Think harder less

January 13th, 2020

When you’re first learning a language, you spend a lot of time trying to pick a “good one.” What I’ve learned now is that you should almost never pick a language. Instead, pick a project or a goal or a community that you’re excited about. The language choice will naturally arise from there. When I first learned to program in 2011, Python was the perfect langauge for me. I wanted to build web pages and Python had a great community centered on this. At the time, Google App Engine had just come out and its debut language was Python, allowing me to easily build deploy my first apps, well before I understood anything about servers and deployment. I’ve picked up other languages since, but I’ve never regretted learning Python first. Instead, I regret spending so much time surveying languages and fruitlessly comparing and constrasting.

The same can be said with most of life. Think hard about what you want. Think hard about how to get there. But time box each of these decisions and once made, commit to them. Don’t question them until you’ve gotten far enough to understand the consequences of that decision — that’s the only data that really matters.