How to Decide What to Learn Next? Asking the right questions.

Finding out the learning path - the right way!

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People are always confused about what they should learn next or what path they should take to become a developer. That confusion leads us to rely on some other person who is already good at it. Well, it’s not a bad idea at all, but what you really need to keep in mind is that, not everyone is same. We have our own different ways to learn. And most importantly, everyone has different goals of learning it which may not be your final goal. l think it is important to ask yourself first about what the next thing to learn and try to figure out your own learning path and stick with it.

Asking others is dangerous!

I think it's a really dangerous question to ask other people about your learning path. Today in this article, I will try to explain why that is? The types of questions that you should be asking, and how you can figure out what are the next steps of your journey.

For instance, if someone started learning web development, and finished HTML and CSS then comes to me and ask about what to learn next? Then the chances are my suggestion to you may not be correct at all. Because I don’t know how he learned and how much he learned about the topics.

Especially, when you're learning something new, the more you learn - the more you realize that you don't really know as much as you thought you did and there's a lot more to learn. So, I really don't know where you are. Also, when you're asking someone for the next step, most of them can only speak from their personal experience. I'll always suggest people not to learn bootstrap or tailwind but instead learning regular old CSS because, I think a strong understanding of CSS makes them better at all of those and it lets them pick the libraries up much faster.

The same for JavaScript and learning Vanilla JavaScript is probably better than learning a specific framework but if you're getting comfortable with JavaScript and you do want to learn a framework, if you ask around, you won't really learn which one you should learn. Instead you'll just learn about the personal preference of the person that you're asking. In general, that's the issue with these types of questions. they tend not to give you any great insights but you just hear about what worked for that person in their own situation or maybe you hear about something they wish they did differently.

There’re literally a million different answers because there are a million different paths. People who are self-taught and successful will say that's the way to go. People who went through a boot camp and loved it will say to follow some other path. If someone got a computer science degree and now they're making bank with a six-figure salary they might say this is the best choice they ever made in their life.

Find your own path….

I think a much better idea is to look at what you want to achieve. Do you want to get a job at FAANG company? Or start working for a start-up? Or maybe you want to be a freelancer. Many companies will have their own tech stack but if you want to work at a start-up, React or Vue might be great choices. If you want to get into freelance maybe you need to start learning PHP because you're probably going to be getting deep into the world of WordPress 😉. Basically, you need to set a goal for a company or a start-up and find out what tech stack that company uses and focus on it.

We can't go around asking other people what you should learn. You need to ask yourself what you want to do. What's your goal? Because even front-end developer means about a thousand different things.

If you don’t know your goal….

At this point so if you say - I want to be a front-end developer that doesn't help anybody and maybe you don't know what you want to do yet. That's completely fine. You can keep going and keep learning and maybe be pushed down a certain path eventually. But I’d strongly suggest you stop and ask yourself what your goal is?

Re Adjustable behavior is OK! In fact important to progress.

Having a job isn't a goal, having a job at company x is a goal or industry y is a goal and don't feel like you're locking yourself in. If you're deciding like this you might start working toward that goal and then find out you like something else. As you're making that progress and then you start moving in a different direction and that's completely fine. Maybe you want to be a front-end developer and then you start learning a lot about JavaScript and then you get into node.js and then all of a sudden you fall in love with that and you discover the world of Back End and all of a sudden you love it and then you just readjust your goals and you work towards that. That's perfect. In fact, we need to make these adjustments in order to progress in life. I would say having an end goal in mind is the best way to start making progress.

Building network of like-minded people…

The next thing is to start reaching out to people in those specific areas of your interest, and see what they use day to day or you can talk to recruiters and see what they're looking for when they're hiring a junior developer. It doesn't hurt to start asking questions and seeing if you can make a bit of networking and really finding out what people in that industry or at that specific company are using every day. Join programmer communities, in fact here in Hashnode there is a lot of scope to learn every day. Utilize the power of social media. Connect with developers around the world. These things will not only make you understand how are the different technologies are being utilized and also the latest advancements in it.

Conclusion

So, we came to an end of this article. Basically, the TR; DR; version is, never rely on others to build your learning path. Instead, create your goals and frame the learning path according to it. Because there is no specific way to learn things. Hope you will be successful in whichever path you choose.

Comments (4)

Edidiong Asikpo's photo

Interesting perspective Devalla Sai Charan. I agreed with your points on this.

However, I still think asking people for their input on what next to learn is not completely a bad idea because that person has a certain level of experience that you don't have.

Yes, everyone has their own path but a little guidance here and there would be great.

Show +1 replies
Edidiong Asikpo's photo

Devalla Sai Charan Yes, this makes sense.

Asking questions with a clear view of exactly what we want to achieve is very important. I agree with you.

Once again, interesting article. I really enjoyed reading it.

Devalla Sai Charan's photo

Really glad you found it useful Edidiong Asikpo