Until two years ago I was reading tech articles every day, I was regularly watching presentations, I was contributing significantly to stackoverflow.
Then I gradually reduced my “efforts” of this sort. Followed a couple of tech aggregators (HN, reddit, DZone) on twitter, and that has been the only source of blogposts and articles ever since. I almost stopped answering stackoverflow questions. In a way, I ditched the habit of constantly and pro-actively engaging with the tech world, and started doing that on an on-demand basis, only occasionally reading, watching or answering.
Why is that? Probably I began to think of myself as “expert”, and most of the stuff I stumbled upon was either already familiar to me, or too niche. Yet another web framework? Yet another article describing a best practice I already know. Yet another very specific usecase that I would only need to read when confronted with the problem, and then Google will find that article for me. Most of the questions on stackoverflow were old questions repeated. “How do I resolve this exception”, “How do I do this task with this framework”, “How to do X in Java”.
And probably I was overwhelmed by the tons of information poured into my RSS reader every hour. I eventually stopped using RSS and switched to twitter, where I was getting just a fraction of the tech pieces I used to get with RSS.
Is that bad? Am I feeling less up-to-date and therefore less capable of picking the right technique or technology for a given problem? I don’t think so, at least not yet. Is this the regular path an experienced developer walks? I can’t tell, but it sounds logical – with time you become picky about the articles you read. Or it is laziness? Or overconfidence? Boredom? All three?
I don’t have definitive answers, but so far it feels ok – I’m still learning new technologies and I’m still mostly up-to-date with the tech world. Probably I’ve managed to optimize my learning. Now I’ll just have to try not to be carried away. I hope in 5 years I won’t be a middle-aged, lazy, over-confident, cynical developer, just like the average one out there.