What programming languages should I focus on learning?

Shortly after deciding I wanted to be a developer and starting the immersive software engineering course at Flatiron School, I started to feel the effects of the daunting proposition of deciding which programming languages to focus on. As with many things, there are so many competing opinions that it can be overwhelming to choose a direction.

The way I’ve gone about quelling the anxiety is to refer to an existing schema in my adult brain that comes from another domain of my life: yoga. Like programming languages, there are a seemingly infinite number of styles of yoga to choose from. And just as I settled on a style of yoga to practice consistently, so too have I settled on a programming language to focus the majority of my limited time on mastering.

In yoga, I chose Ashtanga because of its systemic-nature, longevity, and deep roots. In programming, my choice is JavaScript and its ecosystem of libraries, frameworks, etc. for the same reasons. Here are 3 reasons why I chose to focus on JavaScript:

  • As the language of the browser that allows you to manipulate page elements to create elegant interactivity for users, it’s arguably the most popular programming language in the world.
  • It’s a full-stack language. Recently, I built a social network app for the philosophy club I founded and run using the MERN stack. It uses MongoDB, Express, React, and Node.js. All of these technologies use JavaScript. Here is the GitHub repo and here is the URL for that project.
  • The ecosystem for JavaScript libraries and frameworks is active and has longevity. Front-end frameworks such as React, Angular, Vue, and Ember, back-end frameworks including Express and Next, and testing frameworks like Jest and Mocha are all widely used, well documented, and are valuable technologies to have in the job market.

Choosing JavaScript as my focus will not preclude me from learning other languages, but I do intend to spend at least 80% of my time mastering it. If you’re a software engineer, how did you choose which language(s) to focus on and why did you choose that focus? I’d like to hear from you. Please share your insights in the comments.

Show Comments

Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox.