mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Exploration is Not Extra-Curricular

The other day I made the mistake of reading some comments on a HackerNews post. There was a thread about introducing new technology at work and then I saw this gem of a comment:

When I see a coworker start irrationally focusing on a new technology at work the first thing I think is: "This person probably has no side projects to play with."

This comment irked me because it encapsulates something that is very wrong with technology jobs: learning and exploring new things should not be an afterwork exercise, it should be a part of your job. We shouldn’t penalize those who continue to learn outside of work. But deriding those who don’t is not productive at all.

The solution isn’t rocket science or anything new. Lots of companies have policies that let engineers and developers explore new things. But if you work at a company that doesn’t and you find this research valuable, you should be speaking up for making this research a part of the job so everyone can benefit, instead of posting snarky comments on HackerNews.