project as an open-source contributor.

You will not only help the community by contributing, given you have a good experience but also learn a new technology on the way.

It is also a great way to increase your experience by talking and working with several other great programmers around the way.

I strongly recommend intermediate and experienced programmers to join an open-source project in 2020. You can also use the same methods to learn a new programming language in 2020, like Rust, Groovy, or Kotlin

best way to learn a new framework or library


5.  Coding Bootcamp

This is a relatively newer phenomenon, but the pervasiveness of online courses and coding boot camps, many people with little to no programming experience can now more easily transition to a career as a developer.

Many startups and in fact big technology companies like Google and Amazon accept coding bootcamp students which is a big boost on their credibility and to be honest with you have I have interviewed a couple of bootcamp students, and I have found them even better equipped with essential technical knowledge than the fresh college graduates.

The fair better in the data structure and algorithm interview and have a better knowledge of source control, like SVN or Git and IDEs like NetBeans, IntelliJIDEA or Visual Studio, and other essential development tools.

In short, if you want to learn something new or change your career to become a programmer, Coding BootCamp is the best way to start with.






6. Participate in online coding competitions


You know what, I have learned concepts better while explaining to people or my team member. The same goes for online coding competitions; it gives a break from your regular work.

You also come out of your comfort zone, which accelerates your learning.

For example, if you want to learn Python in 2020, then you should try participating in online coding competitions using Python.

You not only learn all essential concepts in quick time but also improve your coding sense and get a much needed real-world experience.

Here is a list of websites you can use to prepare and participate in online coding competitions.

10 ways to learn a New Technology, Programming language



7.  Conferences/meet-ups

Yup, conferences, and meet-ups also work great, and that's why I encourage all Java developers to join their local Java User groups. These conferences and meet-up, like the London Java Community, is a good place to meet with several great, like-minded developers in your vicinity.

You not only create a good network for you but also you learn a lot from talking to them. They also add a much needed real element to the mostly virtual programming world.

If you are not a member of a Java User group or programming community, I strongly suggest you become in 2020.
how to learn a new framework or library



8. Participate in hackathons

Hackathons are another great way to learn a new framework or library in a quick time. In Hackathons, you need to build something useful in 24 to 48 hours.

Sometimes it looks very arduous, but because of team and environment, you just keep going. The beauty of Hackathons is that you start preparing for them in advance, and that's where your learning kicks off.

For example, if you are thinking of building a prototype using a machine learning algorithm, as an image processing app, you learn about machine learning even before the hackathon.

The mere participation gives you a reason to learn and master new technology, and applying them in Hackathon gives you the battleground experience, which goes a long way in your career.

10 ways to learn new technology in 2019



9. Creating a blog

Yup, a blog also helps you to learn a new programming language or framework. How? Because before writing a blog post, you start your research, and this is where your learning kicks off.

For example, I don't have any JUnit 5 post yet on my blog, but when I write, I must first learn JUnit 5, and for that, I will do some research.

I will use my Pluralsight membership to find an online course or read the documentation, but the mere idea of posting a blog post in JUnit 5 will encourage me to learn about JUnit 5.

As I have also said, I tend to learn better when I explain things to others, and that's why when I write the blog post, most of my concepts get clear, and gaps in my knowledge are filled. It also helps me to retain knowledge for a longer time.

how to create a programming blog in 2019




10. Miscellaneous

Every programmer is different, and what works for me may not work for you. Some programmers found learning from a book easy, some find online courses better. Some just like to create real-world projects and learn on the way.

In short, use the method which works for you. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to learning. Choose the one which you like and enjoy. If you learn faster by pairing with a buddy, then, by all means, go for it.

If you learn better while listening to music, then look to your favorite song while coding programmer in the new programming language you are learning. You can also see my tips to quickly become familiar with a new codebase. You will find some good practical advice there as well.

In summary, here are the 10 best ways to learn new technology, programming languages, frameworks, and libraries as per the StackOverflow Developer Survey:

What kind of learning developers recommend

That's all about some of the best ways to learn new technologies, like a new programming language, frameworks, libraries, and yes, learn to code. If you want to learn to 2020 code but don’t know where to start? As per the StackOverflow survey, more developers say you should take an online course than any other method, followed by getting a book and working through the exercises.


Other Programming Articles You may like to explorer
The 2020 Java Developer RoadMap

Thanks for reading this article so far. If you like this article, then plea share it with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or feedback, then please drop a note.

P. S. - I also suggest joining Pluralsight to accelerate your learning and get access to 7000+ online courses. Given that they are offering a 7000+ Free Programming and Technical Courses now, you should get it before the offer expires.

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