At Bloc we started out with Front End Development. We learned HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. We checked out the JQuery library and re-created an app using the AngularJS framework.

At that point I began to feel very comfortable with JavaScript and was enjoying it immensely. I was reading JS and Angular books on the side to gain a better understanding.

During this time, I began building my portfolio page on the side and realized that I was somewhat deficient in CSS, so I took a little time going over CSS again to get a better footing.

Entering week 11 at Bloc, we began Back End development. We took an intense primer on Ruby and then jumped into Rails. Now, this side of things I really like…Rails is very powerful and I am finding back end development exciting.

Yet, in all this excitement and time spent learning Ruby on Rails, my confidence in JavaScript diminished; not so much the logic, but the syntax.

I want to keep pushing on with Rails, but I don’t want my understanding of JavaScript to be lost in the process.

The Dilemma

This brings me to the point of this post. It is a thought that comes up often in my day to day musings and one I would love to get your feedback on. It is this:

Is it prudent, as a new coder, to have a decent grasp of multiple languages, or to focus on one particular language and work to “master” it?

My Thoughts

I have given this some thought. There are guys, like Eric Elliot, who focus on a specific language (JavaScript) as their niche, and they become VERY familiar with it and carve out a successful life programming/teaching/etc. it. This seems like a wise thing to do, to zone in on one language, become very familiar with it, and market yourself as a _____ developer/teacher/etc.

This also seems wise for CodeNewbies, because the ultimate goal is to land a job…to get your foot in the door.

With this approach, it would be helpful to see what languages are in demand in your city/area. On your job search are you seeing a need for a specific language? If so, should this be your focus?

For example, I live in Lynchburg, Virginia, a fairly small city in comparison to many. To my knowledge, no one is looking for Ruby on Rails developers. But there seems to be a healthy demand for HTML/CSS/Javascript developers and those knowledgeable in web design. There is also a need for SQL experience.

Sure, there is freelance work, and the option of relocation, but should I spend the majority of my time in JS or Rails given what I have mentioned above? I would say JS if I plan to stay in this area.

Now should I quit learning Rails? Absolutely not! But I think I should put a bit more effort in the language that is needed in my location: To become well grounded in JS and market myself specifically as a JS developer.

Your Thoughts

These are my current thoughts and may change over time. What are your thoughts on this topic. Do you agree that if the goal is to land a job, then one should focus heavily on the language that is demanded in that area?

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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