Why Every Web Developer Should Read (about web development)

It's no secret that reading is beneficial on an emotional and cognitive level. But could it also help advance your productivity and capabilities at work?

Ah, the joy of reading.

It’s a pleasant pass-time that simultaneously increases our knowledge and thirst for new information.

Right from the get-go, we are taught about the benefits of reading as early as elementary school.

And in fact, it’s no myth that reading is both beneficial to our brain health, and also increases our retention of information.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t allow ourselves the time to indulge in a good fictional novel nearly as often as we should – but there is one reason that shouldn’t pose an excuse. Work-related reading can actually be very beneficial to your performance, by increasing your level of knowledge in your specialist subject area.

The majority of us remain in the same (or similar) career our entire working lives, yet we're only officially educated once – before we start working.

Of course, there is something fundamentally wrong with this.

Over the course of your career, you progressively grow further and further from the education that (presumably) got you there. And in the fields of web design, development and digital media, the entire status quo is known to change year-on-year.

By neglecting your opportunity to further your knowledge through work-related reading, you are undoubtedly missing out on big (and small) industry changes, from major shifts in best practices to subtle advancements in technologies.

With the development and digital media becoming an increasingly competitive field, retaining an edge over your colleagues is imperative.

Why You Should Read at Work

Starting, or ending your workday with just 30 to 45 minutes of reading, relative to your field, of course, can set you up to make big changes as a web developer.

Start off simple. Here are some ideas of what you should be reading, so you aren't stuck scouring the web for too long:

  • The latest industry news in web and tech
  • Blogs related to web design, development, and current best practices
  • Educational eBooks, preferably released recently!
  • Social outlets such as Quora, Twitter, and Medium

These are all great places to find musings from your huge network of international colleagues.

When to Read at Work

Reading is all good. But finding the right time during your workday to divulge in a period of knowledge consumption can make or break the habit.

It’s crucial to find a balance. You want to be reading at a time that the information you’re absorbing is most constructive and not impeding on your work schedule.

However, you also want this habit to become part of your job-focused learning, and not merely a pastime during your lunch break (in which case you’re likely to not be taking it in).

For this reason, the best times of the day are likely to be mornings or just before the end of your workday.

Reading in the mornings helps get you off to a good start by calming you and igniting passion. Additionally, reading in the morning acts as a great way to provide inspiration for the day ahead. It’s often a challenge to ease yourself into work early in the day, and this period is a great time to engage your mind.

On the flip side, reading as the final activity of your work day is a great alternative for busy developers who have a heavy desk first thing in the morning. Consider late afternoon reading to wind down, while simultaneously providing you with something insightful to reflect on after the course of the day.

The Cons of Reading at Work

Yes, reading can act as a heavy distraction for some people — but really only those who aren't great at time management.

Whenever you take the focus away from hands-on, practical work, there’s a risk of more time passing than you intended to.

If you find time management or motivation a challenge you’ll have to be cautious that reading doesn’t actually become a distraction. Like everything else in your day, reading should be both time-limited and an effective use of your time.

While morning reading may compliment your earliest espresso, if you struggle to decide when time’s up you could alternatively opt for late-afternoon reading which is a good option if you lead an unstructured day.

Don’t allow reading to become a distraction to you -- so exercise judgment!

Share What You Read

Web development is a progressive, community-centric industry.

In fact, the industry survives largely on its large community to fuel the speed of growth and innovation.

Reaching out to social networks is a great way not only to find relevant content to consume but to share it.