Keeping the shiny away!

heytimapple profile image Tim Apple ・1 min read

Where to start? I have been learning to code for the past year on and off. As they say life gets in the way. My main education comes from the wonderful folks at #VetsWhoCode. The focus being front-end development with Javascript. And I thank them so much. The reason for their choice is getting Veterans into the market as fast as possible with real world in demand skills. And it works.

My dilemma is the lack of love for JavaScript. It never has interested me, but I do see the value. And by no means am I going to veer from becoming a Javascript Ninja. But I do find myself more interested in Rust and Python.

So, my question is, what do you all do about learning what you must and what you want? I am thinking I will give myself one day per week to dedicate to my other interests. I am curious to how others tackle this dilemma. I am sure I am not the only one focusing on something they aren't quite excited about. I also know when learning two different languages can slow progress or create confusion.

What do you all do?


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abhiondemand profile image

Great question, Tim.

You are definitely not the only one facing the challenge of wanting to spend time learning something that isn't related to your primary goal at the moment.

I know people who have enjoyed learning two different languages at the same time because it helps them see different ways of accomplishing similar goals. Note: I am not one of those people. My point is not to eliminate that option. It could work for YOU.

I have found that the key is to make sure you're making progress at the pace that you want. Then, trying different ways of working until you find one that helps you achieve your goals.

For example, my goal was to ship a side-project by the end of January 2020. I, then, said that I would spend 1 hour per day after work and a few hours on the weekends to hit that goal. After a few weeks, I realized that I wasn't hit my January 2020 goal. So, my process of "1 hour per day + 2-3 hours on the weekends" wasn't working. An hour per day was barely enough time for me to get my head into the project.

The next iteration on my process is to put less pressure on myself during the week and focus on making progress on the weekends.

I like your idea of 1 day per week. It's similar to Google's infamous 20% rule. At my current workplace, the engineering team has "Engineering Learning Fridays".

Another idea that has been helpful for me is pairing with someone on a regular basis on that language (helps with accountability).

Ultimately, for me, what's been most impactful is to find a way to align my interests with my primary goal. In my case that meant finding a job or project at work that needed me to learn X skill-set to ship.

jeromehardaway profile image
Jerome Hardaway

How I keep my drive is every once in a while I play with Ruby. Most people forget that I was a rubyist before I did javascript full time.

heytimapple profile image
Tim Apple Author

Ruby was the first language that got me interested in programming.