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Sibusiso Dlamini
Sibusiso Dlamini

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Newbie Problem - What to learn next?

I know this only my second post and I wish I had done more but quite frankly I've been to lazy to finish and edit my previous drafts. They require a lot of mental effort and you'll see what I mean if and when I publish them. But now that COVID-19 has so graciously blessed us with its presence (saracasm) I've found more time to write these blogs.

With all this new found FREE time, my enthusiasm for learning is just growing as I find more courses and resources to improve my knowledge-base. However, discovering all these resources also made me realise that there is not enough time in the world to complete all of them so the questions becomes which ones do I pick. Do I select a group of courses and cycle through them or stick to one and master it? What should I learn first? Is it even worth learning ?

Look, I know that at some stage in my life - this year preferably - I want to be start coding in Java and or C++, but before I do that I want to get the hang of web development so that I can start freelancing and earn a little extra pocket money by doing a few gigs here and there (I am currently a University if you know what I mean). But this pursuit of money has begun to turn my quest to master web development feel like more of a chore. Honestly, it feels as though it is, if you compare it to machine learning, mobile development, networking, data science etc...

So now I am torn between sticking with Javascript and its amazing frameworks or picking up an entire new language , Java, or doing both at the same time. The 3rd option sounds like a recipe for disaster. If you are experienced and would like to shed some light on my situation - because I could really do with some inspiration or direction - it would be much appreciated if you left a comment.


Discussion (4)

laradurrant profile image
Lara Durrant

There’s no simple right or wrong answer for what you should do. Both Java and JavaScript are still around and here to stay. It all depends on what you find most interesting, what you think will help you later down the road, and what skills you need to improve upon the most. All of which can be pretty subjective. Since it sounds like you’ve been very focused for awhile, maybe taking some time to explore a little would be good. Why not try maybe 2-3 days of Java and see how it goes? And then do 2-3 days of JavaScript? Doing a “trial period” can help you figure out which you like best to start with. Or if you already find one more fascinating than the other, just start there. JavaScript libraries are certainly fun to experiment with, for instance!

Hope that helps.

sbu_05 profile image
Sibusiso Dlamini Author

I think Javascript is just a phase (the libraries are really tempting @react). I just think that I might be wasting time on this phase because I don't actually see myself building react apps for anyone. Even if I freelance its going to take a large portion of my time? Oh well I'll see it through anyway. I'm not one to leave project halfway through. And thanks for your advice :)

sargalias profile image
Spyros Argalias

I think it's fine to try out a few things at some point and see what you like. You mentioned things like machine learning, mobile development, networking, etc. Feel free to spend a week or a month on each, but I don't imagine it's possible to progress past "junior" unless you focus on one of them for a significant amount of time. Anywhere from a year to a couple of years. Seriously, not even the smartest person on earth could "master" web development in under 2 years, and that would be if they had like 250 IQ or something and did only that all day.

But I think if you're really not sure what you like, trying things out early is super good. It's much better than doing something for 3 years, realising you don't like it, repeat.

In terms of earning money: I would challenge the assumption that you need to know front end to pick up freelancing gigs. Perhaps you could just learn WordPress with a page builder or something and get gigs with that? From what I understand custom development is more suitable to a medium term contract or a permanent job. Then again I don't know a lot about this so...

To anyone starting out I would say:

  1. Look at what jobs are available for what you want to do. For example don't learn "language no one has heard of before" if it won't have jobs.
  2. Laser focus on something. Everything is viable, but I think it's inefficient doing many things at once.

Hope that helps. Best of luck!

sbu_05 profile image
Sibusiso Dlamini Author

Wow... I think I really needed to hear this. Thanks you