Inside The Rocketship
Learning Never Stops: 30+ Resources from UiPath Engineering & Product Team
There’s this well-known saying reminding us that learning never stops. At UiPath we take pride in confirming this theory, as from the day you start working here, you encounter all kinds of learning opportunities. You discover different parts of yourself.
Our colleagues are learners. They read books, follow different blogs, take courses or listen to podcasts. We even have Slack channels for most of these resources, so people can share what they find with the others.
So, we thought, why not share some of these great things with you? Our plan is to go from team to team and curate all those awesome books, blogs, courses or podcasts and post them here.
For this one, we asked our Engineering & Product Team to join the challenge. Reading through you’ll find resources for different areas like Testing, Task Mining, Machine Learning, Frontend or Backend Development, Product Management, Security or Technical Writing.
Here are some great online courses or sites they recommend.
“I actually "abused" the FREEapril from Pluralsight. I checked a lot of courses and even if I did not complete them, I was able to see only topics I am interested in. Furthermore, in the security field, you can find a tremendous amount of useful information by watching talks from different conferences. And probably all conferences publish recordings after some time, Youtube is full of resources, so you’re good to go. For paid services, I am a fan of Pentester Academy which is not expensive at all”, said Ionut Popescu.
“Udemy and Coursera offer many specialized tech writing courses. I think that the best approach is to search for your interest area and follow that course based on the reviews as well. For example, Udemy has many great courses about how to write API documentation. One interesting course that I've followed on Coursera was Writing in the Sciences held by a professor from Standford and it was focused on how to correctly write a concise and well-informed paper/ documentation while using technical terms”, added Veronica Cernea.
If you’re passionate about Machine Learning, Virgil Palanciuc and Thomas Stocker recommend checking Andrew Ng's courses on AI and deep learning - because it's too important today to not know at least the basics. Also, for basics in this area, Viorel Canja learned quite a lot from this CalTech Course.
Talking about basics, 3Blue1Brown YouTube channel is great if you struggle with math - there are a lot of very good videos there that sometimes explain advanced concepts in simple terms.
There are a lot of books out there. Some better than others. Here are some of the good ones that they mentioned.
If you work in Product Management, here are some books Thomas says they shaped his view on “product management and innovation and provided insight into common market dynamics especially in the high-tech sector”: The innovators dilemma, Crossing the chasm, Atomic Habits, The Black Swan, Influence, Leading with vision and The lean startup.
“The stupidity paradox, Foundational Issues in Risk Assessment and Risk Management and Random search models of foraging behavior: theory, simulation, and observation. They offer the basis for processes, risk analysis and exploration. For a tester, these 3 should be mandatory, great content with many good examples, which, over the years, proved, that it can be applied in modern software development”, argues Levente Florisca.
Virgil adds 3 very different kinds of books to the list. “The Mythical Man Month - it's a short old book, but a classic. You'd think everybody should be aware of it by now, but apparently that's not the case. Designing Data-Intensive Applications by Martin Kleppmann - nice very well written introduction to the challenges of distributed systems. Thinking in Systems by Donella H. Meadows - it's not (directly) about software. But sometimes you need to step back and look at the broader picture.”
“Lessons Learned in Software Testing by James Bach and How Google Tests Software by James Whittaker. These books offer a different, new perspective on software testing, especially the first one, Lessons Learned in Software Testing, which is a good entrance into the concepts of Rapid Software Testing”, adds Adrian Popa.
“I would not recommend books” says Viorel. “I have not learned from books other than at the very beginning when I read basic algorithms books. This would be a good start to get a grip on the basics. Other than that, I learned by solving problems and I used the web as a resource to do that. Also, what I learned from experience about how we work is summed up nicely here.” Whatever you choose, his main advice is to pay attention to the basics and practice.
But books are just one way of keeping up to date with great content. If books are not your cup of tea, here are some podcasts/ blogs/ industry thought leaders you should check.
“I think that one of the most followed blogs in this industry is idratherbewriting. Tom Johnson is a well-known tech writer and the information presented by him is always up-to-date and in trend with the latest technologies. WriteTheDocs is another blog/community worth following because it gathers tech writers from all around the world and the community is responsive. There are plenty of online conferences/ meetups you can attend and free valuable information about tools and procedures that can be used in your daily activity”, says Veronica.
“Here’s my list of people or sources to follow on Twitter especially if you’re in Frontend Development: John Resig, David Walsh, Eric Meyer, Smashing Magazine, Kent C. Dodds, Addy Osmani, Evan You, Jeff Atwood, Mathias Bynens and Paul Irish", adds Alex.
“I've only listened to presentations by James Bach, Michael Bolton, Huib Schoots, Richard Bradshaw, Alex Schladebeck, James Whittaker on YouTube and gladly recommend them to anyone interested in software testing”, says Adrian.
“The only real way to learn is through experience and there are lots of open source C++ projects looking for contributors. Contributing to opensource also looks great on a resume 😉. But in the meantime, check these 2 resources if you do backend: Microsoft's C++ Blog and C++ News”, adds Thomas Lammers.
“Rich Hickey's talks - especially Simple made Easy. I think they helped me become a better engineer and judge the software/ systems from first principles. How to manufacture desire - It's about how to build habit-forming products - useful to understand the landscape of much of today's consumer software”, adds Virgil.
“Read about the Cynefin framework (e.g. very short intro) - oftentimes I find things go poorly because we haven't correctly identified the domain of the problem, and we're trying to apply the wrong solutions to it”, he continues.
“I recommend twitter accounts/ posts/ articles of accomplished programmers, leaders like John Carmack (I used to religiously read his .plan file, it contained info that was hard to get otherwise), Linus Torvalds (has pertinent opinions on coding style and more, the Linux kernel has helped shape the world). Reading stuff posted by these 2 will allow you to discover other interesting people. Also, this is a good resource for interesting stuff (science and tech related)”, says Viorel.
And in the end, here’s something extra. In this domain it’s important to keep up to date. That’s why it’s important to check your progress from time to time. Try joining a Codeforces contest and have fun learning.
We added here something for everybody. We hope you’ll find at least one new resource to keep you company. And don’t forget. Learning never stops.
See you next time, when we’ll learn from other UiPath teams. Until then, stay safe!