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picking a technology to learn

By Jaqui ·
Twice yesterday I saw discussions / questions here abould learning new technologies.

for one, the persons information given in the post suggested that the tech really would not benefit anyone, including the proposed business startup.
[ linux and virtual machines to develop windows apps ]

The other, from someone who is not a tech, to learn the lowest level programming language there is.


maybe people should have it blatantly pounded into their heads:

don't pick a technology just because it is the latest fad / you are told to, pick it because it is a huge benefit to your life / will be instremental in moving your career in the path you want it to take.


why learn linux development and work with virtual machines to develop windows apps when you already know how to develop windows apps?
cross platform development is harder than developing for the target platform on the target platform by orders of magnitude, even with widget sets that are available for the target platform and the host platform.
[ system calls / paths are set up differently, your code needs to take that into concideration. ]

why learn something like assembly programming because a friend says you should?
are you going to be writing device drivers or operating systems for a living afterwards?


look at what use and what problems there will be caused by the technology before going to the effort of studying it to use it.
don't do it just because it's the hot thing, or a friend tells you to.

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Well personally, I think

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to picking a technology to l ...

coders should be taught assembly.

Actually those two posts weren't that bad. The scary one was the guy who wanted to get a vb6 front end to talk to sql server under wine.

The assembly language guy, though I'd be interested in his mates justification for why he should learn assembler. I think I'm a better coder for knowing it, but opportunities for using it are very limited nowadays. Certainly I wouldn't recommend it as a first language.

Assembly language programming requires a keen interest in coding and a lot of dedication.
It's several orders of magnitude more complicated to do now than it used to be.
It would be like learning woodwork, starting with cellular biology.

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That was

by Jaqui In reply to Well personally, I think

why I mentioned the assembly language, it's not a very usefull language for most programming today.

the VB sql server question wasn't is this a good tech, it was how to implement, which there are three different options.

the two are more adding comlexity that isn't going to help them.
the vb on linux connecting to sql server is complex, but it's not a learn a technology that isn't going to be of use.

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True, but you have to find out enough

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to That was

to make good choices at inception.
We all know what happens if you make a poor choice at the start, after a certian point in the project, you get to live with it, no matter the consequences in terms of quality.

Course a lot of the time the initial technology choices are made for non technology reasons.

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yup

by Jaqui In reply to True, but you have to fin ...

I just figured making a public comment about picking technologies will help people pick which to not ask about better, so they are not asking about technology that isn't so obviously wrong for their needs, or completely overkill for their intentions.

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That would be nice. Lets start

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to yup

with management and marketing, they tend to pick most wrong most often

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I expect to get flamed for this...

by SlappyMcnasty In reply to picking a technology to l ...

Whats wrong with learning a vendor technology stack? I have yet to read any of these "what should I do next" posts that addresses the tremendous career opportunities out there based on a vendor offering.
I am talking about things like Tibco, IBM WebSphere (Message Broker and Process Server) or BEA AquaLogic. There is a market demand for these skills and they do pay well and they do build for the future.
Now, flame on!

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Nothing at all as such, but

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to I expect to get flamed fo ...

you should learn the underlying technology first. That way, you have something to fall back on should the vendor disappear on you.

The other problem with concentrating on vendor offerings is choices are based on the current market place. By the time you've learnt it, it could be dead, niched or worse still a common skill that you would be lucky to get a low pay job doing.

A lot of vendor techs are poor choices to learn the basics. Look at the poor buggers who learnt OO with VB6 for instance.

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What's wrong with it?

by Jaqui In reply to I expect to get flamed fo ...

nothing, if you can guarantee that the time spent will be usefull in every position everywhere.

learn the underlying technology for the listed products, and you have the knowledge to use the products, no matter what vendor solution it is. learn to use the products only, you are screwed if you are handed a different vendor's product to work with.

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Good idea to have knowledge of a few technologies and expert at least two.

by kfedee In reply to picking a technology to l ...

I agree. However most people do not know where they will end up in the next few years. I started out as a C++ programmer before I moved into databases, and now I am into networking. I think that people also need to take into account how the market is progressing.

I think knowing a little bit of everything is benificial because who will give yourself options for the long run. However, you also need to be very good at one thing to cover yourself for today. Microsoft and cisco technologies will definitely be around for a long time and I would recommend that everyone at least master them or take refresher courses. VMWare, Exchange, Active Directory, RIS, etc are not going anywhere. There are plenty of training facilities that will allow you to master these technologies without having to go back to school. I just completed a course with techprosgroup.com which taught me things about Microsoft that I never new existed. It was brief and very compact focusing more on the how to use the technology rather than the why.

So I do think that who need to think about a combination of both in order to be successful in the future. Places like attending Techprosgroup definitely helped me decide that.

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Choose the expertise wisely

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Good idea to have knowled ...

Administrator, DBA, web master, programmer, are good choices. Delphi, peoplesoft, VB6 , websphere are not, all vendor tech dies eventually and you have few options except staying on the version and certification merry go round while they expire.

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