Some time ago I wrote about it on my Instagram, because I often get this question from you there. Due to the limits of the length of the post there, I couldn’t fully exhaust this topic. Therefore, I decided to raise this topic again and give you tips and advice. Of course, this will be my opinion based on my experiences, books read or opinions of authorities in this field.
Let’s assume that you have decided to start your adventure with programming and are faced with the choice of which direction to go in. As you probably realize, there are many possibilities now! Our whole life is continuous decision making and choosing. How to properly direct your path in the programming world? I think there is no one right answer. Everyone has different interests and abilities. However, there are a few points that are worth paying attention to and which can facilitate our choices.
What question should you ask yourself first?
I think the key and first question is what you want to create. I mean the choice between creating software applications or embedded systems. Answer the question of whether you want to create applications for the users or systems for controlling machines or devices, which will be specialized in specific hardware. Of course, it’s not said that you have to choose only one, you can also create both, just think about what you’re into.
If you think that application software is for you, think now what type of application you would like to create – web, mobile or desktop? Do you want to be responsible for the visual side of the software, or be responsible for creating the application logic? You don’t have to limit yourself to one thing. The distinction between frontend and backend developers is becoming increasingly blurred. Companies often require skills in both and you can call yourself a full-stack developer. As you can see, there are many questions that you just have to answer and calmly think.
What is the perspective for this technology or language?
It’s worthwhile to keep up to date on whether a given technology is up-to-date and used in commercial projects. It is obvious that it is best to learn the current knowledge. If you are a student, I assume that you get nervous that at the university you sometimes learn outdated technologies that practically nobody uses anymore. Don’t make this mistake too, read books, listen to podcasts, go to meetups, stay up to date!
How is the job market in your country or city?
Programming is your passion? If the answer is ‘yes’, you would probably also like it to be your way of making money. So take care of it and find out what the labour market is like around you. Check what programming technologies and languages are popular and learning them will help you find your dream job. Remember, however, not to follow the crowd blindly. Also, keep in mind that the fact that a given technology is not popular at an actual time doesn’t mean that it will change in a while.
Do you enjoy it?
Let’s suppose that you have already chosen a programming language and learn it for several months. Stop for a moment and think about whether you enjoy it? Do you really like it? If you’re not sure, slow down a little. Life is too short to do something you don’t like. If it really becomes your passion, then act and go ahead all the time.
Don’t be afraid to ask and make mistakes!
We learn the most from our mistakes. Only a person who does nothing doesn’t make mistakes. How to make these mistakes less? Draw conclusions and ask more experienced people. If you have the opportunity, find a mentor and ask him as many questions as possible. Participating in local meetups is also a great value. If you are a student, try to create something cool with others, you will get a lot out of it.
As you can see, it is not possible to answer the title question of this article unambiguously. I hope, however, that the aspects I have pointed out will allow you to make a good decision. Don’t think too long, just start acting! If you simply don’t like a language, try to learn another one. If you have any additional questions about this, let me know in a comment or email me. I hope the article is valuable to you.