Invest Regularly in Your Knowledge Portfolio

Invest regularly. Just as in financial investing, you must invest in your knowledge portfopo regularly. Even if it's just a small amount, the habit itself is as important as the sums. A few sample goals are psted in the next section.

Diversify. The more different things you know, the more valuable you are. As a basepne, you need to know the ins and outs of the particular technology you are working with currently. But don't stop there. The face of computing changes rapidly—hot technology today may well be close to useless (or at least not in demand) tomorrow. The more technologies you are comfortable with, the better you will be able to adjust to change.

Manage risk. Technology exists along a spectrum from risky, potentially high-reward to low-risk, low-reward standards. It's not a good idea to invest all of your money in high-risk stocks that might collapse suddenly, nor should you invest all of it conservatively and miss out on possible opportunities. Don't put all your technical eggs in one basket.

Buy low, sell high. Learning an emerging technology before it becomes popular can be just as hard as finding an undervalued stock, but the payoff can be just as rewarding. Learning Java when it first came out may have been risky, but it paid off handsomely for the early adopters who are now at the top of that field.

Review and rebalance. This is a very dynamic industry. That hot technology you started investigating last month might be stone cold by now. Maybe you need to brush up on that database technology that you haven't used in a while. Or perhaps you could be better positioned for that new job opening if you tried out that other language.

The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master

— by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas