Principals and techniques are more valuable that specific skills

It seems like everyone wants to learn to program and become a developer nowdays, which is great, but there’s a noticeable trend online of people asking how to learn language xyz in the shortest amount of time imaginable and get a job by next month, which is a completely unrealistic expectation.

We all have bills to pay, I get it. However, whereas learning how to build a simple HTML page today may get you your first job and keep you busy for a few months, it may not keep you employed for long if you’re not prepared to keep your skills up to date and keep up with the industry trends.

Technologies in software development change quick. What’s hot this year may be out of date the next year. You need to commit to investing in keeping your skills up to date and to stay current with the current skill demands. If you’re a relatively new developer or are just getting started, it would help to do some research about programming languages and frameworks to get an understanding of how quickly things have changed in the past. In the early 2000s for example, every Java based web application was built with Apache Struts and it was replaced with Spring MVC (and a few others) in the space of a couple of years. Web frameworks have a significantly quick turnover. JavaScript based web frameworks and libraries have come and gone in the last few years at an alarming rate – jQuery used to be everywhere and is now is a second choice (or not even considered) over the main frameworks dominating this space, Angular, React and Vue.

It’s important to keep in perspective that programming languages are tools, and learning a programming language alone does not make you a developer. A comparison is learning to use a hammer when intending to get a job as a framer building houses – it’s more obvious to see how ridiculous that expectation is, but the same thing applies to only learning a programming language.

Principals and techniques are reusable and transferrable skills, no matter what programming language you are using. Focus on developing your software development skills first, and secondly a programming language.

A career in software development is a career of continual learning and keeping your skills up to date. Regularly invest in your skills and you’ll be able to enjoy a long and rewarding career in software development.