Keeping up to date with Frontend and Design
The web is a rapidly changing field, and it’s hard to keep up to date with new tools, technologies, and design trends. Every week thousands of tutorials and blog posts are published, and so many conferences are happening around you that the fear of missing out and losing track is regularly present. - So here’s a brief insight into how I give my best in keeping up to date with frontend and design.
Weekdays start with my way to work. Usually, I bike there so I can already tick off a little daily workout. It is when the weather is rainy or quite snowy, that I walk to the office. Yes, I walk, because growing up with dogs you learn that:
“There is no bad weather, there are only bad clothes.”
The 20-minute stroll is a perfect length to listen to podcasts. I am only bound to pause or rewind a podcast a little when crossing noisy Lang- or Hardstrasse.
When I was in preparation for my presentation at DrupalCon Vienna last summer, I listened to Val Heads and Cennydd Bowles podcasts on Motion and Meaning. Two people, I recommend you follow on twitter by the way. Currently, I listen to the Manager Tools Podcast. That’s not really about Frontend or Design you’d say, but last November I took on the role as a Team Lead, so that’s where my interest in this area is coming from. On my list, for future podcasts to listen to are The Web Ahead by Jen Simmons and Responsive Webdesign.
Another thing that helps you to keep up to date are newsletters. I don’t have subscriptions for many but the ones I get, I thoroughly read and if not I snooze it a maximum of one time or directly unsubscribe. Smashingmagazine, for instance, is one of the greatest go-to resources for web developers, designers and UX experts. Their newsletter is sent out bi-weekly with around ten articles. CSS Tricks is, the name says it all, about Cascading Style Sheets. Maintained by CSS-Masters like Chris Coyier or Sarah Drasner you can be sure only to get excellent content. All good things come in threes so make sure you also subscribe to CSS Weekly. A great list of articles, tutorials and tools with an inspirational section at the end.
Something else which I find helpful is newsletter courses. Inbox automatically bundles them in folders for me, and I set myself reminders on my calendar to regularly read them. Two of my recommendations are Better Web Type or Design Pitfalls.
If all that is not in-depth enough for you, there are many platforms which offer fantastic courses that take more than just a 20 minutes read on your way to work or a few seconds when opening a new tab to check out an interesting site. Here’s a list of online tools I have used and still use to learn new topics:
Hackdesign - Simple design courses with easy lessons and some interactive content on topics like Typography or User interface.
Udacity - Nanodegree programs and online courses on topics like Machine Learning or Web Development.
Lynda - Thousands of courses, training and tutorials on topics like Design, Photography, Business, Development and much more.
Egghead - Screencast videos that cover tools, frameworks and libraries such as react, flow, docker, webpack or git.
Wesbos - A full-stack developer that offers courses on ES6, React, Redux and more.
What helps me most with all of the above is setting small goals for myself using reminders in google calendar. Whether it’s to read an email course, listen to a podcast or watch an online tutorial, it feels good to tick that one thing off at the end of the day.
And if you love travelling as I do, then best combine a cool event with a trip abroad. Here’s a list of conferences I’ve either visited, would have loved to visit or would like to visit someday:
Frontend Conference Zurich
CSS Conf EU
You Gotta Love Frontend
JS Conf EU
Ps. Look closely and you’ll often find slides and transcripts of past conferences talks