The last week or two have been pretty rough in general, and it doesn’t show signs of letting up. The best way to get through something like this is to take your mind off things by staying busy. James McNally made an excellent post with some ideas on what to do if things are slow for you. I suggest you read it. I am going to add a few thoughts of my own. They are pretty close to James’ but I’m going to add my own little twists.
Polish Existing Skills
The first thing you can do is to polish your existing skills. If you are not writing a lot of code recently, why not get back to it? Programming skills are perishable, they need practice. Even if you are writing a lot of code lately, you can still learn some new techniques to be even more effective.
I have been listening to the Maintainable podcast lately and many of the guests mention doing katas. These are short programming challenges that you can do over and over again. They are a good chance to practice new techniques and to refine existing ones. Practice TDD, practice implementing various design patterns. If you get bored add some arbitrary rules like don’t use OOP at all or use only OOP. Add a constraint onto the problem definition. There are no rules here, you are only limited by your imagination.
You can also take a class. We are still offering our workshops in April, but there are also some free options out there: Both NI and JKI are offering free courses until the end of the month.
Another good way to practice your skills is to help out with an open-source project. There are plenty out there that could use your help. Here are a couple:
Learn Something New
There are also plenty of new things to learn. It will make you more competitive when the job market does come back and make you a better LabVIEW programmer in the process.
Here are some ideas:
- LabVIEW RT/FPGA
- NXG Web Module
- Linux RT
Join a Community
In this time of social distancing, it is important to still stay connected to people. We are all going through the same issues and could use a little emotional support and perhaps some encouragement.
At SAS Workshops, we have a LabVIEW Mastermind group that meets twice a month and talks about various Software Engineering topics. Everyone on the call is going through the same issues you are. If you need advice or support, this is the place to get it. Anyone can attend 2 meetings for free, so check it out.
I am part of a local business development group. To help small business owners get through these turbulent times, they have started a new project called Phoenix Rising. It’s free to join. You just show up. They talk about how to view the current situation as an opportunity rather than a challenge. They talk about how some business owners have already transitioned and are thriving and help those who have yet to figure out how to thrive in this new economy. Check out their website: http://www.risingphoenixbusinesscommunity.com/, it explains it better than I can.
Talk to someone
If you just need someone to talk to or just want to throw around some ideas, I am available. Use the button below to schedule a call. We can talk about LabVIEW, business, or simply life in general.