Invest in yourself by learning with high ROI

If you know me well, you can tell that I am by nature a curious explorer. If I’m not hanging out with friends on the weekend, what I usually do is wander around the city I live in, San Francisco, and randomly hop on MUNI. Whether I am familiar with my destination or not, I get off the MUNI if I feel I want to explore the area; I start a spontaneous adventure for the day. I still revisit many previous places because there will always be something new or something I missed, like a new ice cream shop over that corner; a little alleyway leading to my favorite park faster; many other subtle changes in the area. As you can see, I am constantly forcing myself to create an opportunity for a new adventure to embark on in order to grow. If I like what I discovered from the unknown after my little journey, I feel rewarded as my intellect is fueled like a wild fire to burn the whole forest; my high-reaching motivation stings the high sky to keep feeding my brain.

In the software industry, one needs to be high achiever in order to move forward and be successful in this professional world. One of the obvious traits that the high achievers have in common is an endless stream of learning materials. The learning never ends as new technologies come and go; new paradigms are established to bring the next great idea as everyone rushes to implement them on user devices. Running a business in the past used to be filled with lots of paper trails: invoices, commercial logs, HR records, a general ledger, templates, and many others. Now, it is possible to run a business completely electronically. The word “paperless” became widely adopted about a decade ago. 

In the same manner, websites from early 2000s were made with many of the following technologies:

  • Cgi-bin
  • Dreamweaver
  • Adobe Flash
  • XML
  • JSP
  • RPC
  • PHP
  • ASP .NET
  • Traditional SQL Database
  • Skeuomorphism
  • Lots of GIF images and Cliparts
  • Heavy-server-thin-client
  • Early usage of AJAX
  • Proprietary hardware rack and machines
  • Company’s own data center

Let’s fast-forward the time back to present. In 2015, these are trending technologies that people prefer:

  • Single-Page Application with JavaScript magic
  • MVC-structured web app
  • Microservice architecture
  • Distributed server system
  • JSON formatted data
  • RESTful API
  • Key-value pair data store
  • Responsive page
  • Material Design
  • Minimalism
  • Hi-res photos and bold images
  • Heavy-client-thin-server
  • Deferred networking by JavaScript Promise via AJAX
  • Cloud services
  • Virtual machines
  • Everything-as-a-service

Over the one and half decades, lots of things changed: 

  • Software/Architecture patterns
  • Design principles
  • Engineering tools and methodologies they used
  • Utilized resources.

I want to learn this because ______________.

What many people say about this is, if you don’t want either to learn new materials or to adapt to changes, your professional value will hit the ground and will not be able to survive the job market. But this shouldn’t be the reason to keep the learning momentum going. You should learn how to love learning and be excited about the things you could do in new ways! You don’t invest money in your portfolios with the fear of how others perceive your market value and performance. You invest because you see the potential to get the maximum possible ROI.