My Technology Wishlist
July 19th, 2020
My single favorite thing about software development is the constant learning. And unlike many domains, most all of that learning is applied. (something I talk more about here)
For instance, if I read some book about the evolution of the American political economy, I can sound nice at a cocktail party, which is cool, I guess. (Though I don't know if I've actually ever been to a cocktail party...) But the utility of that knowledge basically stops there. Now that's not me knocking learning for the sake of learning, and I will read that book about the American political economy.
But what makes software development such a rewarding vocation for me is that this is rarely the case. When you learn a new skill, you can put it to use. And, not only that, someone might pay you a bunch of money to do it!
So, without further ado or rambling preamble, here are a couple of the top technologies I want to learn and why I'd like to learn them. I'll try to update the list periodically reflecting new stuff I want to learn, and removing stuff that I have in fact learned.
Ruby on Rails
I like to build stuff. Programming is a creative outlet for me. From everything that I've read and many conversations I've had with other developers, Ruby on Rails is one of the best, if not the single best, framework for rapidly building a production-ready web application.
I don't think I've met a single Rails developer who doesn't love the framework.
Also, most of my backend experience to date has been with more minimalistic frameworks like Express and Flask, so I think it would be a fun experience to get to know a more robust and opinionated framework like Rails to round out my knowledge of the backend ecosystem.
I love me some good data. Thanks to the proliferation of public APIs, most of which are free, you can get good data for most any project you're working on. But you can't get data on everything you want.
With scraping the whole internet is your dataset. The promise of that true data empowerment—and freedom—really appeals to me. The scope of things that you can do extends profoundly when you're not limited to the data provided to you by others.
At the moment I don't have any particular scraping projects that I want to work on, but as when you learn any tool, its applications becomes much more apparent after you learn how to use it!
Basic Data Science & Analytics
Back in my pre-programming days, I got a Bachelors' in Mathematics and Political Science. Based on my studies, I learned a lot of fairly advanced statistics and was quite competent with the R programming language. But also based on these studies, I learned that I would not be happy living a life solely devoted to stats and data analysis. After I took off my graduation gown, I pretty much completely dropped the stats.
While I am still very much confident that I don't want data analysis to be my main professional focus, I would like to combine all that previous knowledge with my newer coding ability. I would like to learn some basic data analysis, particularly related to the web, and how site data can be utilized to improve performance and growth.
As of writing, I don't have a particular data science framework or area of focus that I want to dive into, but it is something that is very much on my roadmap.
I don't have a particular reason that I want to learn Vue.js besides that fact that I've heard lots of nice things about it from fellow developers and on the internet.
Vue is also super well-documented, which I really value. Decent documentation can save hours of picking around Stack Overflow, Github, and YouTube rabbit holes.
To date, I'm quite satisfied with React as a frontend framework, but there's always value in seeing what else is out there and having a point of comparison.