As a software engineer, you have to keep your finger on the pulse of your ecosystem. If you have at least a vague idea of the programming languages, tools, frameworks, and libraries that other programmers use and talk about, you're less likely to be caught off guard when they start dominating the tech scene.
But it's hard to really know what's important and relevant. It's hard to cut through the noise and understand what's worth investigating. One way to combat this problem is through what I call cross-pollination, where software engineers from different disciplines and organizations meet and talk. This happens quite naturally in conferences, informal meetups, and, in X-Team's case, during X-Outposts.
While there's much to learn from your peers, cross-pollination is never fully comprehensive. It's limited to the number of times you meet other people (fairly rare during a pandemic) and to the expertise of those people.
That's why I keep a catalog of tech blogs from the most disruptive tech companies. I frequently browse these tech blogs because I have found them extremely effective at creating exposure to new technologies. This blog post is that catalog of tech blogs, along with the type of software engineer that each blog suits best.
The Google Developers Blog is a good place for Android, Web, and AI enthusiasts. It's also good for developers who want to understand how an organization can use tools to derive insights from Big Data, and how they can use those insights to make better technology decisions.
The Facebook Engineering blog takes a similar angle as the Google Developers blog. The big difference between both is that the Google Developers blog takes a broader approach, because Google has so many varied products, while the Facebook Engineering blog focuses mostly on social networks.
Microsoft's DevBlogs is more corporate than the previous two tech blogs. Its blog posts help you understand the technology that powers corporate environments, particularly now that Microsoft is increasingly serious about its cloud offerings and open-source technology.
Red Hat Developer
The Red Hat Developer blog is mainly for infrastructure enthusiasts. Those who want to understand Linux within the context of the modern open-source enterprise. Red Hat invests heavily in the tech that powers the infrastructure with Linux at its core, particularly the tech that works within the Red Hat Linux or Fedora ecosystem. Think Application Servers, OpenShift, and many of their enterprise Linux offerings.
The AirBnB Tech blog is for the engineer who is passionate about web-enabled business models. It's a great blog for those who want to understand the technology that drives a complex software business like AirBnB.
The Netflix Tech blog is a must-read for those who want to understand the serious decisions entertainment companies have to make when it comes to video or audio streaming. Netflix's tech blog posts go in real depth explaining how their tech is set up. If you like this blog, you'll probably like Soundcloud's Backstage blog too.
The Uber Engineering blog is for the software engineer who's passionate about mobility and logistics. It brings valuable insights into the tech that powers the largest ride-hailing app in the world.
There's too much information to read everything all these tech blogs publish. The best approach is to pick the one that resonates most with you and dive deep for insights. And don't just read their posts. I believe you learn most if you take what you've just read and try it out for yourself.
Each of these tech blogs is a wonderful resource to stay informed, updated, and inspired. Whether you're a solo developer or part of a large team in a mega-corporation, they expose you to amazing new technology, tools, and processes.