Which technology should you learn? posted on 22 March 2024

One recurrent question I get is which “tech stack/language should I learn to get a job at ?”. The answer to me is whatever you are interested in.

I think it has little value to try to learn a stack for a potential future employer.

  • Many companies don’t care. For example Google doesn’t care what language you are familiar with because they expect you to be able to pick up any language as needed – and to be fair, even if you know how to write C++, you would be quite astonished to see what C++ at Google looks like. For Meta it’s even more obvious as (almost?) nobody outside Meta is using Hack.
  • Whatever knowledge you would gain by building a small app would be shallow. It may help ramp up a bit faster, but I think we are talking about a few days faster, nothing significant.

The only caveat is if you want to specialize in a domain. For example if you want to become a web app performance engineer, you better brush up your JavaScript skills.

If you really want to learn something useful, here are my current expectations:

  • Python will still be heavily used – there were chatters that Go would replace it for scripting but I don’t think it happened. It will probably still be heavily used in many startups and small companies.
  • Java, C# and Go will stay the de facto large companies preferred languages
  • JavaScript, Swift and Android will stay and probably slightly grow as there aren’t a lot of good alternatives – though I think Flutter (with Dart) has quite some potential here.
  • Rust will pick up steam but won’t become mainstream – not every company needs such a powerful language. At the same time C++ will persist and dominate.

On my end, if I were to pick up random technologies that I’m not super familiar with, it would be Flutter and Rust:

  • I have no experience with Flutter besides reading about it – I did play a bit with Dart in its early days, but don’t remember anything about it.
  • I did play with Rust quite a bit, but not enough to get to the very interesting and unsafe parts.

What technology are you interested in but aren’t familiar with (yet)?

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