Welcome to the KSM Water Cooler, where our associates come to the forefront of our company to give you an inside look at what we do and how we do it! This week we posed the question:

Spring Cleaning! More specifically, what tools, languages, frameworks, or techniques are you interested in for refreshing professional skill sets? It can be something you’re using or planning to use on your client engagements, or it can be something that you are learning or using on the side. It can include books you’re reading or planning to read; new IDEs you’re trying to learn or leverage; or even personal productivity boosters.

Some of our associates were less interested in learning brand-spanking-new skills than in taking a harder look at tools they already use every day.

Ryan Hahn: I’m taking a Udemy course on the Java Virtual Machine as part of a career goal I’m trying to meet this year. The course is specifically centered around how the JVM manages memory, garbage collection, and the like. I know this is basic stuff, but the JVM has always sort of been a black box for me. I’m about a quarter of the way through the course and it’s a little embarrassing to see how little I knew and also how many misconceptions I had.

Earl Atta-Fynn: @Ryan I’m gonna have to do something similar with Java modules/classpath and Maven eventually. I’m working on front-end programming in general, getting used to the web-design arena and the popular tools/frameworks therein. I’ve also  been dabbling in some blockchain programming just to get familiar.

Jimmy Fennelly: I’ve been learning more about domain driven design inside of .Net Core and I’ve been enjoying it so far. There is a decent bit of tying things together that has a lot less of the “it just works” in terms of dependency injection in comparison to Java, but it also runs significantly faster in terms of both implementation and build times.

Jim Coates: As a career goal, I’ve been searching for online college level computer science courses to help fill the many knowledge gaps I have on lower level computer science topics and design patterns as a result of learning coding in a boot camp setting.

Earl isn’t the only one focusing on presentation-tier skill building:

Jimmy Fennelly: In my own projects, I’m currently working on refining my skills in developing a web page within the mobile-first design ideology. By focusing on the challenges of how a page would interact on a small screen with touch and slide capabilities, I’m forced to deal with the hardest UI design choices immediately instead of later running across issues when developing media queries. It seems to result in overall more fluid responsive design, with less media queries and moving parts since it becomes more of an issue of how to fill whitespace instead of how to cram components into such a small area.

Jim Coates: On the UI side I’ve been doing a lot of reading about writing custom React Hooks because the more libraries I use that utilize them, the more I think writing our own could really improve code.

Bud Lefkof: @jimcoates that is why I love that Mantine Hooks library. He has so many great hooks in there including 3 I had written myself – but his are actually cleaner and better!

Others want to both advance personal projects and level up their skill building at the same time:

Kevin Hoerr: I’ve had the exciting opportunity the last week or two of overhauling my personal media server. I just had a couple of Docker containers running in-house services, which broke when trying to do a kernel upgrade.

I opted to do something hypothetically more reliable, which involved installing OpenSUSE MicroOS and Kubic and running my own Kubernetes cluster, which has turned out to be a great learning experience. Apart from Minikube, which uses a lot of defaults that are sensible for a development environment, Kubic is much more “unwired” so that you can configure it sensibly for dependable and secure service orchestration.

On top of that there’s maintenance tasks I used to do that can instead be mapped to CronJobs. It’s been helping me learn a lot of other pieces of Kubernetes I haven’t touched before. Now I’m wanting to hook up my Raspberry pi’s into the cluster and expand the node topology.

Others were thinking beyond their technical skill building:

Heather Bernardin: I’m researching how to train yourself to think more strategically. Some people by nature think more tactically and it can be hard to train yourself to get out of that mindset. I plan to create a presentation. Did someone say Lunch and Learn? [Yes, Heather! Someone did say “Lunch and Learn.” You did- and we’re glad to hear it!]

Mike Harnish: My spring cleaning is to get a better handle on my note taking (and to do more of it). For years I’d been taking notes on Evernote, but Evernote takes so long to boot up (whether the local client or the web version) that by the time it started, I’d forgotten what I wanted to write. I’m moving all of my notes to local Markdown files, backed by a personal Github repository, and editing them with Obsidian.

Jeannette Lamb: @mharnish I am in the process of transitioning from Evernote to OneNote. I rarely write anything down anymore and everything is searchable. I was getting tired of Evernote clients telling me EVERY DAY that there is an update to download.

Reflecting on this conversation, it’s clear that we have very different but equally ambitious spring cleaning plans. Here’s wishing you the best as you take on your own ambitious spring cleaning projects! Onward and upward!

Be sure to check out our previous Water Cooler and stay tuned to our blog to stay in the loop and hear more from our amazing team at KSM!


Apr 20, 2022


KSM Technology Partners