Thursday, June 16, 2005

How to get started with the new technology/tool etc.

Learning new tools and technologies has become part of daily chores of any IT professional. There is no way out. Or there is no good reason of why one should not learn new things. I personally am a tech savvy guy and always in lookout of learning new things. The interest is not just to learn things pertaining to data warehouse and BI but everything, which comes on way. The only thing that the new tools/technology I learn should have some fundamentals or concepts to take home.

During this last 6-7 years of being into IT, I have learned numerous theories, technologies, programming languages, tools etc. Most of them were through self-learning. But this self-learning was dependent on all my previous learnings, which I inculcated in the past and without which all this self learning would not have been possible. Today I just picked one more tool/technology to build some understanding on it. I don’t have the access to the software but just the documentation. This is one among few tools/technology I am trying to learn for which I don’t have the access of the software. Though I have hands on extensive hands-on experience on a similar kind of technology by another vendor.

This whole thing lead me to think of how can one approach taking up new tool/technology. Possibly three ways which came into my mind:

1. First hit the document.. get some background. and then come to the tool/hands-on and then again go back to the manuals/references. .. an then back to hands on.. May be over the period doing both things simultaneously.
2. First hit the tool ..let your intuition take over the wheel first.. play around stretch your understanding/intuition... and then come back to references/manual/docs/some text and then back to the tool. Over the period both doing both things simultaneously.
3. First attend some seminar ,some talk, some discussion ( as good as 1 but instead of text you are get into more live things) and then hit the tool may be then back to the manuals tools.. come back to tool/hands-on then go back to discussion and so forth. May be I call it Spaghetti approach. In this approach it could be that you start with Books first and then tools an then talks or any combination.

Which to choose?? Time and availability of resources can give the right call for this.. I keep trying all this approaches. Most of the times approach 2 is a good deal for me. Approach 1 is something we have been trying since the college days. First read about the “c” language, listen some lectures... and then get to the labs for some hands-on. And that was good since one didn't had so many fundamentals/concepts built up, not so much of exposure to the tools/languages of similar kind. Again like all my postings, there is no need to reach to conclusion of which is better and which not. Depends like everything else. My idea here is just to bring out some points.

4 comments:

Subham Mitra said...
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Subham Mitra said...

You have discussed almost all possible ways of learning new tools or technologies. The point which attracted me most is that in the point 2 you mentioned the intuitive knowledge to be applied. I believe this intuition does not come just in time unless the fundamentals are really been understood. In this approach there is always a chance that learners become lazy to understand but just to accept what the tool gives. But for one who can really map the fundamental concepts with the tool's behaviour, this way is the most effective one.

For learning concepts like database, data warehouse, object oriented programming etc. browsing books are helpful to me; it may become more time taking still ROI for such investment is high and stable.

Umesh Kakkad said...

Subham,

I truly agree with you that for the fundamentals, the text is the first thing to start with . Tools and technologies can complement the understanding one has draw from the books. However over the period, what I have felt is that you can built up some more high level fundamentals on the top of the basics you know by just going the tools. Thats what I experienced when I was working some Linux Kernel internals and some networking stuff. The hands on helped to built lot of conecpts at the first go with even reading any core text for it.

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