Allan B.’s Answer
A great and very timely question!
The programming landscape can indeed at first seem a little intimidating, even overwhelming. The trick to navigating it is to think of it as a really large "climbing wall", the kind you might see at a carnival or in a high-end fitness center. Such structures are comprised of hand and footholds in various shapes/sizes; on a particularly large wall there would be dozens and dozens of these. The thing is, numerous (and, very often, colorful) though they might be, the only ones that should REALLY concern you as a climber are the ones that will ultimately get you to the goal: the top of the wall. You may not even know which ones those are until the very moment they present themselves as useful during the climb itself. From the top, looking down, you won't care about which ones you passed over, and they won't matter unless you decide to scale the wall again along a different path.
The landscape is large, but not nearly as large as your ability to conquer it. Go get 'em.
- Allan B. Ashenfelter