How do you decide what to learn next?

Choosing what to learn can be overwhelming. Folks are influenced by objectives set out by their manager, challenges at work, gaps in their skillset, career aspirations, interesting new testing domains and new tools to name but a few.

By sharing your process on how you decide what to learn, you may help others in the testing community struggling to determine where to focus their learning efforts. I’d love to know your process and strategies.

Additionally, how do you then organise your learning, stay motivated and on track?

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For me it’s a mix of things - does it seem interesting, will it help me with my job or my career, can I use this information, is it available (this can be a big one if you don’t have company access to some of the bigger training sites - I lament frequently that my division being sold to a different company took away my Pluralsight access)?

Which factor is the biggest at any time can depend on a number of factors. I look for lessons in small digestible chunks so that I can slide them in between other tasks - work for an hour, watch a 5 minute lesson/training video, go back to work.

My preferred learning style, such as it is, is to “popcorn” courses, watching a whole lot of them over time, while allowing the lessons to sink in more slowly. Technical courses, unless very up-to-date, have a tendency to have problems when the environment for the demos doesn’t match the learner’s environment all that well - I’ve found technical courses such as Pluralsight’s programming courses work better if you already know the basics and are looking to extend your understanding.

Organizing my learning - I don’t. I just learn what seems most relevant at the time.

Staying motivated - so far hasn’t been an issue. Possibly because I’m an avid reader and enjoy learning new things. A presenter has to be put-you-to-sleep boring for me not to pick up something from a video course.

Staying on track - I’ll let you know when I find the track.

Seriously - I’m weird. I know this. If my non-method gives anyone else ideas, that’s great. If not, I won’t be too upset.


I would say that you should learn what excites you. If it does not excite you, you will struggle to learn it.


Interesting that you mention it like this because I see it the other way around, or at least I’ve experienced it the other way around.

So we have coaches which can guide you towards learning X and Y but that’s only according to their knowledge. I’m pretty active on online forums, following people and such. So when a new ‘hype’ appears I’m the one telling my coach saying “hey this is new, I’m gonna dive into it”.

I will probably make a presentation or workshop out of it to teach others what I’ve learned. Sometimes the learnings are bad and not useful and I share that too. If I see that it has potential, I create a “ticket” on my private trello board with a Due Date +1 year (as an example).

In a year time I’ll get the notification of it and I’ll look up the ‘new’ stuff from a the framework or whatever it was :slight_smile:

A process that I personally hold is, if somebody shares a linkedin post of a blog. I’ll read the blog and I NEVER assume that that’s the truth. I’ll always google and deepdive myself into the topic.
You have no idea how many blog posts are wrong sometimes, it is insane if you do this yourself.

An easy example would be API Testing Methods PUT = UPDATE.
No PUT does not mean update. This is probably the best reason why I started to do this. Because people can write anything online and a lot of people will blindly follow it. The best way to learn what’s next for me is to research the blogs/articles that you read and you’ll learn so much more.

PUT context:
PUT is create or replace the entity at the given URI. Per the HTTP spec, PUT is idempotent. Yes, it can be used to update, but thinking of only as update is not correct.
– The restful way

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One recent revelation is that one good book can be worth 10 Udemy courses. Video is just a bit too easy to watch and trick yourself that you’re learning something! Ymmv

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For me, books are like that. Just too easy to read and trick myself into thinking I’m learning something :grin: