Torn between which language to use for back-end logic & stack

Hey guys,

I would like to start off by thanking you for reading this and for the positive input, advice, and information. I would also like to state that writing this is for my benefit of getting some of my thoughts (some personal) out in text. So if it seems i’m venting, sorry. Also, solutions such as going to college to get a degree is out of the question, just wanted to state that from the start. Basic languages such as HTML, CSS will not be part of this discussion, as I already know a good amount in that area.

I’m a junior developer (roughly 7 months) and my immediate priority is to land a a job (already have had 4 interviews). That being said, I’m at the point where I can pick up the basics of any language pretty easily, but I’m having a hard time in choose which back-end (logic) language to commit my 100% time in learning for developing algorithms (researching libraries, frameworks, design patterns). These past 7 months, i’ve been like a kid in a candy store, not knowing much about software, so I often would jump from language to language, stack to stack, experimenting and trying to find which one I would prefer. Now I want to buckle down and commit to 1 specific stack.

Applying for Junior Developer positions, i’ve noticed some problems:

  • The skills required in each position seem to differ pretty widely. For example, almost always a different combination of software (Drupal OR Wordpress, MySQL OR MSSQL OR PostGresSQL, SOAP OR RESTFUL, Ect) should be known. Do junior developers really know all these different types of technologies really well?
  • Having learned to develop applications initially (and to the fullest extent yet) using Ruby on Rails, it’s difficult to find jobs which include this stack (thinking I waste most of my time and energy into learning a non-popular stack).
  • Seeing a certain requirement that I don’t know (and takes A LOT of time to learn), which I don’t have another half a year to learn.

Keeping those in mind and moving forward to what I should commit my time on right now:

  • I LOVE using JavaScript frankly for doing algorithms, but obviously this language is just for the web browser and i’ve heard I shouldn’t use it for “back-end” development, unless using MEANjs with Node as the back-end. I LOVE MongoDB. I do find Nodejs difficult to learn. I’ve created a simple application using the MEANjs, but it seems a bit more confusing that using Rails. I also feel like the drawback to learning MEANjs decently well would be not having that solid “back-end” language for other types of applications (non-web dev)I want to build in the future.

  • I’m decent with Ruby, as i’ve built a couple applications (some using APIs and decent looking UI/front-end). So I suppose Ruby is the language i’ve done most with in actually creating web applications. I also love how it’s revolved around OOP more than most languages, and it’s easy to read/type (looks like english). Gems are great too!

  • I would enjoy using Python, but have never used Django or any other framework to create a web application. I feel like Python is used for mostly complex applications (not web), and it shines in this aspect.

  • I did some PHP basics, but I honestly have no idea how to use LAMP nor do I know if it’s really in demand.

Sorry to all the C#, C++, Java developers (yes I know these are very popular in hiring), but I will NOT be learning these. I absolutely don’t know anything about these languages and honestly don’t want to use them.

[Q] So I guess my question to you would be, which back-end language/stack should I commit to right now (Ruby/Rails, MEANjs, Python/Django)? A language that will benefit me in the future, I am saying back-end language because I want to progress with this language outside of just building web applications, using it for other types of software problems, and creating outstanding algorithms that will benefit me in the future.

[Q] What are some basic technologies I should know for ALL web developer jobs (Web Marketing? SEO? XML? XHTML? Unit Testing? Multi-Threading? MS Cloud / Amazon Cloud, Different types of Design Patterns, Ect). I know most these basic over-views, but how in-depth should I really be knowing concepts/tools like these? It’s almost as if I don’t even know where I stand if there was a percentile rating, and with every new job hiring I read there’s almost always a different one I have never seen before…

In conclusion, if I were to have read this as someone else and answer it I would say: Since you already are decent with Ruby on Rails and have accomplished the most with it, keep going with that. But I feel like I wasted my time learning a stack that isn’t needed/or wanted for hire (which makes me really sad and depressed). It’s hard not having a certain focus or someone more experienced (like a senior dev) to guide you in what I SHOULD be learning and in what order. My focus is scattered because i’m by myself trying to just learn things as they come to me. All in all, I need a job. I’m running out of time. I’m desperate. I want that first job for the experience, then i’ll be in a pretty good spot for the rest of my career path. Again, sorry if this was more of a vent, but I know this will be beneficial for me for the input of others, and my thoughts are now text, so I can re-read as needed.

Thank you if you read this,

I think you are mistaken about that.
With iOS/Swift in second place it appears Ruby-on-Rails is still growing*. {I am assaulted daily with “opportunities” as a Rails developer} Perhaps you are not looking in the right places.

Or his area of residence has a low adoption of Ruby/Rails.

Have you looked into what the companies in your area are using? Are they primarily .NET, PHP, Ruby, Python, etc.? I’d start with that. Get on a bunch of Job Search sites and see what companies are looking for and then make your determination on what to learn next on that information.


The thing is, i’m not looking for a specific area.
I’m using Job Search sites, but not specifically looking for a certain location.
I’m applying all over the country, partly for the interview experience. (I’ve had interviews for locations from California to New York).

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