Jack of all languages, master of none

23 11 2009

I have had experience with several programming languages over the last few years, especially in the last two days. So far this weekend, I have used ActionScript, C, Objective-C, Assembly language, PHP, Ruby, and even TIBasic. However, I feel I am lacking in many of the languages. I feel confident in Ruby and somewhat so in PHP and Obj-C. For the most part, though I have lacked focus. For the moment, I am just trying everything out.

Something that I have learned over the past few months while searching for a job is to specialize. In the tech sector, especially, specialization will help you. The problem lies in making the right decision on what to specialize in.

Indianapolis may be trying to be the Midwestern Silicon Valley, but they are far from it at the moment. There are only so many entry-level programming jobs in the area to go around. Often, they are looking for skills like ASP.NET or C# because most of the development that is going on in central Indiana is Microsoft based.

This can leave you with a big problem on your hands if you are only interested in using easier-to-use open source programming frameworks, like CodeIgniter with PHP or Ruby on Rails. This can leave you in a difficult position if you are trying to make a living in an area where none of these technologies are being used by local development shops.

If you are interested in becoming a developer, talk to local developers in the area where you want to live after graduation. Find out what they are developing in, be it PHP, Rails, .NET, or something else. If no one is developing in what you want to develop in, you have two options. The first is you could go freelance, which would be very difficult, especially immediately after leaving college. The second option is to move to an area where there is a development shop developing in the language/framework that you want to use.




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