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Ask HN: Perfect existing skills or build new ones?
3 points by sonalkr132 on Oct 10, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 3 comments
I am college student in Junior year. I am comfortable with building ruby on rails applications. I have not been able to decide whether I should keep building on my existing skills or I should explore new fields? For example, if I have some time at hand, should I spend that on reading source code of rails, learn things like Meter, Node.Js, NoSQL etc or should I explore completely new fields like software development with C++/Python or may be android/ios app development? Big data and AI are quite interesting as well. You guys must have made this decision at some point.



Both / all of the above.

At this point in your career, I would be concerned with two things:

1. Differentiating yourself from other entry-level candidates when you graduate a year from now. The best way to do this is simply to built-out your portfolio. Launch as many real sites and apps as you can...in whatever language/stack makes sense for the app in question.

2. Finding something you really enjoy. If you love building RoR sites, great! But if you think pursuing A.I. and such might make you happier in the long run, then you should pursue that path. At the end of the day, finding a sub-field that really interests you will make your career go a lot smoother.

Time is on your side. You've got plenty of options, and I would recommend you pursue any and all of the ones that you find interesting.


There are different philosophies, but given you are still in school and have a year to go.

I'd focus on learning data structures, algorithms and different architectures, when to use what and the trade offs. I say this because honestly, a smart person will pickup just about any language you put in front of them, but if they don't understand the choices behind architectures, data structures and algorithms then their value is far less.

Also, while IMO you should do the above I also agree with MalcolmDiggs suggestions too, you should use this time to experiment with different technologies and different parts of the stack to see what interests you. You may find you hate being a front end web guy, or that you love it. I'd pick an open source project and contribute/learn from it or write some self serving applications that do little things you or your friends would like.


There are lots of great Rails jobs out there.

I would keep developing your expertise in rails.

Maybe learn some react or angular2 to complement your rails knowledge.

I second M-diggs, build some real world applications that are live online, and fill up your github profile with great work.

Oh and enjoy the rest of university. Those are some of the best times in life, there will be plenty of time for work later.




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