Pedro Piñera

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What's the value?

4 April 2019

Has it happened to you that after having spent a lot of time working or learning something you realized that you can't find find the point on doing it? That's happened to me a lot. I've seen people talking about new technologies, or trendy programming languages and I've nudged myself to learn them, or at least know some basic to participate in discussions. It's unhealthy and pointless and I'm still learning to control it.

Here are some examples of things that I'm certainly proud of having done, but that being honest, they were not much necessary to me:

  • React: If you are a web developer, you might know that React is the thing on the web nowadays. Components everywhere! I saw Facebook heavily invested into pushing this framework to the community and many people talking about it, so why not learning it. Crazy, isn't it? I know the basics, enough to build a simple website but guess what, I'm not a web developer, and I'm not building websites daily. I liked the idea, and I think it's applicable to other areas. However, and being honest, I did not need it.
  • Go: Someone mentioned Go to me, I skimmed through its website and liked the idea of the language being easily cross-compilable. In a few hours I had read the whole official book and grasped most of the concepts of the language. A few days after I had forgotten everything. Since then, I haven't used Go neither at my job, nor in open source source software. Only very recently I built something using Go that required cross-platform support. I had to resort to the documentation and learn all the concepts that I had forgotten.
  • Blog posts: I read a handful of great blog posts, yet also a fair amount that were meaningless to me. They probably had value for the people involved in the topic they were touching, but not for me. I read them either because they were shared by a well-known person in the community, or because someone that I admired shared it.

If the people you admire writes or shares something, doesn't necessarily mean that is something you need to read or that is of high value to you. Don't put stress on you by forcing yourself to do things that you don't need.

What's the moral of this whole story? That one should learn and work of things if it's something that they need. Learn something because everyone is talking about it is a mistake and stress-prone in my humble opinion. The truth is that if you really need to learn something, you'd stumble on it and learn it the practical way.

Nowadays, every time that I feel that I want to learn something I ask myself what's the point on doing it? If I can't answer honestly to that question, without letting hypes or other factors influence de decision, I'd rather not learn it.