Always keep your skills sharp

It has been couple months since my last post and despite the idea, a lot of things kept me busy far from blogging. Looking back, it all articulates around the same idea: why it’s important to always keep your skills sharp.

Running is like any other skills, if you want to become better at it, you need to practice a lot.

I ran for couple years now but I really started preparing Berlin marathon last January. The plan was simple: running 3 times a week for 9 months, increasing the pace and the distance to meet the event. Then I got chance to join Chicago marathon, completing two of the six Majors marathons the same year.

Even if this training was a lot of commitment, it payed off. I did my best time on half marathon this year. Unluckily, I got injured couple weeks before Berlin which also impacted my race in Chicago three weeks later. Regardless the time, it was such a great experience that I don’t regress all the time spent to train for it.

At the same time, all along the year, I had the feeling that my next step wasn’t in London. In August, I took the decision to act on it and I took the decision to move out. In the following weeks, while applying for new roles, I quickly realized that interview is another kind of skills: you lose it if you don’t practice.

Acting as tech lead in my current role, I often interview candidates for mobile roles but back on the other side of table, my struggle was real. Tech questions about mobile development were not the problem. My main issue was related to basic computer science concepts, algorithms and data structures.

After couple interviews being “average”, I took it personally: “how come I don’t remember those basics”. So I did the only thing I could, I practiced. I applied the same training to get back to the game: three times per week studying data structures and doing algorithms exercises. Eventually, it paid off as well and I managed to secure a new role.

At the end, the best way to keep your skills sharp is daily practice. Same as writing or running, I’ve now added new exercises to my daily routine to make sure I keep them for the next time I need it.

Photo by Simon Abrams

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Benoit Pasquier

Software Engineer 🇫🇷, writing about career development, mobile engineering and self-improvement

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