Effective Bench Warming

One of the benefits (or detriments, depending on your perspective) of being a consultant is that there is occasionally some down-time in between projects.  Even though we typically have more work than available consultants, the logistics of coordinating our available resources with client schedules can lead to brief breaks while the next client is preparing to utilize our skills.  At Pinnacle, we refer to this time as ‘sitting on the bench’.   So, what do you do with this time?  Sit by the pool and drink margaritas? Well, not exactly, but it is a good time to take a vacation if you have not been able to do so in a while.  If vacation is not an option, or if you are just in more of working mood, bench time is an opportunity to sharpen the saw by learning new skills or refreshing existing ones.   I recently spent a few days on the bench, and found the resources below a great way to spend that time.   If you happen to find yourself with some time available for self-improvement, these items are a good place to start.

knockout.js

These days Single Page Applications are all of the rage, and knockout.js (a client side JavaScript MVVM library) is often a piece of the SPA puzzle.  The tutorial over at learn.knockout.js is a great place to get started with knockout.

Node.js

JavaScript is gaining in popularity everywhere, even in server side code.   If Node.js peaks your interest, the node beginner book is a great tutorial.

Software Craftsmanship

Several of my Pinnacle co-workers have been fortunate enough to attend JP Boodhoo’s software craftsmanship bootcamp.  I have not made it to the class (yet), but JP has some excellent videos over at the dnrTV archives.   His enthusiasm for development is unrivaled, and even the most seasoned developer can learn from his design patterns, testing, and productivity techniques.  While you are visiting dnrtv.com, you might as well check out any of the other videos that peak your interest.