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    A Difficult Question


    I was asked a difficult question last night by a person who wants to specialize in an area of the internet, instead of been a 'jack of all trades and master of none' in terms of internet capability and skills.

    The questions was - "what area of the whole web design / development do you think it would be best to specialize in... what skill is sought after and what skill would is most valuable from a financial point of view"

    I thought for a few minutes on it and my top 3 responses were:
    - iOS Development
    - Java Development
    - PHP Development

    What would be your top 3 (in order of priority)

    Looking forward to seeing people's opinions on this...
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    From the answers that you've given here, it's actually a quite simple answer.

    When you are talking about pure web development, IOS won't count because that's an application language, you can't make a website out of it. Java can count, but there's not a lot of places out there using Java for web development. A few are using JSP and JavaBeans so there is a bit of that around, but in the web world it's still used mostly as a back-end server interface more then anything else. That leaves you with PHP.

    This doesn't mean that PHP is the best though. I use it myself, but I'm painfully aware of it's shortcomings even though it is very popular these days.

    The simple answer to the question is that there's no point limiting yourself to one language. If you are a semi-decent programmer you can swap between languages, and learn new ones when you need to, because it's not so much about typing in the code, it's about knowing how to organise the code and control the flow of data around your application, whatever it is written in.

    If you are looking for suggestions for purely web-based technologies, my "top 3" would be:
    1. HTML (including HTML4, XHTML and HTML5)
    2. JavaScript and AJAX
    3. Which ever server-side language that you will be working with

    But, limiting it to three also leaves out a lot of other requirements, such as knowing how to use SQL effectively and how to design databases correctly, which a lot of web-based programmers just can't do. (a lot also can, it depends purely on the individuals level in that context)

    There's also the fact that languages come and go, so something like Ruby is getting to be very popular these days, and there's always people looking for Python and Perl developers.

    What it comes down to is they need to check what the current job market is looking for - and remember that in 6 months it will change completely anyway.
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    Cool, thanks for your reply... what do you think will replace php...

    I think iOS is still a good area to get into...
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    007ml - iOS is not a web development platform. If you want to design for web; this is a useless avenue to go down.

    You'll also find being a jack of all trades is more likely to actually get you employed. Unless you want to try and build a career out of travelling around a lecturing/speaking about one specific thing; I would suggest a broad knowledge base.

    For example; you will never see an ad like this:

    Company X is looking for a guru PHP programmer! You will only be developing PHP; no other knowledge required.

    You're more likely to see this:

    Company X is looking for a guru PHP programmer! In addition to PHP you should also be an expert in:

    Javascript/AJAX/HTML/CSS3.. and the list will go on.

    Sure, get a deep knowledge of one language - but you need to know and be able to prove you know other languages as well.

    Unlike application development (like iOS); web is a combination platform that requires more than just a single specialisation.
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    well said... thanks, forget the web development role... i actually mean programming and or / web
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    Don't forget 'design'. It may not help you build the site, but it will help make it user-friendly, attractive and more likely to be re-visited.
    The moon on the one hand, the dawn on the other:
    The moon is my sister, the dawn is my brother.
    The moon on my left and the dawn on my right.
    My brother, good morning: my sister, good night.
    -- Hilaire Belloc
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    Originally Posted by oo7ml
    well said... thanks, forget the web development role... i actually mean programming and or / web
    The other thing to do - and I do this frequently. Forget about programming - hire someone to build your ideas for you.

    I use oDesk to have people do all the hack work for iOS/web, then I touch them up.

    The future is about leveraging your time/money and skills to get the job done fast. There are Indians and Sri Lankans out there willing to build whole iOS apps for around $300 with a 2-3week turnaround. The code quality is ****house, but you can fix that (the priming stage).

    Everything is about dollars in vs dollars out. My time is worth in excess of $180/hr. Why would I spend 2 weeks developing apps that I can buy for $300? When in two hours I can pay for that, and keep earning $x/hr

    Although not many will be in this exact position - but even earning $20-30hr you can still justify outsourcing.

    I would suggest becoming a master of cost/benefit analysis; programming is a mugs game - one which I play regularly, but smartly.
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    Originally Posted by FlyingBeetroot
    The other thing to do - and I do this frequently. Forget about programming - hire someone to build your ideas for you.

    I use oDesk to have people do all the hack work for iOS/web, then I touch them up.

    The future is about leveraging your time/money and skills to get the job done fast. There are Indians and Sri Lankans out there willing to build whole iOS apps for around $300 with a 2-3week turnaround. The code quality is ****house, but you can fix that (the priming stage).

    Everything is about dollars in vs dollars out. My time is worth in excess of $180/hr. Why would I spend 2 weeks developing apps that I can buy for $300? When in two hours I can pay for that, and keep earning $x/hr

    Although not many will be in this exact position - but even earning $20-30hr you can still justify outsourcing.

    I would suggest becoming a master of cost/benefit analysis; programming is a mugs game - one which I play regularly, but smartly.
    Excellent process

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