It's good to identify what you don't need to bother learning

Ben Halpern on November 08, 2018

This thread has a lot of great answers: What are you not interested in learning? Ali Spittel ・ 2 min ... [Read Full]
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I don't know.

On the one hand, I think you're right, learning everything wastes your time, if you want to do something, find the tools that make doing it simple for you and be done with it.

On the other hand, there are many people out there who do things the old way and don't want to change it, even if it has considerable down-sides doing so.

"We don't need the Cloud!"

"Web UIs are too slow, we need to do it in C++!"

"Monoliths are much easier to maintain!"

"Mainframes are more efficient!"


I agree, but the comments here are generally pretty reasonable. There are problems on both ends of the spectrum. Landing in a sensible middle area is pretty important.


It's really about context more than anything. Monoliths are easier to maintain when they encapsulate less complexity than is worth the microservice effort overhead. Asynchronous web UIs can be unacceptably slow for some purposes. Breaking out a planet-scale distributed datastore when you have a few hundred megabytes of data tops is stupid. Framing an issue as a case of extreme, flawed, and diametrically opposed perspectives dueling around a sensible center tends to be overly simplistic.


Yes, and it's not easy.

I for one would say serverless is the future and blockchains are a fad.

But maybe it's the other way around?

I think these things are becoming important, but we are in fairly painful early days in both.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with hanging back and catching on once some of the dust has settled.


Learning is not binary you learn or you don't. It is more a question of to what degree you choose to learn. Even to answer the question "what are you not interested in learning?" with, for example, "Angular", means you know enough about the subject to choose not to proceed further with it. If you are a backend developer you may have very little desire to explore frontend frameworks but you probably know what frontend frameworks are and their purpose, and I'd bet a lot more than you know about something else completely remote like molecular biology.

Personally I try to be familiar at a very high level with current trends in technology, looking out for things that could possibly help me be more effective day to day, at work or play. The degree to which I immerse myself is dependent on how promising the particular technology seems to me for the things I am working on, either professionally or as a hobby.


IMO, the software world is a massive ocean. I live on a tiny island, so it makes sense to know that island really well. After I've become intimately familiar with my island, I can then swim over to the next and learn some things over there.

I work mostly with Angular and other frontend technologies, so that's where my focus lies. I don't have any need for ML, AI, or AR in my day to day so I don't make an effort to find time to study those topics. But it has been greatly beneficial to learn about build processes, CI/CD, and other tools and tech that can help with what I'm actually working on.


Additionally, @aspittel made another post that touches on the general "shiny object" issues discussed in some of these comments:

This also reminds me of a post I made a couple years ago:


@ben can you remove line from css

container .body {
font-family: Palatino, 'Palatino Linotype', 'Palatino LT STD', 'Book Antiqua', Georgia, serif;

Very hard to read single post on desktop.


Is easy to identify what is not needed only when there's a clear focus on what is that one wants to accomplish first.

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