Are you a polyglot?

I always said I wouldn’t be (worried about being a jack of all trades master of none) but lately, and I don’t really know why, other languages have been catching my attention and getting me really excited!

Namely, Elixir and Elm. (And Crystal.)

I don’t know what’s happening to me - is this the programming world’s equivalent of a mid-life crisis?

1 Like

I wouldn’t say it’s a mid-life crisis. It’s a REALLY good thing.

If you actually follow through with your interests and learn to do basic programming tasks in several programming languages, you move up the value chain.

It’s like knowing how to speak English, French, and Mandarin. You’ll never be out of a job, in the cooperate/international business sense.

In Chad Fowler’s book, Passionate Programmer, he has an anecdote about a hiring situation.

They couldn’t different between candidates when they were hiring programmers for a particular programming language, say, Java. And they weren’t getting high quality applications.

So what they did to filter candidates and attract better ones was add an obscure language to the list of the requirements, say, Ruby back then. Just like that they solved all their problems.

There’s a saying “Curiosity might kill the cat, but…” for human, and especially creative workers, it gives us the ability to cross pollinate ideas and find better ways of doing things.

1 Like

Apparently the full saying is: “Jack of all trades, master of none, often times better than a master of one.”


Nice post, thanks @rkcudjoe :+1:

That’s interesting @Ohm I hadn’t actually heard that one. So basically there’s three variations of that saying:

  • Jack of all trades (positive)
  • Jack of all trades, master of none (negative)
  • Jack of all trades, master of none, often times better than a master of one (positive)

We’ve discussed this at work several times. A jack of all trades is definitely a good person. “Jack of all trades, master of none” we ended up having as a good thing as well, because if you’re not a master, that means you’re trying to get better, learning new stuff.

It comes down to what Jacob Kaplan-Moss is talking about in his PyCon 2015 keynote:

1 Like

it’s the seven year itch! you start looking at younger, better-looking models :laughing:

Seriously, though it’s perfectly normal, we’re inquisitive by nature - always looking for a new challenge. I like to think of myself as ‘jack of all trades - master of none’ and I think it’s a good thing. Specialisation leads to extinction, generalists fare much better IMHO, :thumbsup:

1 Like