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How do developers learn new languages?

How do developers learn new languages?


How do developers learn new languages?

Posted by: Arun Umapathy

Tuesday, Aug 19th, 2014

Developers, especially developers new to the trade, are so excited and eager to learn that they fall victim to what I like to call programming Generalism. Programming Generalism is when a programmer tries to 'specialize' in too many languages too quickly and often becomes a generalist, albeit not a very good one. I have been victim to this phenomena. After completing my Ruby on Rails course at General Assembly, I said "hey, I know how to program now, let me try and learn as much as possible about everything!". Boy was that naive.

Learning how to program is a marathon, not a sprint. Instead of focusing on many languages - try focusing on just one language/framework and become an expert at it. Overtime, you can start incorporating new technologies to your well established foundation and branch out. Your career will also assist you if you allow it to. Join meet ups and get out in the community and meet people. Honestly, meeting people is probably the best way to learn and become a better developer.

I recently stumbled upon a video by one of the godfathers of programming, Bjarne Stroustrup. For those of you who don't know, Mr. Stroustrup is the creator of C++ so yea, he's a badass and someone we should all probably listen too. In the video he says that you can't consider yourself a professional developer unless you know at least 5 programming languages. 5!? That seems like a high number, especially for anyone starting out, but again, with time it is very doable.

New developers, keep your chin up and remember to get involved, we all have very bright futures.

Arun Umapathy

Meet The Author

Arun Umapathy / Co-Owner

Arun specializes in Ruby on Rails, JS frameworks and IOS with over 5 years of development experience. He has a built many production applications and understands the importance of clean scalable code, even when building MVP's. Arun is a leader and visionary within the space and takes pride and care in every app he builds.