Overwhelmed with Choice

I’ve been a developer for several years now. I have always been naturally curious, and “computer programming” was now on my radar. There must be a way for me to use my mind to make a living, I said to myself at the end of a long day on the ranch. I was a common laborer, a ranch hand helping to take care of 300 head of cattle and raising 5,000 pounds of tobacco. That’s another story altogether. Fast forward 3 years and I’ve just completed a three month immersive course in programming with Visual Basic 6.0 and SQL Server 6.5.

Well, I feel like I haven’t stopped since. I always loved learning, and learn I did. As soon as I heard the “buzz”, I was parked in front of my PC with a book or magazine coding away to learn the newest technology in the Microsoft developer world. XML was a hot item, I wrote an XSLT routine to present and score a career placement personality test. AJAX was amazing! I had to build an internal chat application. On my todo list of things to study was Java; so, when Microsoft came out with .NET and the new C#, I hopped on that bandwagon through the fields of MVC and Entity Framework, and haven’t gotten off to date. Also along this technology journey came JQuery — What!?? How did we live without this fabulous framework? From there, the JavaScript frameworks exploded. I toyed with Knockout, Backbone and AngularJS. I have settled into Angular 2+/ReactJS, but there is still so much more to learn.

I’m currently and have been concurrently to some extent, studying Android development, R and statistical analysis, Unity/Render gaming and game asset creation, .NET Core, Entity Framework Core and solidifying my knowledge of Angular 2+. I realized a few weeks ago that I was moving along at a snail’s pace trying to learn so many different things at once, so I developed (finally) a schedule of sorts.

I split everything I’m currently interested in learning into five groups:
 1. R and statistical analysis with R Studio
 2. Unity and Render
 3. Angular and other Javascript frameworks
 4. .NET development related
 5. Android development with Android Studio
I’ve scheduled recurring tasks every five days for each of these groups. Any time I have to study must fall into the group scheduled for the given day. I’ve been through a few cycles of this, and I wish I had done this years ago. I’m no longer side tracked by development related email, tweets, books, articles that are not related to the day’s subject group. My time spent studying a particular topic is magnitudes more productive than I have been accustomed to. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?