I want everything!

The past two weeks I've been totally separated from all of my learning and reading processes I've established to myself, and I felt terrible for doing that. It's not like I've been totally disconnected from everything. I've still read all my favorite programming-related blogs, as usual. Still, I haven't just sat down to absorb everything or practice.

These past two days I decided to get back on track. However, I found myself with the same problem I've had for a while now. Whenever I sit down to learn something, I want to learn everything. I don't mean "learn everything of something". It's more like "learn something from everything".

For the past months, I've had a hundred different interests. I'm interested in learning Adobe AIR. Microsoft Silverlight sounds like something I could use in the future. I was sold on Test-Driven Development and ever started to adopt its practices to my daily usage, yet recently I'm liking the sound of Behavior-Driven Development more and more and would like to test that road. I want to learn other web frameworks in different programming languages, like Django and CakePHP. And of course, I'm still totally into Ruby and Rails.

I know a lot of people who don't mind knowing about everything. But the deal is that by learning (or having the desire to learn) about so many things, you don't fully learn it all. You only learn a bit about each thing, but never a whole lot. There simply isn't enough time in the world to do so, especially with a full-time schedule. So to say it's frustrating is an understatement to me.

One technique I'm finding useful to juggle these interests is to create a necessary project in your mind to learn along the way. This should keep your interests level high during the learning process, while making you stay focused with one or two things at a time. For example, my next project is a web application, where I'll strictly try to use the practices of Behavior-Driven Development while learning to use RSpec. This way, I'll be learning a lot of different, yet related, subjects at the same time. After this project is done, I'll see where Adobe AIR has headed, since it's still in Beta. If it still piques my interest, I'll create a new project for one of my current needs, and learn from there.

Being in this world of programming and technology, where it seems like time is always on fast-forward, it can be tough to keep up with what you like. But at the same time, it's just fun. Even though I get frustrated at times, I'm having a ball learning these things. I guess it all boils down to that for now.

Written by

Dennis Martinez

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