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

Sean Lawrence slawrence at lucidvagary.com
Tue Jul 23 17:01:01 CDT 2002


I'm personally a sys admin (NT, 2000, Linux), currently out of work in
Chi-town, with a degree in psychology and am currently working on learning
CF, PHP, and Actionscript.  I know HTML and CSS pretty well, a bit of
JavaScript, some XML, getting better at SQL, and already have loads of
experience setting up environments.  I've been finding that even with CSS
which I've concentrated on for a long time requires reference.  In my
experience, you learn best by reading example snippets and tear it apart.

I was able to simply look at a set of PHP scripts after learning HTML, CSS
and JavaScript and figured out how to switch variables around to get the app
they formed running on my machine and was able to customize the code a bit
to make changes to the web interface without picking up a book on PHP (which
I do strongly recommend if you want to do more than mess about, book or
online reference, whatever works best for you).  So, I would say once you
have a few things under your belt, new things are easier to pick up but
references are indispensable.  I can't imagine a linguist would know every
facet of their trade and I know from experience as a psych student that the
DSM IV is invaluable as a reference for mental health pros.

BTW, I am 29 and enjoying unemployment thanks to our current economy.



-----Original Message-----
From: thelist-admin at lists.evolt.org
[mailto:thelist-admin at lists.evolt.org]On Behalf Of Luther, Ron
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 4:38 PM
To: thelist at lists.evolt.org
Subject: RE: [thelist] OT - do programmers/designers know *everything*?

Hi Gang,

I guess I count myself in with those currently making a pretty decent
living ... playing around in a job that involves doing 'web stuff' on an

Do we know everything?  Of COURSE we do!  {Just ask us - we'll tell
you!} (What did Larry say about hubris?)  It's really very easy once you
realize that absolutely everything -- is intuitively obvious.  Granted
... It may take some of us years of study and experience to realize
*just* how intuitively obvious a particular thing might be ... but there
you have it.

Do we have to look stuff up?  You bet!  We even <gasp> ask each other
stuff from time to time!  That's all part of the package ... Knowing
where to look and who to ask.  You don't have to memorize everything,
you just have to know how to find what you need.

Personally I think the 'age thing' that's come up later in this thread
is a sword that cuts both ways.  I think the younger folks may have the
edge in 'newer' technologies and perhaps the intellectual curiosity to
try out the latest demos and software versions and be up on the latest
technical issues.  I think the older folks have the benefits of
experience; (a) they may have a larger reservoir of prior mistakes to
have learned from, and (b) they may have a longer history of working
with a particular client or client organization ... so they are more
likely to "know" to add field "x" to the report even if it wasn't in the
spec because the client *has* to have it to do what they want to do.

I have mixed feelings about Peter's point on specialization.  I'll agree
that to get that '1st job' it's probably an excellent tactic.  I think
having a more generic understanding of capabilities is a better long
range strategy.  I also worry a bit about 'overspecialization' - it
doesn't help you much to be the very best there is ... in a discipline
where there is no work!

Thinking back to when I just started with this web bologna ... It WAS
more than a little frustrating.  I wanted to pull database information
into my web pages, but I couldn't do that with the little bit of HTML I
learned.  So I started learning JavaScript.  (Boy was I ticked after 300
pages of reading and $$ out of my pocket for the dang JS book to find
that JS wouldn't let me hit databases either!)  So then it was on to
server-side languages.

Eventually it all starts to 'click'.  One might even say it becomes ...
intuitively obvious.

Good Luck in Learning!

(I'm one of the 'old' guys.)

For unsubscribe and other options, including
the Tip Harvester and archive of thelist go to:
http://lists.evolt.org Workers of the Web, evolt !

[ winmail.dat was deleted, please don't send attachments with your message. ]

More information about the thelist mailing list