[thelist] OT - do programmers/designers know *everything*?

Dan Romanchik dan at danromanchik.com
Tue Jul 23 14:15:01 CDT 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Roger Harness" <magic32 at jps.net>
To: <thelist at lists.evolt.org>
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 1:41 PM
Subject: [thelist] OT - do programmers/designers know *everything*?

> 1. Are most of the folks on this list (for example) actually making a
> living programming, coding, design etc? Whether it be free-lance, or
> for other companies etc?

I do both freelance web development and freelance writing. It varies from
month to month, but right now, the income is about 50-50. I think that if I
devoted myself to it, I could be a full-time web developer, but it's more
fun to do a little of both.

> 2. For the folks that ARE doing well enough to not have to work a 'real'
> (you know...as in retail, services...etc etc,...anything NOT to do with
> their web passions)...do you folks actually know in your head most of the
> skills you need to perform? For example, PERL/CGI programmers...can you
> actually, basically write working code that without having to rely on your
> notes, code snippets, manuals, etc? Or is that just silly? Do almost ALL
> hardcore designers/programmers use some sort of 'help' when working on
> projects?

I certainly don't know everything. For example, I am definitely not a
graphics designer. If a website requires something even a touch beyond the
very basic in design, I hire a freelance graphics designer.

Nor am I an expert in Java/PHP/Perl/SQL/whatever. I do know enough, however,
to program most basic things in whatever language I need to. Sometimes, I'll
get off the phone and immediately run to the nearest Border's to pick up a
book on a particular language or technology, but I know where to look for
the information I need to get the job done.

I also know when I'm getting in over my head. At that point, I'll go out and
find an expert in Java/PHP/Perl/SQL/whatever.

> Does that question even make sense? Personally, I get a little nervous
> maybe I don't really have the "stuff" to make it in this business, as I
> really can't even do a basic JavaScript roll-over script without referring
> to either my books, or at least previous work. And while I DO seem to be
> getting a handle on mysql-PERL stuff, I couldn't put a working web-based
> database together from the top of my head, if my life depended on it. Ya
> know?

Aside from a basic understanding of computer programming, I think the best
skill a web developer can have is the ability to learn stuff quickly.
Fortunately, that's always been one of my strengths.

> Sorry for taking up so much space for a probable WAY off-topic question,
> this thing has been nagging at me for a while. Usually everytime I look at
> the job market and see all the skills required. If they pulled me in for
> interview, and told me to make a working CGI form, I'm pretty sure I'd
> totally embarass myself.

Hang in there, Roger. I'm a fair bit older than you are (just turned 47) and
I'm still hacking away at it. It's a challenge, but if you don't want to be
challenged, then you really are in the wrong business.

Dan Romanchik - Web Developer
dan at danromanchik.com, 734-930-6564

More information about the thelist mailing list