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What do you do to stay focused when learning a new language with so many other interesting languages out there?

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I seem to be more interested in the future than mastering any particular skill, and my idea of the future changes day to day which causes me to jump from language to language. –  Akromyk Jun 16 '11 at 19:25
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I generally try to only focus on two or three tasks in a week. That's how. –  jcolebrand Jun 16 '11 at 19:27
    
Sounds like projects are the way to go, but what if your entirely knew to something and reading a book to learn it? I feel like I'm at the mercy of what the author decides to teach me till I have the foundation down. –  Akromyk Jun 16 '11 at 19:37
    
I generally don't have that problem. I acquire several resources for learning a new language at once, and then consult them all in turns when I get stuck with one. I also don't focus too much on building it step by step at the beginning, I'll read a book most of the way through before I start to build something with a new language, to get a sense of where I'm headed. –  jcolebrand Jun 16 '11 at 19:40
    
I'm so bad at this too –  George Mauer Jun 16 '11 at 20:16

4 Answers 4

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Build something.

Decide what you want to build and what language you want to learn and do it. You'll learn more about the language by using it. And you get the joy of writing code, and seeing a finished product when you're done....which is what will keep you coming back for more.

For me, it's not what language I'm coding in, it's seeing my code working that is the main motivation to keep learning and doing more.

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+1. If you're learning languages for the sake of learning languages, I can imagine that focus might be elusive. Build something. –  Carson63000 Jun 17 '11 at 5:48

I generally focus on projects rather than languages. That is, when I'm learning a language I really focus on a concrete project I can implement in that language.

Of course it's pretty common for people to abandon projects without finishing, but still I think you will be more motivated by a project to focus on than the language itself.

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I pick a language I really like. If I start learning a language and get bored or frustrated, that's ok too. There are lots of them.

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I think answering the following questions may help you:

  1. Why do you need to learn this (and not that) language? Note that you can move to that language later on.

  2. What kind of things you will be able to do using this language?

  3. What new concepts will you learn? (Object-oriented programming, system programming, functional programming, etc.)

  4. What professional opportunities will this open for you?

  5. How may it help you to promote your career?

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