a multiskilled or a specialized web programmer?

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a multiskilled or a specialized web programmer?

Postby joboy » Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:04 am

hi good day!

just would like to solicit ideas on which is more preferred, a web developer or programmer who knows various
web tools or software e.g. ASP, PHP, JavaScript, XHTML, Java, IIS, MySQL, etc.(client-side and server-side tools)
OR a specialized programmer let says he/she focus only on server-side using not more than three technology,
such as PHP, MySQL, and SQL?

Thanks.
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Postby Maugrim_The_Reaper » Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:16 am

Multiskilled programmers are very much preferred. Don't be afraid to specialise where you wish, but any programmer worth their salt won't invest their future in a handful of technologies and will usually try to learn a few languages to complement their industry. Personally I have learned PHP, Python and Ruby (all useful in web development!) - I'm out of practice in Java but I could brush that up very quickly if needed. You'll quickly find learning multiple languages is not that difficult - they all have various syntax differences but the overall theme and language structure are often quite common. Java and PHP5 even look similar...

Even in a specific segment like PHP, you'll also need familiarity with a few database types. MySQL is a given, but MSSQL is also popular.

Other skills worth having include Linux/Unix and BSD knowledge (all are similar, and Linux is a doddle to get started with), shell scripting for Linux, and really just the basics of compiling the interpreters/environments for your chosen languages, how to configure them, and very importantly - security practices for each.

As you can guess from that list, it's best to start with just one language/technology and specialise there. Over time work on the others - I try to learn the basics of at least one language every year or two (enough to create a simple application). Also keep an eye on the application frameworks (e.g. Ruby's Rails, PHP's Zend Framework/Symfony/phpCake) for each and specialise in at least one (assuming they offer more than one ;)).
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Postby jayshields » Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:37 am

I think it depends on alot of things. If it's for a hobby then personally I get bored of programming languages after a certain amount of time, so I tend to try new languages. If it's for a job, it's also tricky; it depends what your employer is looking for. For example, if they already have an awesome front-end (GUI) developer then there's no point in you going out of your way to learn about those technologies in tandom with your specific scripting knowledge.

This also sprouts another popular discussion, which programming language is best to learn if you want to make money/a career out of it? Another tricky question. New technologies are always good to learn so that you keep with the times, but because of all the new technologies some get left behind. You can find jobs in COBOL and Fortran now which pay massive amounts of money because it's so hard to find good developers in those areas. It's just unheard of for universities/colleges to teach these older languages and there aren't many people who wake up one day and think "Ah, I'm guna learn some COBOL today!". There are still quite a few huge companies out there who just can't afford to have their whole system reprogrammed, so they keep going to these ancient programmers for updates, and they can charge what they like.

Ps. 4-figure post count!
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Postby Kieran Huggins » Fri Apr 20, 2007 6:16 am

You'll probably find that you'll learn many technologies in the course of doing anything. Once you learn one language, the next one comes more naturally, then the next...etc...

@jay: welcome to the 1k club, fellow Resident!
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Postby Jenk » Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:13 am

Multiskilled all the way. A developer should be limited by his or her abilities as an application designer and architect, not by "x" languages restrictions.

Of course, everyone has their forte.
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Postby timvw » Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:38 pm

Imho it's important to have a broad skillset so that you can (relatively) quickly can become a specialist in a domain you would need at that given point in your career... (Since needs vary through a lifetime you'll become broadly skilled and specialist in multiple disciplines..)
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Postby joboy » Mon Apr 23, 2007 3:47 am

I can't help myself but to call you "Lords" of this forum - elite knights who were the ones only allowed to play with excalibur , based on the number of each of your post i guessed you are all superb PHP programmer. btw, thanks for the handful of opinions!
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