Job Title: Learner

by Jess Brown

This morning I read a Quora question posted by a student who wanted to learn Ruby on Rails, but wanted to know how easy or difficult it was to get a rails job.

I really like the response from a developer at Spotify. He said that right now, it's easy to get a rails job and it pays competitively with other like developer positions.

However, he said you cannot hang your hat on any one technology. If you want to be a great developer, you have to be prepared to learn constantly.

Constant learning is only behaviour that is guaranteed to get you hired at the best companies and to give you job security as a programmer. This is common to all great and well-paid developers - develop a hunger for learning. Learn because it fascinates you, not because it will land you a job. Ironically, it is this attitude that WILL land you the best jobs, and give you security long-term.

I agree. When I started my company in 2008, I was constantly astonished by the degree with which each project differed. I always told my wife, if I could just get one project that was like the last we could really make a profit. The truth is, even if you do get two projects that are similar, if they are more than 6 months apart, some technology is going to have a different "better" way of implementation.

Now, that's not to say that experience doesn't account for anything. It does in a big way. When you have to update a gem or software version, the more experienced you are, the more quickly you'll adapt, but you'll never stop learning. If you do stop learning, you're likely going to get left behind.

For the last few years, I've been extremely focused on rails and have been reluctant to "play" with any other technologies or frameworks. I didn't want anything to distract me from my focus on rails. Recently however, as I've become a more mature rails developer and feel more comfortable in that role, I've been wanting to branch out and learn some new technologies. A few on at the top of my list are:

  1. node.js
  2. iOS
  3. elixir
  4. React or Ember (I've used Angular)

Which one should I pick?

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