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Carl Anderson
Carl Anderson

Posted on • Originally published at on

The Danger of Specializing Too Early

I want to become a Full-stack dev, but I'm not very good at Front-end. Should I just become a back-end dev?

- A total beginner

When you're learning to code, you're working with a goal in mind. You're not trying to learn to code, you're trying to become a developer.

Maybe you're more specific than that - you want to be a front-end or a full-stack developer. Perhaps you've taken it that step further and decided to become a React developer.

This approach can work wonders in your later career. However, if you're still a junior (or pre-junior), it has two significant flaws:

  • You should learn skills outside of your specialisation. Learning a broad range of things makes learning new skills easier. If you box yourself in, you'll slow your growth.
  • As a Junior, your experience with particular technologies isn't nearly as important to employers as your general programming experience.*

*Take this with a grain of salt. There are no rules when it comes to hiring, so anything is possible. I'm just trying to make things easier for you.

Ideally, you would refrain from specialising until several years into your career. I can appreciate the reality isn't that simple, and that it's easier if you work towards one of these specialisations from the beginning.

As a compromise, what I want you to do is to find something adjacent to what you're learning, and make that your next project.

  • If you're consuming an API, can you create your own endpoints with Express and Node?
  • If you're learning React/Vue, can you learn to serve the files from a web server?
  • Find out what a browser does when it fetches a webpage.

Be curious. Work on a range of projects. Your future self will thank you.

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