I am Brian Holt. Ask me anything.

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Jennifer Lyn Parsons's photo

Hi Brian! Thanks for taking the time to do an AMA!

My question is coming from the perspective of an intermediate dev who'd like to be senior someday.

With the rapid growth and change across the stack, I find it hard to feel invested in learning one framework over another when in a few years time the landscape could look completely different. I'm concerned that large chunks of my hard-earned knowledge will become outdated.

The answer to that concern is often "focus on the foundations" (languages, stuff like APIs, and CompSci concepts) which is admirable, but not necessarily helpful when job searching, especially early in your career. Most of us are crunched for study time, as well, so it's good to be smart about where you put your focus.

What are your thoughts on frameworks vs foundations and how to balance staying current but also thinking long term in the current industry?

Brian Holt's photo

My advice is work on what fascinates you. For me, interest is always a precious and fleeting commodity. If I can either play PS4 or write code, if I'm trying to learn something I'm not stoked about I'm going to play PS4. But if I'm itching to learn more then I might forgo games/Netflix/whatever to write code.

So do you want to learn Vue.js? Then do it! Vue may go away some day but you'll learn patterns from core Vue that will stick with you (their reactivity model is amazing!) Want to learn deep JS fundamentals do that? Don't want to learn TypeScript? Learn it later when someone will pay you to do it.

Be curious. Chase whatever tickles your brain the right. As someone hiring you, I'll hire the curious person who does cool stuff in their spare time over the person who happened to have a little more experience in our framework of choice.

Jennifer Lyn Parsons's photo

That's very reassuring that I'm on the right track.

I do generally choose projects and studying that interests me, or is at least a doorway to something that interests me.

You've also reminded me to shift my perspective a bit toward curiosity and away from obligation, which is often enough to get something kickstarted. There is indeed always something to learn on any project that's interesting and will build toward deeper knowledge.

Thanks for your insights!