It’s been 1 week since the startup I was working at unexpectedly announced they’re shutting down. It’s San Francisco, we’ve all been there. Now that I’m unemployed and living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, wallowing is a luxury I can’t afford.
It’s time to get a job.
As a newish programmer, I’ve been consistent about tinkering on the side to accelerate my learning. But especially now, if I’m not having coffee with recruiters, or taking spontaneous midday naps with no pants, then I should absolutely without a doubt be coding.
I had been picking up React, which is the latest hotness for web developers in San Francisco. You can’t throw a rock without hitting an agency recruiter who asks desperately if you know React. There’s free and paid workshops to learn it almost every day of the week. If you ask a handful of developers in San Francisco, it’s likely they will urge programmers who are exploring new web frameworks to learn React and forget about Angular. React is easier to learn and has more community support, they say.
But recently, I attended a conference in Toronto, a big web development town, and everyone was talking about Angular. In reality, Angular has significantly more market share than React, and Angular 2 is supposed to close the gap in terms of performance. At this particular conference, React was a mere after-thought.
If San Francisco and Toronto had such drastically different views on web frameworks, Silicon Valley’s insularity might be skewing my perception of other technology compared the rest of the country too.
As with many things in life, if you choose to surround yourself with people who are so much like you, reinforcing the same views time and time again, you may be not-so-pleasantly surprised when you realize the rest of the world doesn’t think like you. Huh . . . so hoverboards and self-driving cars really aren’t ubiquitous.
What language should I invest in if I want to pants up and get a job?
According to job search results from the previous 15 days on Indeed.com, Java programmers are the most sought after in almost every major tech market. Uf. What else is there?
There is some variation across cities, but not as much as I would’ve predicted. It makes sense that locations where data science is big look for developers with skills in SQL or R. Firms where financial technology prevails value lower level languages like Java and C. Cities with strong mobile and web development value those respective languages. And in cities like Seattle and San Francisco that are rife with startups creating a new code base, hipster languages like Rust and Elm can have their moment in the sun too.
While it’s true that many programmers are language agnostic, there’s an opportunity cost to spending your time learning a new language. It’s easier to pick up languages within the same vein as what you already know, and why learn a language for which no one will want to hire you.
In addition to job opportunities, there are comprehensive indices created that consider other factors, and you may have other reasons that come into play when deciding what to invest in.
Check it out for yourself and see what’s in demand in your hometown — pants optional.
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