I often fall into a pattern when I’m learning new things. I get really excited and want to learn everything. Then I learn about a related topic, and shift all focus to the new thing. This makes me somewhat knowledgeable in a lot of things, but never really great at one thing. I’ve always heard the term “A jack of all trades is a master in none” and I always thought that I could overcome that stigma.
It’s not that easy.
Just telling myself that I can still be very proficient in lots of things and still be very successful only gets you so far. I’m not complaining about the life I’ve lived, because I’ve had a lot of good times. I think I’m looked at as someone who knows what they’re doing. And most of the time I do. But I have bigger goals and accomplishments I want to make for myself and this cyclical status quo wont get me there.
The past month I began to learn Ruby. I’ve been working with WordPress sites for a while and getting pretty good with my PHP but I had a crazy idea for an app that I wanted to develop and thought that Ruby on Rails would be the best platform for that. I did some research and didn’t see anyone who had done my idea yet so I thought I was in a good place. I found a couple Ruby books and began the Ruby on Rails track on Treehouse.
Probably a big factor in my wanting to learn everything comes from my sources of education. I’ve jumped around a lot of the big learning sites like Tuts+, Code School, and most recently Treehouse. I think you can get a lot of basic knowledge from these sites and they push you in the right direction, but you need to step back after you learned new skills and practice them. Since I was paying a monthly subscription I always wanted to make the best use of my money and keep learning more and more skills. I would jump from one course to the next. This made my quick jump into Ruby land possible. But instead I should have taken a step back and continued to develop and practice WordPress skills that I had just learned.
I had just finished the WordPress plugin Treehouse course before jumping ship so I had ideas for a few different plugins that I just abandoned. This morning when I went to look at them I recognized some things but I had forgotten a lot since I never made time to practice. This time I want to break my cycle.
I have a couple ideas for WordPress Plugins that I’m going to work on. I’m also going to work on developing themes from PSD files. I’ve found a few free PSD site layouts that I’m going to use to design themes. They may not be the best sites, but they’ll give me good practice in building a quality theme from the ground up. After I’ve done several that I feel confidant about I want to develop a solid theme that I can release to the free theme repository and begin to give back to the community.