It’s a given that one will not be very successful trying to learn everything. Just think about it. How can one become an expert in something if he is seeking to know everything?

Life is just too short.

This is one of the pitfalls about being a CodeNewbie; feeling like you must learn everything as quickly as you can……almost like you have to catch up with others who already know how to code well. But in doing this, you really set yourself back from learning anything of substance.

That is why it is important from the outset to set goals so that you know which direction you want to go. It is important to evaluate your strengths and interests and let this dictate what niche you should zero in on.

I often think about how much time I wasted being sidetracked by the “next best thing.”

In fact, if I could go back to the starting line, here would be four sequential steps I would use, and that I would recommend to any CodeNewbie to find your niche in coding:

1. First, learn the fundamentals.

This is everyone’s starting point. No matter your interests or skills, learn HTML, CSS, and at least basic JavaScript. Build a site (HTML), style it (CSS), and make it come alive (JS). Don’t start with Rails or PHP…don’t jump to frameworks…..just learn the basic building blocks of web development.

2. After this, determine what is most appealing to you and what you are good at

This is important! Along the way there will be things you hate doing and things that really interest you. Take notes.

Maybe you are already artistic and know how to use Illustrator or Photoshop. Then learn to animate with CSS or a JS framework like Greensock.

Perhaps you love solving complex problems. Then dig deeper in JavaScript and begin to build simple applications.

Let what appeals to you and excites you lead you to find your niche in coding.

3. Pursue that for six months without being sidetracked

Once you have determined step 2, pursue it relentlessly for six months. Do not get sidetracked. Look to become a “master” at it. Look to understand it deeply.

Do this by building things…..original things. Break it. Enhance it. Try out new concepts that you learn along the way.

You do not limit yourself at all by specializing in one language or framework. In fact, the opposite will happen. You will become the go to person in this specialty.

What pops in your head when you think Eric Elliott? Yes, JavaScript. That is his focus and mastery.

And this is even more true if your continue to niche down.

4. Now it is time to branch out

Once you have pursued this one specific thing for six months, then begin to branch out. This can be done in two ways:

  1. Niche down further. For instance, if you have pursued JavaScript specifically for six months, now move to Vue.js or Angular. If you have been nailing down PHP, now move to Laravel or dig into the WordPress framework.
  2. Change platforms or go somewhere new. For instance if a love for mobile development has emerged, then learn Swift. At this point the opportunities are endless.

Most importantly, take your time. Remember, you cannot learn everything, but you can over time become really good at one.

Find your niche in coding. Master it. Teach it. Build it.

Have you found yourself like I had, trying so hard to learn everything that you in essence learned nothing well? Tell me about it and how you overcame this in the comments below. 

Travis Rodgers

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Hi, I'm the Travis in Travis.Media. I'm a self-taught software developer, blogger, and YouTuber, sharing everything I'm learning along the way.

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