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Cross training – it works for Athletes why not for developers?

by on ‎04-22-2010 10:07 AM

Rarely as a software developer are you able to say “I am a %lt;Insert language here > developer.” Instead you are a “Desktop application developer” or “UI Specialist” or a “Web Developer.” These new roles mean you probably code in a variety of languages or technologies. Desktop Application Developers need to know at least SQL, a language and perhaps a framework such as MVC just to name a few items. In fact, the language could be Java, C# or VB.NET — again just to name a few.


Web Developers are in the same boat. Rarely can you say that you are a C# developer and that is the only code you will work with. Your company is sure to have some legacy or “classic” ASP applications that you may need to convert to ASP.NET or maybe some PHP applications. What about AJAX or any of the JavaScript libraries that are out there? Do you have experience with those? If you don’t you should.


Tennis player cross train in Soccer, Basketball or volleyball. This keeps them in shape and works some of the areas that they do not get experience using if they were just playing one sport. Do they become experts or compete professionally in another sport? Usually not, but there have been exceptions.


So as developers or admins or just about any profession we are in we need to dive into areas that are related to our field, but perhaps not directly related. A windows administrator could learn something from installing Linux. Are your users tired of being asked each time they want to install some piece of software? This has been a security feature of Linux for some time. Have you heard the term “I grep that?” yeah a linux term. What about developers? Perhaps you know ASP.NET like the back of your hand and you like C#. Why not try some VB.NET? You will probably learn to like C# more and also learn something along the way. What about client side coding? As a C# ASP.NET developer you certainly have experience with the Microsoft AJAX libraries, but what about jQuery or Dojo? They do similar things, but some are cleaner and some are lighter weight. This could mean that one is better for some jobs than others.


How about CSS? Have you designed a website from scratch lately? The experience may leave you with a different perspective on your current coding tasks. You might have some fun, you might learn something new, and hopefully you will broaden your view.


So what other languages do you program in? Let us know in the comments…

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