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I'm looking at moving into a different technology set (Ruby on Rails) than I'm using in my current job while also using some of the technology set I am using my current job (AngularJS).

To do this, I have to work on my portfolio, which is a website, in the weekends.

Progress developing my skill set is going slower than I'd like. I don't always have time (or the priority, I also like exercising and spending time with friends on my weekends) to work on the weekend. For example currently I've got stuck at understanding the Rails asset pipeline, which means I can't showcase the Angular skills which I'm already familiar with.

The dilemma I'm facing is, if I see a job that I'm interested in (a Rails job), I can apply now and either omit my portfolio, or explain that I'm only learning. I'm concerned that this would reflect badly on myself.

On the other hand, I could defer applying until the portfolio looks good, and then apply then.

How is either option likely to be perceived by a potential employer?

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Companies generally are ok with taking people who are learning the requisite technologies and learning them fast, if they are passionate about that, and if they think the candidate would be a good fit for the role.

So, you can show them your learning process through projects. Show them the projects which you have done during your learning process, and be ready to explain clearly about them.

Projects are the only way of gauging your learning process when it comes to the software industry.

How is either option likely to be perceived by a potential employer?

A potential employer, if given a choice would definitely prefer the candidate who already knows the skill. But, if they are to choose between two candidates who are learning the skill currently, they would definitely consider the one who is actively applying and validated his learning by doing projects/building something.

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The dilemma I'm facing is, if I see a job that I'm interested in (a Rails job), I can apply now and either omit my portfolio, or explain that I'm only learning. I'm concerned that this would reflect badly on myself.

On the other hand, I could defer applying until the portfolio looks good, and then apply then.

Your best bet is to make your portfolio a priority, and get it into a viable state over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, apply for whatever jobs interest you, and for which you feel you are qualified.

By the time an interview rolls around, you'll be ready to talk about your expertise, and show off the results of your concentrated efforts.

Basically, you have to decide if you value the opportunity for a new job (and consequent preparation) more than exercising and spending time with friends on weekends for a few weeks, or not. You have the ability, you now need to decide if it's a priority.

How is either option likely to be perceived by a potential employer?

Some employers deem a portfolio as a critical attribute, others don't.

In my hiring, I seldom cared about a "portfolio". For the positions I was filling, the answers to my questions were far more important that projects the applicants chose to do in their spare time. I've always felt that work done at the behest of an employer, under time deadlines, was a far better predictor of future performance than a self-selected project done in the individual's spare time.

Your mileage may vary.

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