The holiday season is upon us, bringing its special brand of festive chaos to many of our lives. Although this time of year can be a bit busy, many technologists still find the time to hone their skills by participating in a technical advent calendar.
Those raised in the Christian tradition may already be familiar with the idea of an advent calendar: Each day between December first and December 24th (Advent) you get to open a compartment in a special calendar and reveal a treat of some sort.
Technical advent calendars work in a similar way: Each day a new treat is revealed; sometimes it’s an article explaining a new tip or technique, whereas other times the treat is an exercise to help you hone your skills. Tech advent calendars, although secular, run at the same time in the holiday season. This means they’ll be kicking off on December first, giving the opportunity to learn all month long.
Here are some of the tech advent calendars that are running this year:
- The Perl community provides one of the longest-running tech advent calendars for Perl 5. In 2015 the long-awaited release of Perl 6, the new sister language to Perl 5, was announced in the final day of the Perl 6 advent calendar. The Perl 6 community is excited to offer the calendar again in 2016. For those who prefer to learn more about front-end work, Perl Dancer, a lightweight web framework, continues its advent calendar tradition this year as well.
- Sysadvent is another venerable member of the tech advent calendar family. It’s run every year since 2008, providing hundreds of articles for those looking to improve their system administration, infosec, and DevOps skills.
- The Java community provides the JVM advent calendar each year, sourcing articles from members about topics from UIs, to design patterns, to advanced architecture.
- QEMU is a free and open source machine emulator and virtualizer, something that should be of interest to anyone who has to build or maintain cloud computing resources. The QEMU community hosts the QEMU advent calendar, which is a fascinating collection of disk images. In 2014 the images included classic game environments, microkernels, and PebbleOS.
- Advent of Code is a series of learning opportunities wrapped up in programming puzzles. The creator, Eric Wastl, has crafted and tested the puzzles to be appropriate for beginners as well as experienced programmers. It also has a competitive element, including both public and private leaderboards.
- 24 Pull Requests is an advent calendar where you provide the treats. Participants submit a pull request each day, helping to support hundreds of open source projects.
- If you’re one of our Japanese-reading community members, have a look at adventar and Qiita. Both list dozens of Japanese-language technical advent calendars, most for free/open source languages and projects.
Do you know of any other tech advent calendars? Share them in the comments!