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Don’t waste your time learning everything

waylonwalker profile image Waylon Walker Originally published at waylonwalker.com on ・2 min read

"Don’t waste your time learning everything."

Inspired by this linkedIn post

I felt that this comment was very powerful. Here are my 2 cents.

Be Productive

Stick to what you know, and learn a little bit of something new every day. If what you know is how to use Excel like a boss, don't fee ashamed that you are missing something. Be proud and use what you know.

Don't Stagnate

Take small steps enhance what you know now with something new that you get you closer to where you want to be. If you need something that sci-py offers learn how to load in data and use that part. If your sick of waiting for IT to pull data out of the database so you can use it, learn that.

Dont Overwhelm Yourself

If you try to drop everything you know now and jump whole hog into these new flashy things its not going to work. Learn what you need to know. New things crop up very often. They will come and go. Some things will get traction, some will never get much traction past an impressive hello world example.

Keep your finger on new tech

Its important to keep your finger on the state of technology, but dont Overwhelm yourself learning every new thing that comes out. Make silly hello world examples in these new things and walk away. When its time to implement something new into a real project you will be ready and understand how to do it. If that thing dies its good that you didn't waste a lot of time on it, but chances are it inspired the thing that actually takes off. Then you will have some understanding of what the next thing is doing ahead of everyone else who missed out on the original.

I'll leave you with this inspirational video by Kitze

Navigating the hype-driven frontend development world without going insane - KITZE

Discussion (27)

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard 🇫🇷🇩🇪🇬🇧🇪🇸🇨🇴 • Edited

exactly right!
if you try to learn everything, you will end up building TodoMVC in 42 frameworks/language combinations, and really, what's the point?

Learn something, build something cool with it no matter how simple, show it to the world and iterate from there

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker Author

Publishing new things these days is so easy that anyone can do it. That's so amazing but we get flooded with new packages all the time.

It's really important to do very small toy examples on the ones you actually think you need, but only deeply learn the ones that really move the needle. It's really hard for any framework to be so much better that it moves the needle in existing projects.

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murrayvarey profile image
MurrayVarey

💯

Trying to learn everything is a real drain on vital brainpower. There's no shame in having to use Google. If anything you should feel proud -- it means you've saved that mental bandwidth for something more important.

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Waylon Walker Author • Edited

There's no shame in having to use Google.

Heck no there's no shame in utilizing search as a tool. Learning what/how to use google to get the right answer is a very valid skill. The surface area of tech is so broad that forming the right question is very difficult. I have had problems that I google for days. I will literally think of a new angle to phrase the question and try again. Sometimes the answer is that there is not simple pip install package kind of answer and I need to do the work myself. Other times I find the perfect well executed answer after rethinking the question.

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MurrayVarey

Learning what/how to use google to get the right answer is a very valid skill

Absolutely! There are many skills involved in a good search -- the phrasing, quickly ruling out unhelpful results, and so on. It sounds simple, but it really isn't.

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aleksandrhovhannisyan profile image
Aleksandr Hovhannisyan

There's no shame in having to use Google.

99% of my education and work experience as a developer has involved Googling things I don't know.

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murrayvarey profile image
MurrayVarey

Same. And the other 1% I usually get wrong.

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metalmikester profile image
Michel Renaud

"Dont Overwhelm Yourself"

This cannot be emphasized enough. Most of the time I try too much, the brain sizzles and I end up not getting anything done because I have so many things I want to do or just try and don't know where to start.

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker Author

I keep a C:/temp directory full of toy projects. If I am curious about something it makes it really easy to mkdir test_newpackage spend 5 minutes with it and walk away without the burden of needing to fully learn and deeply understand the new thing by implementing it into a real project. Keep this space simple and kind of messy. I love learning new things and learning from how others structure their projects. Granted this is after going through my sanity filter of if I think it would be at all useful to me or not. If I did this with every package announced on a podcast, HN, dev.to, twitter I would definitely be overwhelmed.

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Luis

I love learning new techs, I'm a Web developer but in my work there was an opening for iOS developer and asked if I can join with the same salary as a junior and they agree! Still I do web stuff by myself, the point is stick with a main tech/paradigm but don't be scared of trying new things, just make smart decisions about it

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Waylon Walker Author

That is really cool. The important part was that you were intensional about your decision to step into something new and werent afraid of it.

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Hoang Trinh

I totally agree with what is said in the title. Focus is the key.

Just 2 questions:

  1. I've just started with machine learning for a couple of months, and I chose Python right from the beginning (my gut told me that I shouldn't need R), and I also chose Pytorch over Tensorflow. But can you please explain why Swift for Tensorflow is pretty much dead?

  2. Do you think Rust is just the new hype or is it truly great?

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker Author
  1. Honestly I have no Idea. I am assuming that they are using the swift lanuage rather than python. swift is a lanuage mostly used for native ios development.
  2. I have written hello world in rust, thats it. If I were to pick up a low level language it would likely be rust. That said I have been using a lot of cli tools written in rust and they are great! I love how well cross platform they seem to be. (bat, exa, broot)
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Mohamed Latfalla

I'm trying to do that exactly, I work on Serverless architecture and once in an exam for a job in a bank, the questions were about Kubernetes and Docker, I got an emotional break and I thought I was wasting my time working on something that won't see the light in my country or the region in the next few years. Then, I realized, I like what I'm doing and I'm good at it, let me learn it just for the sake of learning something new not to replace my passion. Still trying to overcome that fealing..

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker Author

Just because you focus on one thing doesn't mean that some of those skills aren't transferrable. Most of the time it makes learning the next thing easier.

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astrit profile image
Astrit • Edited

I try to read as much as possible stuff like this to encourage my self that is OK not to know everything, sometimes I really feel frustrated how fast things are going, how many languages, frameworks are popping out.

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker Author

They all have good intent, it's just good to judge which ones are worthwhile for you. Which is so freaking hard when some get such massive hype.

Watch Kitzes video linked in the article for 10x motivation.

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anilkulkarni87 profile image
anilkulkarni87

Thank you for sharing this. This helps me take a pause and not be overwhelmed by the number of things one has to learn.

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker Author

Being intentional is key.

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leob profile image
leob

I agree with the basic premise ... even when you pick one area (e.g. web dev), it's impossible to learn or even try "everything" (how can you even define 'everything').

It can be good to know "what's happening" in a field, but don't even try to do a "hello world" in ALL of the front end frameworks (to mention just one topic) which are published - only do that when you have too much time to waste.

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Shiraaz Moollatjie

Would love to hear your thoughts on a discussion post I just made. Your post is part of what I thought about when posting it :)

dev.to/shiraazm/what-is-considered...

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker Author

Honored to know that I Inspired your post!

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mikaelsu profile image
Mikael Sukoinen

So many things to learn already and new things published every. day. It's impossible to learn it all!
Thanks for sharing your insight.

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker Author

You're welcome, I am glad you enjoyed. That is so right there is a flood of new packages out of every day. And so many of them are really good, it's so hard to ignore them.

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denisgaidul

I disagree. Learning Scala helped me to understand C++ better.
So it's not that good to stick to only one or two languages - broader view can be helpful :)

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker Author

I completely agree that learning adjacent technology gives us a broader view of things, and deepens our understanding of the technology that we are interested in. I personally keep my finger on a ton of different things, and dive deeply into things that I find interesting, valuable, or just fun.

At the same time its important to not feel the FOMO of not jumping on the latest hype train every time one comes to the station. If you deeply know react. Its probably useful for you to put your finger on vue, svelte since they are getting big and you may run into them. Its dont feel like you need to rewrite a working code base. It's also not valuable learning all 10s maybe 100s of frameworks in existence. Its definitely not useful to know all of the 100Ks of packages on any give languages package repo.

TLDR the main point of this post is that you don't have to jump on every hype train that comes to station. Stay productive with what you know, keep your finger on what might be useful, dive into some things, but don't distract yourself with EVERYTHING.

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Rie Ann

Thanks for the tips. As a newbie I feel kind of lost and overwhelmed with so much info at hand.