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29: Listener Questions - Eric Asks How to Keep Up with Dev News, and When (and Why) Should I Get a Masters Degree

Published 3/23/2015

In this episode, I answer listener Eric's questions about how to keep up with the news, and when to get a masters degree.

Thank you to our sponsor, Codeship: http://codeship.com - 20% off using code "DeveloperTea"

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea name is Jonathan Cutrell I'm your host and today I'm taking on a few questions from a listener named Eric Eric is from New York New York as he'll tell you in the question that he he sent in he was kind enough to send in an Audio question and in fact he sent in two audio questions and I'll be going over both of them today The first one has to do with how to keep up with the news and here it goes Hi Jonathan. This is Eric Connelly from New York New York calling with the question How do you keep up with the latest news? Thanks and keep up the great work So Eric's question is I'm gonna take it from the angle of how do you keep up with the latest development news? But this really goes for most news types of course There are plenty of different outlets for news you have indie news outlets But then you have also the larger news outlets for development specifically I Every once in a while I'll get on hacker news. I'll browse through some of those links and why is that that seems like such an obvious answer But but the reason I get on hacker news is because there are a lot of Very smart developers hanging around hacker news. It is a a truly valuable resource now. I will say that For a while I was going to hacker news and it was sort of depressing for some reason I can't quite put my finger on why exactly it was depressing. I think it was maybe the tone That some of the community had there and perhaps it has changed So don't let my experience with hacker news deter you from going and checking it out Of course it could have been something just inside of me. I might have been just experiencing you know chemical depression for a couple days Or something like that. So don't let my experience deter you go and check out hacker news because It is a great way to keep up on Absolutely the latest things the top page usually is something that was released either that day or it's commentary on something that was released The commentary is almost always really current. So go check it out to to clarify hacker news is actually news.y combination.com why combinator is a Startup what what have you called it start up incubator started by Paul Graham tons of very Successful startups have gone through why combinator, but the community on hacker news is far larger than why combinator They they're arguably One of the first to do what hacker news does and in fact why combinator is actually responsible for reddit Which is another resource, but one that I don't commonly use and I couldn't even tell you why I don't use it all that often other than to say that I've known a lot of people who have used reddit and they've gotten kind of sucked in and it seems to be a productivity Killer for them so I've avoided that just because I I want to protect my productivity and ultimately Staying up with the news and this is really the advice I have to give you Eric and and listeners of the show Staying up with the news to me is not as valuable as staying focused Staying up to date with whatever the latest thing that has come out or is happening in the open source world While there's some value there and you certainly shouldn't just completely ignore the open source world I think if you have a project in front of you and you're trying to stay up with the news and work on that project It's going to be difficult to devote enough time to both To be able to say that you are you know adequately staying up with the news now There are some really good resources really just practical ones that all including the show notes But there's some weekly emails that that are sent out by some really good curators like Ruby weekly calm for example Is one Peter Cooper He started a company called Cooper Press and they actually sent out weeklies for JavaScript and HTML and Just a lot of really good content there There's constantly new things popping up so if you listen to this episode like in a year from now The landscape almost certainly has changed in fact. I'd say the landscape changes On a daily weekly monthly basis So so there's not really any one good shot at keeping up with the news another interesting way of handling this though is to follow the people Who are leading in this industry? So you know Twitter lists are a good way to handle this problem if you just go and follow people Who are doing things in the industry you might want to create a list? I haven't done this but I know a lot of people who have and they've had pretty good success with Being able to determine what type of news they want to read for that day and they're just going to their Twitter list feed So people who are Tweeting new things about JavaScript for example, you can put them in your JavaScript list people who are tweeting new things related to I don't know get hub and Continuous integration might would be Tweeting about something else so put those people in their respective lists and then you would have a Relatively condensed way of looking at news that is kind of a minute to minute And usually link rich Place to look for news now. I also visit designer news because I find that a lot of the resources that I want to be updated about They talk about them on designer news as well, but designer news is is more More geared towards designers. So there's a lot of branding talk and that kind of thing But I think that everybody who's listening to this podcast I think you should be interested in that to some extent or at least aware of it to some extent You may not be interested in it, but you need to be aware of it to to an extent that is reasonable to keep you up to date With what is going on in the full stack world even if you aren't a full stack developer It makes sense to have some sort of awareness. Not that's not true for everyone across the board In fact, nothing that I'm saying in this episode is true for everyone You have to decide what news is applicable to you based on what it is that you're trying to stay updated about so perhaps You just need to have only news about one framework for the next little while or whatever Then follow that framework and get email updates whenever they update their blog Or maybe even set up a Google alert. This is another great way To to stay up to date with the latest articles that are posted the latest news that's posted about a given keyword I'm going to take a quick sponsor break here to talk about code ship And then we'll jump into the second question from Eric Coach ship is a hosted continuous integration and continuous delivery platform It runs software tests on fast servers and secure environments And if they all pass, Coach ship automatically deploys your code It integrates with GitHub and Bitbucket and lets you easily deploy to various cloud services such as HeroCue Coach ship makes continuous delivery so simple that setup only takes a few minutes So get on board and get 20% off for any plan for the next three months by using the code Developer TeaThis is a special code for Developer Tealisteners that gets you 20% off on any plan at codeship.com Coach ship.com. I'm using code ship on a project that I'm working on now And I think it's a fantastic product I recommend that you check it out code ship.com and don't forget the special code Developer TeaThis will be in the show notes so check it out there as well So Eric's next question is about formal education. Let's take a listen to what he has to ask As a developer, how can I decide when or if I should get a graduate degree? Thanks So Eric is wondering if and when should he get a graduate degree now? I have a graduate degree We've talked about education so much on this show if you haven't heard those episodes are near the very beginning of of Developer Teahistory so go back and check it out I talked to Nick and Cody my designer friends about the value of Of their design degrees. I haven't really talked about my experience with my with my master's program I actually got my my master's degree at Georgia Tech and I did it in digital media I got my undergrad degree in communications at a small liberal arts college in Tennessee And I'm very thankful that I did both of these things But I can't say that it's a one shot solution for everyone It's kind of a difficult and complex conversation and one that doesn't have a clean answer But I'm going to try to give you as good of a idea Towards an answer that I can The first thing that you should know is that whatever you get your degree in if you do decide to go and get a degree That doesn't mean that you absolutely have to work in that field I started out as a music major. I then went on to journalism I thought I might want to do reporting of some sort Or writing journalism and then I decided that I wanted to move more into advertising communications and You know, I could I could pull from knowledge from all of those different areas in my job today And I do I regularly pull from all of those different areas All of the knowledge from those things. I am not even remotely working for a news organization though That's not even a part of my job at all In fact, I'm also not working for an advertising agency So even if you were to go and get a degree In I don't know underwater basket weaving as I mentioned on the show before That doesn't mean that you have to absolutely be an underwater basket weaver for the rest of your life Your degree will teach you more than just that specific skill With that said there are some degrees that are a little bit more specific than others So choosing wisely is certainly not a bad idea For example, if you go to school for years and years to become a doctor Then it's kind of difficult for you to step back and say I guess I don't want to be a doctor anymore I want to do something entirely different because you've invested a lot of time and money in that degree And there's a lot of skills that are very specific to being a doctor That you that you can't really port over into other places Of course again, there are no barriers here if you did go to school to be a doctor And you decide that you want to be a web developer The door is wide open for that For web development and for development and general software development Whatever you want to call it The door is open even wider And the reason for that is because the people who are teaching about web development Are also usually web developers And a lot of that content is already available online Open source is a very important and productive thing for learning Especially if you are learning about how to create things that are open source Especially if you're learning about how to create software There are so many resources online So the actual material that you might would encounter at any graduate program Is likely available online However, the thing that isn't available online necessarily Are the human interactions that you will have if you go and are a part of that particular program So making a decision about whether or not you should go to a graduate program In my opinion there are two major concerns that you should keep in mind The first one is do you want to do it? It's very simple do you have a desire to hold a master's degree I personally this is my main driving factor in going to get my master's degree It wasn't because I was looking at a job that had some sort of requirement for a master's level of education And in fact the job that I ended up taking after I got out which is the one I'm at now They actually would have preferred that I go ahead and go straight to the job They wanted me on the job immediately So my master's degree definitely was a personal choice It was a personal life goal that I had set out to achieve And if you have that personal life goal Then I would recommend that you look into trying to find ways to make that happen I think that a master's degree is definitely a worthwhile pursuit For those of you who want one Now it is very rewarding to walk away from a master's program And say that you actually accomplished that thing And it's certainly worth mentioning that some employers Will offer you different positions because you have a master's degree That otherwise you wouldn't be offered There are a lot of things that go along with getting a higher level education Whether that's a college degree like an undergraduate degree Or a graduate degree that will help your career in the long run People look at your degrees and just culturally We appreciate those things because they mark an accomplishment That you have made in life So if you really want to achieve that thing in life That is a huge consideration that you shouldn't ignore in my opinion The second thing that you should consider is the people Whether or not you would be able to have similar experiences And learn from the people who you would be learning from in a master's degree And if that particular experience and those particular people Are worth the investment that it takes to go and be a part of that degree program It's not cheap to go into graduate school Luckily for students There are a lot of teachers' assistant programs And research assistant programs that will provide money to a student For the work that they're doing And the help that they provide And the research that they're actually executing But it is very possible that you won't get that help That you will go into your graduate program Without an assistant ship and not be able to gain an assistant ship There are so many things that go into that assistant ship Being able to pay for your education So consider whether or not it is worth it to you Because the only things really that you can't get That you would get in a graduate program The only things that you can't get outside of that graduate program Are the personal experiences with the people that you're around And the actual degree itself The proof that you finished that program And the validation that that provides both to yourself And to other people who you might come in contact with Choosing to go to a graduate program In order to learn content that otherwise You think you may not be able to learn Most of that content is available online And most of it is accessible in some format Especially for software development Some of the most prestigious programs Provide their content online Through things like iTunes U or Coursera And in fact there's even real full on graduate programs That you can attend entirely online Which basically has you avoiding going to class on campus somewhere And Georgia Tech for example actually provides one of these in computer science So there's a wide spectrum of options available If all you're looking for is the content There are a wide spectrum of much cheaper options generally speaking Then if you are actually wanting to get the degree And have the human interaction experiences That you might would have if you were to go And attend those classes And be under the leadership of those professors That is a huge valuable thing And the things that you learn in those human interaction moments Are definitely valuable And they can't necessarily be easily replicated online And just an online environment I won't say that that's always going to be the case Especially with the coming age of education Being more and more online And how much virtual reality has advanced Is very likely that you will be able to attend class entirely virtually And it will be as if you are there in many respects So I won't say that those human interactions Will never be possible online And that the value that you would get from those human interactions Isn't always going to be unavailable to you If you take them only online But I will say that for now that is the case in many ways So don't underestimate the value of that human interaction Of that connection that you would make with those people If you were to actually go to those classes on campus I hope this has helped answer some of the questions that Eric has As well as all of you listeners I really appreciate you listening to this show I absolutely love these kinds of conversations I hope this conversation sparks debate Amongst all of the listeners Please reach out on Twitter If you have any thoughts about this You can mention me at at Developer TeaOr you can email me at developertea@gmail.com If you have any further thoughts on this formal education conversation This is going to be one that never closes We're never going to end it Because it's going to become more and more complex Learning is a subject that we will all continuously Be learning about We learn about learning on this show And I hope that you've seen that come true Eric thank you so much for sending in your question And everyone else please send me your questions Thank you so much for listening to Developer TeaAs I said previously you can contact me on Twitter at at Developer Teaou can email me at developertea@gmail.com And the show notes for this episode will be available at developertea.com If you're enjoying Developer TeaPlease go and leave a review in iTunes This is the best way to help other developers just like you Find Developer TeaAnd if this show is providing value to you Please consider giving back to the show by going to developertea.com Front slash donate Even the smallest amount is a huge deal to me And I see every single person who decides to donate to the show I actually get an alert directly on my phone If you decide to donate to Developer TeaThank you so much and until next time Enjoy your tea