re: I'm a co-founder of dev.to, ask me anything! VIEW POST

FULL DISCUSSION
 

I really want to get into development, but my biggest issue is the giant amount of resources that seem to muddle up things for me and selecting a language to "master". My most worked on language has been Python, which I don't enjoy very much, but do have some knowledge in web, so I've started JavaScript and so far it's a lot better and makes more sense to me.

My main question is am I right in fearing that without a mastered language I'll have no hope? It's very hard for me at the time to stick with one language and get into that zone of attempting to fully master it. Am I looking at this all wrong? I feel I need someone to calibrate my compass.

 

Hi Ben! I've been programming with Python since forever (I think Python 2 wasn't even a thing) and I still have to google stuff sometimes :-)

I love it (less than I used to) but if it's not for you there are so many languages and skills (that can get you hired) you can learn. JavaScript is quite fun and you can definitely get hired being a good JS developer.

My advice is don't wait to feel ready until you can recite "JavaScript the bad parts" by memory :-D

Good luck!

 

Hey Ben, I'm probably not the best person to answer this question, but I'll offer my thoughts anyway.

My sense is that if you're not enjoying Python, but you are enjoying Javascript, then allow yourself to allocate more of your time in that direction. I wouldn't worry about any "sunk cost" that you've already put into Python; you'll still benefit from that experience as you learn new languages.

The idea of "mastering" a language is pretty abstract. You can always improve, and your skill in that specific language improves by osmosis as you pick up skills in other areas. If you're specifically worried about job-hunting, I do think it could make sense to pick a language and continue making progress on it and its related technologies.

I think that in a job search, being able to demonstrate your legitimate interest and demonstrated progress, along with the ability to finish projects and intelligently describe the choices you made, would be about the most impactful part your application and pitch.

I'm sure @jess , @ben , or another member of the community would be happy to jump in and lend their thoughts, as well. Good luck!

 

Hey Ben! I'm willing to bet that most developers don't consider themselves 'masters' in a specific language. Understanding underlying concepts is what's important.

I've seen plenty of devs get hired without knowing the company stack because they demonstrated sound logic during interviews. They usually end up spending the first few week learning the new language/framework while on the job.

 

I have a few thoughts Ben.

  1. You have hope without "mastery" of a language. I think software development wisdom mostly comes from repeated learnings in the realm of problem solving and broadening an understanding of the pitfalls to avoid. Mastery of a language is an optional part of the journey.
  2. As you learn about one thing, you develop a better understanding of another. I took a single Elm workshop and haven't opened up an Elm file since, but it broadened my understanding of functional programming and how it contrasts with OOP and how JavaScript frameworks were inspired by Elm, and I came away with a lot. (I still like Elm, and will someday work with it regularly I hope). I also haven't used Java in years but my understanding of it is better than ever due to other learnings along the way.
  3. You don't have to be a master, period. Decent programmers who can piece together an application are very hirable. If you continue to invest in yourself, you don't need greatness to have "hope", you just need to keep coming in with a growth mindset. If you're okay falling short of being the next Alan Kay, there's no need to fret too much about all-powerful mastery. You only need to pay attention to what is personally motivating in the moment.

I really mean point 3 in the most positive way. It's hard work, but there's ample opportunity.

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