Here’s a very common misconception for beginners in the fields of technology: There is a single roadmap that you should follow in order to become successful or get a good job and not become the average Joe. This “single” roadmap differs so widely between people and subfields of the tech industry, that you can’t even find THE roadmap everyone is talking about.
If you ask why, that’s because there isn’t one! An early issue for a lot of beginners is that they look for the perfect roadmap instead of just starting with anything they find that is good enough for them to make progress. After they find that perfect roadmap, they sometimes find it overwhelming for their level of knowledge or full of recommendations that may be useful, but not necessary at an early stage. This leads to them getting more confused, and more often than not leads to an endless cycle of planning and not doing anything. Even worse, sometimes they end up feeling demotivated, and eventually give up. This is, ironically, the opposite of what a roadmap should do. Another common issue I’ve seen is that a person who is in a pretty good state in their career may start to feel that they’re ruining their currently well-going career because they didn’t follow THE roadmap recommended by some professional. Which usually isn’t true.
I am not saying that roadmaps are bad, not at all. All I’m saying is that there isn’t a single roadmap you should follow in order to become great at something. Stop trying to find the roadmap and just get working with anything you can get started with. Everything you learn will benefit you someday and will give you an edge over the competition in the market. There is no such thing as “useless” knowledge. Sure, some knowledge may be more useful for your specific career path, but doing something is always better than doing nothing while you’re waiting for that perfect all-in-one career path. I am also not saying that you should ignore the advice of professionals or people you idolise. Listen to what they have to say, but if it doesn’t match what you’re aiming for then you don’t have to stick to it 100%.
I found this to be especially true for students between their freshmen year and their junior year. They still haven’t figured out what they want to do and they just sit and wait. I recommend doing the complete opposite. Keep trying different things, keep learning new stuff, and keep experimenting until you find something you like and can see yourself doing every day!
If you found yourself asking: “What’s the point of learning something and then not finding it fun?”. Well, just remember that knowledge is never useless and that it may, and probably will, come in handy later on. Especially that the tech industry is all connected in one way or another. Some small hack you learned from stackoverflow or some obscure old forum will probably come in handy a couple of years later when you’re working late for a feature’s deadline.
There is no single roadmap that everyone should follow. Each person has their own path and their own experiences. All that matters is that you keep doing SOMETHING. Anything you learn moves you forward. Follow the advice of professionals and people you idolise, but don’t think that just because you didn’t follow their advice that your tech career is over! Doing something is always better than the endless cycle of planning and looking for the perfect learning path. Don’t follow endless roadmaps that aren’t really useful and waste a lot of time. Instead, look for what YOU want to learn and find interesting, and then let it lead you to your career path. If it doesn’t, then congratulations! You learned something new anyway.
I hope that this gave you an insight on what to try not to do as a beginner. A lot of us have made this mistake when starting out, and it’s very easily avoidable!
Thanks for reading.