[thelist] [OT] Is fixing on a certain platform/programming language good or bad?

Mike Roy michaelproy at gmail.com
Wed Apr 27 13:18:53 CDT 2005

Once a year or so, I have an existential crisis about being a
jack-of-all-trades and master of none. I'm kind of like an old-school
webmaster, riding the fence between developer and designer.

Every time, my friends tell me it's better and more employable to be
the way I am than to get to know every detail of a certain platform or
discipline. For the most part, I've been glad for the flexibility and
the joy of learning new stuff (XSLT this month) and this suits my
short attention span and need for new challenges ... but there are
times that I wish I could get REALLY good at one thing.

I think you could find happiness and success down either road, but the
important thing would be to decide and make yourself comfortable about
the decision. Be clear about the pros and cons of either choice. That
way you won't get *too* stressed when an opportunity comes up that
would've suited the choice you didn't make. ;-)

- Mike

On 4/27/05, VOLKAN ÖZÇELİK <volkan.ozcelik at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi an off-topic question that has been pondering in my mind from the
> time I began my professional life. I am sure you have had (and you may
> still have) similar thoughts before:
> I am more of a web application developer, and a bit of web designer.
> My question is,
> is focusing on a certain platform and programming language (say J2EE /
> Java ) and learning every bit and piece of it, mastering in it and
> eventually becoming a guru of that language/platform
> or
> swapping between several platforms (say Java / J2EE and C# / .Net) better?
> That is to say shall one be "the best" of a certain thing. Or shall he
> know bits and pieces of several things at the same time? Of course
> s/he should focus on a certain field (it is impossible master in Web
> Programming / Design and MFC Component Development  concurrently).
> What I ask is "is expanding the spectrum  (learn c#, learn php, learn
> jsp/j2ee, learn coldfusion) good or bad?"
> Here is my logic:
> Well for the time being, I code J2EE in proffessional life, and most
> of the challenges I face are in conceptual level. That is to say, they
> can be either implemented in framework X or in framework Y. So
> designing the pseudo-logic is the -let us say the "engineering" of it-
> is the hardest part. Implementation is not a big issue.
> But the facts of life are somewhat different:
> If I resign my job (or say my boss kicks my ass) and look for another job:
> Saying
> "Hey I've coded in J2EE environment for several years and it's true
> that I do not know any single bit of c#. But I've mastered a lot of
> things at conceptual level. I will learn faster than an average
> individual."
> will lose while
> "Hey, I know J2EE best, but I code C# at home as a hobby. I know most
> tips and tricks of .net platform at least as well as an average
> employee of yours know. It will take some time as per the transition
> period, but it's not a big issue for me. I'll be fully efficient
> within X weeks."
> is a winning one.
> Hope I'm clear on expressing my thoughts.
> Any opinions?
> cheers,
> Volkan.
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