Learning the wrong programming language will stall your career.
No matter how proficient or brilliant you are at writing code, if you don’t have the specific skills most employers require they won’t be willing to work with you.
Have you seen these intimidating phrases on job postings recently?:
"...Do not apply unless..."
"...Must have experience with..."
In most fields an employer may will be willing to talk to you if you have something called "transferable skills". But developer jobs are different. The hiring manager wants you to be proficient in the exact language, framework, and tool set that the company already uses.
Don't Ask The Internet "Which Programming Language Should I Learn Next?"
The Q&A site Quora has a question about which programming language you should learn. The page has been viewed over 466,000 times.
More than 100 developers took the time to write an answer and cheer for their favorite language. And the answers amount to 95,387 words (yes, we counted).
JR Tolkien's "The Hobbit" has 95,022 words and it was turned into three epic movies. Yet a question about learning a new coding language has it beat by 300 words.
No wonder why so many people are confused about how to become a professional developer!
Two Wrong Ways to Choose a Coding Language to Study
Aspiring developers fall in love with the coding language used by their favorite startups. “Hey, Airbnb uses XYZ software languages and tools, so I want to learn it too!”. The dream is that if you learn the software of the companies you use every day, then perhaps you'll will work at your favorite startup, or one just like it.
Expereinced developers have the opposite problem. They are bored by the technology they use every day at their job. They don’t want to adopt the coding languages Airbnb chose last year. They want to master what they think the next Airbnb, or hot company will use next year.
When you ask the experienced developer what you should study to become a professional, he tells you about the latest and greatest coding language. But if you quiz that dev a little more, you discover that he only uses that technology on his side-projects, not at his day job!
Don’t Ask Developers - Ask Their bosses
The best advice about choosing a coding language to study comes from the person writing your paycheck. Once you discovery which skills hiring managers want from junior developers, then you can safely ignore the 95,387 words of advice on Quora.
How do you find what bosses want? Do a search for software development jobs on sites like Indeed and Dice. The job postings offer a glimpse at the technologies companies use in your area.
The first thing you’ll notice is that companies hire candidates skilled in a specific “programming stack” not just a programming language. A stack or framework is a collection of languages, tools, and patterns that help developers build software quickly.
You may have heard of the following stacks:
Ruby on Rails
MERN / MEAN Stack
As a beginner, you should aim to master one stack, and ignore everything else. Why? Because an employer will hire you based on how well you know their preferred framework, not based on how many frameworks you know.
Also, focusing on a stack helps focus your learning. Each stack or framework comes with a set of patterns or conventions, a specific way of doing things.
The tools for writing HTML in a Rails project are different than the HTML tools in a .NET project. So even if you are at the begininning of learning to code, you should learn in the context of a chosen stack.
at Coder Foundry, we teach the .NET framework.
At our coding bootcamp we train students in .NET because it's used by the type of company you should target if you want a great job, in any area of the country.
Take a look at the chart below from Indeed.com. It compares the number of programming jobs for various technologies.
Throughout the eight-year period represented on this chart, .NET is consistently the most sought after skill, and the lead has only increased.
You don’t hear a lot of news about .NET in the tech press. But don’t be fooled. The Microsoft backed framework is a platform that drives business technology at many of the top corporations in the United States, like Starbucks, Chase, 3M, Match.com, and more.
.NET is the predominant technology used for enterprise-scale business technology, and the demand at these companies for junior .NET developers is high.
So, that's step 1 of the developer job roadmap. In step two you'll learn why it's important to learn a new programming language rapidly.
And If you're interested in learning .NET so you can score a new job, we have a bootcamp class starting soon. Learn more about that right here.