When you start learning a new technology,you might get lot questions and there might be lot of uncertainty about many things such as
Where to start?How to proceed ahead?what are the things you should do right?what you should not do?
Here are my thoughts on it.
Identifying the right book/materialCollect the required materials/books. Go through the chapter which attempts to give an overview of that technology from those materilas/books. This will give you a fair idea on which book you could understand easily, stick to that book till you get a little grip on the technology.
Get the required softwares for learning the technology. While installing the softwares, maintain an excel sheet to keep track of the issues you have faced during installation. this will help you a lot in the longer run when you are trying to replicate the setup elsewhere, this would b your troubleshooting guide.
Prepare a feasible Plan for learning
Once you have the required softwares, make a plan as to how u can go ahead with the learning process. Always remember 'Rome is not built in one day". Learning a new technology needs a fair amount of productive time. Dont expect wonders to happen in day, dont be over anxious. be patient and dedicated towards the task.
Analise, how many hours in a day you can dedicate towards this learning. Out of this time, keep some time for reading and some time for practicing what you have learnt. Espeacially, learning technical things; say for example a programming language, the more you practice the deeper it gets into ur mind, the more chances you will remember in the longer run. So plan your time accordingly. Initially, you need to have more time to read to get a hang on the subject, dont be hesitant to spend few more hours on reading. once you have got the basic understanding, start practicing. The key here is to practice/implement what you have understood.
Maintain a Troubleshooting Doc
When you are trying to learn a new technology, you can be sure that you will come across many errors or exceptions in a programmatic terms. Again, maintian an excel sheet with the exceptions/errors you have faced and what you have done to resolve them.
The sheet should contain the following details:
Type of exception/errorwhat caused this exception,The resolution
If you maintain this, this becomes your treasure chest which will save lot of your time later on. Initially you would have spent few mins/hrs to resolve a particular error to find a solution for a particular problem/exception. If you encounter the same error again later on, u don't have to waste the same amount of time again if you have maintained it in a doc/xl sheet.
Implement the concepts
One you have understood the concepts in the new technology, best way is to start applying them or implementing them through examples. You will gain confidence by this practical application of the concepts into concrete programs.
Dont indulge in too many things at a time
Its often, people become more ambitious and put their foot in many things simultaneously and try to learn so many things at time. This is not a good idea because, it not only leads to confusion but also wont let a single thing you are learning to sink in. You wont be able to concentrate on anything properly.
Join the technology Forums
Join the respective technical forums. Now a days for almost all the fields/technologies you have forums where in experts in that field are very eager to help you with the problems you have faced, or to guide you in your learning process. So register in the forums and be active in reading what the members are posting. This helps you/ gives you an idea of what kind of errors you can get, whats the latest happenings in that technology, what kind of people are working on that technology.
Google to see the real-time application of this technology
Once, you have learnt fair amount of the technology, do a bit of google search to find out what real-time applications developed using that technology. you will get to know the different functional domains this technology is being used, the challenges involved in applying this technology in those domains.
Orient yourself in applying the concepts where ever possible
Refer more books to get the broader n wide range of knowledge on the same subject. Always be active and keep thinking in the perspective of where this concepts you have learnt could be used ex:- in your day to day work.