Apps

Poll: What's the best way to thrive in development?

When talking to prospective developers, how do you suggest they guide their career for long-term employment? Take the poll to let us know.

Looking around the world of software development, there are all sorts of specialty areas. Some developers work in typical business applications, where there is a lot of demand but a lot of talent too. Others work in specialized fields, including video games, scientific computing, embedded devices, and so on. While some developers work in legacy systems that are not likely to be replaced anytime soon, but lack the glamour of other areas. And then there are a number of generalists out there who do more than just program, or for whom programming is how they accomplish their job, not the focus of their job.

If you were talking to a prospective developer, how would you suggest that they guide their career for long-term employment? Take the following about this question.

J.Ja

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

11 comments
Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

... but only if it's something you can be passionate about for years.

jck
jck

Anymore even if you are a niche guy, you still have to be multi-faceted whether you're employed by someone else or yourself (especially yourself). I mean, I know on a daily basis I deal with: -Programming in 3 different syntaxes -Scripting in 2 different DBMSes -Working with the command sets of 2 different OSes -Working to interface several different applications on various platforms, OSes, hardware and protocols. If I could just be a VB6/VB.NET programmer and flourish where I live, I'd already be on my own and making a mint. But, you gotta offer the "whole nine yards". I don't have time for that...yet. I'm working on it tho. :)

Justin James
Justin James

"Specialization" does not always mean "single language" or even "single ecosystem". Someone could be specialized in writing device drivers, or perhaps high performance computing, for example, where the understanding of the fundamentals takes years to perfect while the languages and libraries do not. J.Ja

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Career longevity isn't about knowing more than someone else about anything. It's about knowing enough, mainly the boundaries of our ignorance so we can be effective. I think we've both said it before, but you'd need three or four specialists to accomplish what we do, and you'd still some one to coordinate those efforts effectively. I consider specialist to be a label that underestimates our talent despite how comforting it might be to the ignorant to claim that they've employed an 'expert'.

jck
jck

He called me: "Jack of all trades, master of none" He said if I ever applied myself to anything, I would be one of the best at it. I don't think I ever applied myself really. Well, there was this one time...at band camp... :^0

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

... is someone who knows more about one specific area than just about anybody else does. I qualify for that definition, but as Justin says, that doesn't necessarily make you a one trick pony. I work to expand my knowledge into many different areas, because it informs what I do in my area of expertise. I think the balance for success is to have a depth of knowledge in a few areas, combined with a breadth of knowledge across the industry.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

by the people Jck and I refer to. He's no more of a one trick pony than we are. I'm far from sure anyone can claim to be a specialist in any one part of IT now, not and be useful commercially. My career longevity is definitely down to deliberately not specialising. If, sorry, when your niche goes, so do you....

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Specialists are people who don't know anything else.... Not a good move career wise.

jck
jck

I have an engineering slide, and can use it. Find someone my age or younger who can do that, rather than use a hand calculator to determine a log. Woe is the day there's a big enough EMP to knock out all power and batteries. Most cashiers won't know how to add longform. We're doomed! :^0

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I've had people ask me about UCSD pascal, even paradox ffs. Some people still use an abacus. I remember them as well...

jck
jck

people who tend to have to do more continuous, rapid learning to maintain a specialty. I can still get VB6 work, and it's been out what...12-13 years? I'd rather spend my time focused on earning money rather than burning through money.

Editor's Picks