It happens to all of us. Yesterday we used a language, framework, skill, or technology that is seemed like second nature to us. And today, (maybe because of legacy issues, maintenance or other) we have to go back pick up that old skill we used to know like the back of other hands.
We drop skills for several reasons such as;
- A change of opinion
- Enlightenment in how things should be done
- Change of jobs most especially
Sometimes we may not want to depart from that existing tech. but we must because of any of the above reasons.
As the saying goes, we live in a small world. Eventually we may have to return to that old skill we once know and used. The thing is once you stop using a certain technology, you soon lose the ability to use it
It follows the rule which says the more you use something the more you get better at it. Conversely the less you use it, the worse you get.
Let’s say you get to that cross road where you absolutely HAVE to pick up this old piece of technology. These are few things you could do to make that experience both smoother and better;
I would speak more specifically in regards to frameworks, languages and technology in general. However these points apply to a broad category of any habit or skill you wish to regain.
- The battle is mental before it becomes physical:
Psych yourself up. It is true that old tech you want to pick up again has improved. It may also have gone through many changes in between that time you stopped using it and now. It can be demoralizing to think of the time needed to come back up to speed, and catch up with the current pace.
That is why the battle first starts within your mind. Believe you can and you are already halfway there.
- Refer, refer and refer some more:
Refer to old notes. Keep old notes you can refer to once you have to pick up that piece of technology again. There would have been old books or tutorials you used when you first studied the language. Go back to them. This time around it would only be a refresher, so the pace you go through them would be really fast.
Refer to your old code. When you used that technology the first time round you must have built some stuff with it. Refer to all those old pieces of materials. This is invaluable resource and one of the best reference points you could ever have. It is especially so since it is your own piece of code. In reading it you understand why you wrote it that way and not any other.
This is the single most useful piece of information I want to highlight for you.
- Build something:
Now you have done a lot of referencing and revision. It’s now time to do. Build from scratch something new with the old piece of tech. This would be surprisingly easier than you think. We all learn by doing so this is just great for you.
- Keep practicing:
Do not stop. Coming going at it. Be consistent in your determination to be competent with the skill you crave to regain.
- Ask questions:
When you hit a stumbling block refer online. Check out the usual suspects. Mainly Stack Overflow and the online forums for that technology. Do not be afraid that your question would sound cheap or silly.
- Keep the faith:
Lastly, keep calm and keep believing. You still the knack for being strong again with the old skill you think you lost.
Thank you for your time. Now go regain that old skill.