This article is 2013, please also read professional-development-2014, professional-development-2015 and professional-development-2016.
I am a member of BCS, and as such I am supposed to do continual professional development. As someone living in London, I attend BCS lectures. I wish to avoid stasis, the IT industry moves fast. I am writing this as my current role is not developing technology or process.
I am doing the following:
- Following a large number of tech companies on twitter. This is to get awareness of new releases and features on tools. Historically I had no useful channels for this information. This is significantly better than attempting to crawl technology magazines, due to the conciseness.
- Following similar industry people who use twitter. I post links, they post links, similar to the previous, but entirely a personal voice.
- I sometimes spend a day reading specific tech blogs (e.g. alistapart). This shows new work. I am adding URLs to the 'I read' section on the home.
- I read entire sections of API docs where relevant ~ a recent example howto use Mongodb.
- In June 2013 I passed a ZCE, I wrote about this.
- I attended an Architecture engineering tools workshop in August 2013, although this wasn't an exam.
- Looking at the tech that people experimenting with in stack overflow. I was hoping it would be a generic version of zengardens, so reading it would gain knowledge. There are points where people ask questions that make me think 1, but generally it seems capable developers don't use it 2.
- I read my workmates code.
- I looked at the Perl exams, but didn't have anything useful as an outcome.
- In future, I think EdX would be interesting. This will allow me to get structured study on stuff that didn't exist during my degrees or was considered off topic.
- There are big data courses available.
- There is small amounts of change in process for the iceline project. I am working out the best way to implement the design.
- There are articles in linked in, but these are generally business focus 3, and don't count as professional development.
The above is a list of things that I am doing. I would imagine this list is fairly typical in my industry. As someone who has studied [informally] education and learning as a discipline (both my parents where lecturers, and a couple of other family members), the best thing to apply my time to, needs consideration. There are lots of people who will sell you a certificate, especially in the US. Aside that another person says that you are good at the study area, what does this mean? It may be better use of time and money if I write a project in the target technology (this is what the CTO “sponsored” me to do at mIS, with looser time constraints). The engineering process to build code artifacts is the same for any technology and platform. The code may be reviewed be anyone, and thus demonstrate capacity. As personal development, one may publish the works as OSS.
I have changed the way I am doing things from several years ago, as I am no longer under an NDA contract. Secondly I am doing more professional development in IT, rather than in Art (I was gaining arts qualifications).
There is paradigm shift between a) a school kid who must use their own work, and generally present a positive outcome b) a CS university student who should show original thought, but it doesn't actually need to work c) an IT professional who needs to provide a solution, by any means legal. Being a diligent person, my use of third party source is entirely different in each of the three periods.