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2 very important sets of career / certification questions!!!

By davioh2001 ·
Question set #1 certifications:
I'm wondering what would be THE BEST training resource for those that have very limited budgets(around $100+I am wanting electronic resources only like practice tests)...PLEASE CHIME IN & let me know if you've had experience with the following... how good are the training resources?
can anyone find the link to the $99 unlimited access promotion? how good are the training resources? how good are the training resources?

D. other???? are there other better resources out there?

Question set #2 entry level career strategy:

Ok this is the question: I have seen MANY ads that want a diverse set of skills (must know microsoft, novell, and linux. Must know java, c++, assembly, c#) etc.

My question is do you think its better to specialize in one product certifcation or many and why?

I ask because as I move forward with my training I need to make a decision become the jack of all trades/master of none or focus on just one or 2 things. As an example I have decided to focus on learning JUST JAVA for my programming language! Is this approach foolish due to being to narrow?

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Just Java...

by jgarcia102066 In reply to 2 very important sets of ...

I manage a staff of programmers and two of the most important things that I look for during the inverviewing process is:

1. Whether the candidate has a passion for programming.

2. Whether the candidate has the right set of analytical skills for programming.

One of the ways I check for the passion, is to ask a candidate about projects that they have worked on that they are most proud of. The passionate candidate's will typically get excited as they speak about their pet project and all of the challenges they have had to overcome. This leads to other questions based on the answer that I receive but it starts the process. Although passion is difficult to gauge, I have been successful so far in picking the right people.

I assess the analytical skills by giving the candidate a test in a programming environment which they are not familiar with. For example, in your case (just java), I would provide you with a project to modify using VB.NET. If you had listed VB as your primary language, I would test you on a java or javascript based application. Since you never know when you might need to fix someone else's programming in whatever programming environment they used, having the ability to work successfully in an unfamiliar environment is a very important skillset.

In short, let me say that if you want to be a well-rounded programmer:

- Learn as many programming languages as you can.
- Practice those languages as much as possible.
- If the above two items seem unreasonable, you may not have the necessary passion to be a well-rounded programmer.

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I'd say . . .

by apotheon In reply to Just Java...

Learn one language to competency, at least. Then learn another. Don't try to learn eight languages at once.

If you've really got any talent for programming, you'll find learning new languages extremely easy after the first two or three, probably. After three or four languages, if you're really cut out to be a programmer, you'll be able to learn a new language well enough to be competent in a few days, and will be able to do (some) simple debugging with other peoples' code in languages you've never seen before.

If you don't really have that kind of talent for programming and interest in it, you should probably focus on one or two languages. Specialize if you really, really want to be a programmer for some reason, but aren't actually a natural.

By the way, Java is an excellent choice for getting hired. It's an acceptable choice for learning a "good language" (some people love it, others loathe it: you'll have to figure out which you are on your own). It's a language that gets used for everything, but as far as I've been able to determine isn't really the best at anything (even at being a Swiss Army knife language to be used for everything) other than getting good press.

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Well rounded programmer

by paul_e_ray In reply to Just Java...

As one of the extreme old timers, (going back to ASM-80 on Z-80's), I do not think knowing a range of languages proves the programmers passion. In fact, I would wonder how efficient they would when they are required to stretch the language to meet those instances of complication. I think a programmer involved in dabling in developing solutions on their own time, who are interested in building their own computers, who show excitement when asked about previous positions or projects, show passion. Knowing many languages means you are a good book learner or code producer, but not a passionate developer.

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new languages

by apotheon In reply to Well rounded programmer

A good programmer with some decent experience can pick up the syntax of a new language in a couple of days. The core concepts and skills of programming are transferrable across many languages.

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In the real world

by david@anagram In reply to Just Java...

It is fine to learn as much you can, that is what I am doing every day as a programmer. But in the real world there is only so many hours in a day, and there is only so much infomation that one can retain. Within 6 months you forget.

Experience is the greatest aid to my life.

To test someone on another language is unfair. Test them on the skills they have not on the ones they do not have.

If are a VB programmer test them on VB, then if you want the candidate to know another language then train them.

If I have done projects then I would take them along to an interview on a laptop.

"If the above two items seem unreasonable, you may not have the necessary passion to be a well-rounded programmer." - this is rubbish, I love programming but I only have so many hours in my day. I also have a family, social life and other hobbies.

I think people skills is as important as the other skills listed. As normal people have to use your programs and you need to communicate well as a team.

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In the REAL real world...

by careed In reply to In the real world

I must disagree with two of your points:

1) To test someone with Java when they have using VB for a while is not only fair but very, very reasonable. If you are a programmer, then you should be able to read any language and get at least the gist of what's happening in the code. Now, I would give a VB programmer a test where they had to write Java code, but I believe that it is reasonable to give them something like a control structure code snippet and ask them what it's doing.

2) As far as bringing projects along on a interview, I believe that that is a big mistake. Sure, maybe I have been doing some freelance programming and I can bring some of my code to the interview; however, what if I have been working for a defense contractor for the next five years and everything I have written is classified. While the latter is an extreme example, my point is that only some people can bring this type of information to an interview, so you should be penalize someone for not having the "passion" to bring examples of their work.

I agree that there is only so much one can do within a day. If you really love programming, then learning a language when needed should not be a problem.

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Encyclopedic knowledge may be barbaric, but it?s fun

by Ed Woychowsky In reply to Just Java...

I once had a boss who turned to me and said, ?It must really **** you off, the idea that you can?t know everything.? He was right, unfortunately, as humans our time is limited. If you need proof of this just look at my ?to be read? stack of books. It currently covers subjects as far ranging as Java, C#, Oracle XML, ADO .Net and XForms and it keeps growing monthly. Perhaps a better definition of ?well round? is that instead of intimately knowing a wide range of languages and technologies one should be aware of them and their capabilities and limitations.

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Get a Specialist ? not the Passionate ?

by hvanvuuren In reply to Just Java...

Normally the good programmers are the ones passionate about a language or a technology (like .NET), not the ones who programs in 10 languages.

I would rather hire someone who knows VB or C# in and out, and who will have little or no problem learning new technical skills. My experience with many (not all) multi language programmers is this; some are jack of all trade and master of none programmers, while others (normally the better but dangerous ones) tend to practice as many languages and technologies by using those technologies in enterprise solutions.

They mix and match technologies not considering the consequences of their actions.

They are passionate yes, and they tend to challenge themselves with how complex the solution is. They forget the Keep It Straight and Simple approach. They include the flavor of the week technology in every new solution. They mix languages. They will argue that this language is better for Front end applications and this technology/language is better for integration while that language will give better performance in the data layer or in the Business Tier.

Somewhere they forgot that these systems need to be maintained. They need to be scalable/maintainable/secure and well documented. It should be easy to hand the solution over to clients and/or junior staff members. Over the life of such a solution this so called ?Passionate? programmer, has created a nightmare legacy, and they are the HERO programmer who every body needs to run to when things go wrong.

I think your reasoning might be slightly flowed.

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by apotheon In reply to Get a Specialist ? not th ...

My experience is that those who learn one language, one technology, one methodology, and stick with that, are very limited in outlook, understanding, and value. They're like Microsofties that can't conceive of any OS other than Windows having value in their lives, ever. They're like Coke drinkers who look for excuses to denigrate Pepsi drinkers, or McDonald's fans who think anyone that likes In-N-Out must be un-American. They may know a lot about their chosen technologies, but they only have very myopic ranges of knowledge. Tunnelvision doesn't help anyone.

The programmers I know who are competent with several languages tend to settle on a couple of languages as favorites, and will usually do work using those languages. The knowledge of other languages allows them to see the strengths and weaknesses of their chosen favorites, though, and to put those languages to best use. It also allows them (often grudgingly) to release the deathgrip on their chosen languages long enough to actually do something with another language when it's necessary or desirable to do so.

Anyone that is locked into Visual Basic, and thinks it's a great language and that no other languages are needed, is seeing things through tunnel vision. If someone comes to me as a VB "expert" with no other programming skills and no interest in gaining skill with other languages, that'll be the first person booted out the door. C# has its place, but it's also a very limited language. It just happens to be the best language for some uses (unlike VB, which is barely even useful in situations where it's the only possible choice) because of its inherent characteristics.

I'd rather have a programmer around that knows that C# was good for the last project, but is absolutely the wrong language to use for the current one, than someone who blindly chases the .NET specter, spouting Microsoft marketing slogans as he goes.

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I have to agree

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to ridiculous

After all I've made a career out it.

As for VB, I was chained to my desk and threatened with cheap coffee until I agreed to use it. Terrible language, still make's me spit after 18 months.

Not surprising though, after all the environment it came out of they think strongly typed means you code in a bold font.

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