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App and web development in 2021: what you should learn?

Are you an app or web developer who is not sure what new skills to learn over the next 12 months? In such a fast-changing industry it could be challenging to predict what new skills will be demanded, which means that when it comes to your future you can leave yourself in a somewhat weakened position.

Therefore, if you are looking for ideas on how to organise your learning here is a quick list to help you:

Learn a new language

Learning a new language may not be your first priority, and if you have been working with Java or JavaScript for years it may seem strange to invest time in learning something completely new. You may think that it would be better to invest your time and efforts into learning something you can use at work.

If truth be told, learning a new language could just be one of the best things you can do in 2021. It will not only give your CV a gentle kick, and potentially open new opportunities but it will also give you a better holistic understanding of how coding languages work, what are their relative limitations and advantages over one another.

The question is what you should learn and the answer is entirely down to you and what is your background and where you want to go. Some options are more evident – for a Java developer usually Kotlin is the natural next step. However, not every time is clear – for example JavaScript developers may want to learn Go if they want to become more familiar with back-end development or even Rust or C++ if they feel particularly adventurous and ambitious.

Re-learn a language you know

Although, it is highly beneficial to learn new things, we often forget how valuable it can be to go back and learn something you know.

Re-learning a language you know is great for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, it is good to be able to review your current level of understanding and to get up to speed with new features and functions that you may have previously not known about. Secondly it gives you a chance to explore a language from scratch and allows you to uncover some new perspectives on it.

This is crucial if you want to learn a new paradigm, like functional coding. Revising all the core principles and theory is essential for unlocking new levels of performance and control. Although, theory is usually dismissed as something academic we need to appreciate the close kinship between theory and practice.

Learn a new framework

Even if you are not ready to learn a new language, learning a new framework could be a more practical option that you can start using immediately.

The middle of the decade, when Angular.js was gaining popularity across web development, there was a huge debate and discussion about which is the best framework. Fortunately, this discourse has declined as it was outlined that choosing a framework is more about the best tool for the job rather than a badge of personal identity.

Hence, if you are willing to learn new tools and frameworks you will not only be building out your CV, but you will also have the wider knowledge and skills to solve problems at your work.

Learn to build microservices

Micro-services are the dominant architectural model. The growth of APIs and web services, and the containerisation are just a few of the reasons for that. Ultimately, the important thing is that micro-services allow you to build software in a way that is more modular, drives efficiency and agility which leads to empowering developers.

Therefore, if you don’t yet have experience in developing micro-services you should invest some time and effort into this. Even if you don’t have a professional need to learn more about micro-services, exploring the topic through your personal projects could be a great benefit for you in the future.

Learn how to go about learning

Being a developer means lifelong learning. And while you are encouraged to learn new frameworks, micro-services and coding languages, ultimately what you learn starts and ends with you. Indeed, this isn’t easy – it’s probably one of the hardest aspects of working in technology. Therefore, to keep your skills up to date it’s essential to keep learning.

It is true that there isn’t much you can do in regard to poor documentation or a toxic community. However, you can think of your learning process in a way that is both open minded and well structured. For example, clarify what you need and want to do – be reflective about your work and career - be inquisitive and exploratory in your research,talk to people you know and trust, and read opinions, experiences, and guides from people you have never heard of.

By implementing a more intentional approach to your learning process you will find that you can learn new skills way more efficiently, whilst you enjoy it more too.


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