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    Programmer or Web Developer


    Hello all,

    I want to get into computer languages and one to choose one direction and become better in on path rather than average at both. So I have a few questions if any experienced people out there can answer:

    1. Which brings in cash flow faster? (this can include jobs, learning curve, etc) which is more profitable in the long term?

    2. I know the best way is hands on experience but is there any way to kinda "predict" which type I will probably favor more? I have done some tutorials on c++ and have a current job as a web dev (using drupal so not really) so I got the idea of both but not sure.

    I will be doing virtually EVERYTHING on my own and will not take any classes or anything of that sort (willing to buy books though)

    P.S I am doing most of this for freelance and maybe even part-time until I get my B.S in Computer Engineering

    If anyone can shine any light on this question would be greatly appreciated!


    Thanks!



    Note:

    If I go the web development route I will probably go HTML,CSS,PHP,AJAX,jQuery

    and if I go programming route then I will probably go
    C++,DirectX,Java and then probably unrealscript(unreal engine) and other engine scripts
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  3. Come play with me!
    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    Does your school offer anything related to programming that will help your degree?
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    I believe we take 2-3 classes on programming using mostly C/C++ and focusing on OOP and using algorithms to solve problems. Even though programming might be a better choice for me academic wise, I would like to make some cash aside and I won't be taking those classes for a couple of months from now and it's a pretty basic until I reach junior or senior status and get into more software engineering.
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    Game programming isn't the easiest market to get into. If you're planning to learn DirectX and Unrealscript it sounds like you're specifically targeting game programming. For regular application programming neither is needed.

    In fact, there isn't really much point in learning both Java and C++. They have essentially the same uses. If you want to get into game programming then go with C++. Otherwise, just pick one and specialize in that rather than trying to learn both right away.

    The basic concepts of programming languages are all the same. Once you learn them you can learn pretty much any language you want. A beginner class in C++ will help you no matter what language you ultimately end up using.
    PHP FAQ

    Originally Posted by Spad
    Ah USB, the only rectangular connector where you have to make 3 attempts before you get it the right way around
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    Originally Posted by E-Oreo
    The basic concepts of programming languages are all the same. Once you learn them you can learn pretty much any language you want. A beginner class in C++ will help you no matter what language you ultimately end up using.
    Ah, I see, for some reason I found C++ the most interesting and fun to get into but I just thought Web Developers might make more through freelancing, but if they make around the same for non-professional jobs then I would much prefer programming (gaming scripts was just one of the things I know in the industry)


    This was all due to the fact that since I was that "computer guy" in my area, people have been asking me to make sites for them for around $300 or so and I was thinking "maybe I should learn the tools of the trade well and start making money for myself" but then I wanted to ask professionals if maybe programming might bring in a little more profit. (because to be honest I can problem solve and write algorithms much easier that designing sites) but I will ultimately go with the one with a better profit because this is on the side of all my curriculum studies.


    Edit 1: Also I see alot more jobs for web developers than I do programmers (keep in mind freelancing) or maybe some people have good sites for programming jobs? (I know cpluplus.com, devshed.com) but then there is a heck of a lot more for web developers and was trying to get some insight on it.
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    The freelance web development market is a much bigger market than the freelance desktop application development market. Primarily because web development is super-fast compared to desktop application development. It'll probably be a lot easier to find work as a freelance web developer, because normal application development is something that is often done either in-house or contracted out to an actual company.

    Also, there is really no distinction between "programmers" and "web developers". The only difference is one programs applications that run on top of an OS and the other programs applications that runs on top of a browser. The basic skills required are identical, they just use those skills for different purposes. You can write web applications in C++ if you want, and you can write desktop applications in PHP.

    There is a difference between a web designer and a programmer. And in my experience, someone who is a good programmer is usually not a good web designer and vice versa. These jobs do require very different basic skills.

    If programming is your thing, then don't advertise yourself as a designer. Have the client get an independent designer to create mock up images for you. You can then take those mockup images and convert them into HTML and CSS (it is better to have the programmer do the conversion than the designer, even though some designers will try).

    Web development requires a pretty broad range of specialized skills. I'm sure desktop development does as well, but I'm a web developer so that's what I know. At a bare minimum you need a solid understanding of a server side programming language (like PHP), a database system (like MySQL), HTML, CSS and JavaScript (AJAX and jQuery are both JavaScript). It is also extremely helpful to understand how HTTP works (this is the biggest deficiency that I see in desktop programmers who move into web development). Basic Linux sysadmin skills are helpful too, but people who can afford it hire separate sysadmins do so, and it isn't really within the standard job description of a web developer to do sysadmin work.

    These are the basic tools needed by a web developer. Despite there being so many, there is relatively little overlap in functionality between them. Perhaps the most similar are PHP and JavaScript since both are programming languages and use a C-style syntax. Syntax and logic-wise SQL probably shares the least in common with desktop development (although many desktop applications actually do use SQL databases) because SQL is a declarative language rather than an imperative language like C.

    Also, just to be clear, transitioning from web development to desktop development or desktop development to web development is certainly not a walk in the park. Learning your second programming language is at least an order of magnitude easier than learning your first though.

    Comments on this post

    • Crunx agrees : Incredible answer
    Last edited by E-Oreo; April 2nd, 2011 at 03:07 PM.
    PHP FAQ

    Originally Posted by Spad
    Ah USB, the only rectangular connector where you have to make 3 attempts before you get it the right way around
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    Incredible answer E-Oreo! exactly what I needed to help get direction for continuation in to web developing. I definitely think I will ask them to at least create a markup of some sort for me to follow because I am indeed not a designer (nor do I think I ever will be). Thanks for the tips on what specialized skills to take in I will take that advice to heart.

    I believe my order of learning will be HTML>CSS>PHP(mySQL with it)>Javascript>AJAX>jQuery and after I become familiar with all these I'll delve into HTTP, XHTML, HTML5, CSS3.

    and as you said it will be a easier stepping stone when I go into C++ programming and the like but I think I wanted to program because of the luring game industry, which I learned real fast that it's not so fun as it seems to be...

    Thank you Oreo!
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    I think that with time web programming will be more and more relevant than desktop applications development.

    Learn first xhtml, it's exactly the same as html but it's based on xml so it has a better structure and eliminates many bad practices.
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    I see, but is there tutorials that start on XHTML? most require that you have at least basic knowledge of HTML and how is HTML5 linked to these three? do you even need to know or will XHTML suffice above all?
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    I currently use these tutorials to get me through the processes:

    HTML (htmldog.com)
    CSS (htmldog.com) (people said htmldog is pretty good)
    PHP (php.net)
    mySQL (mySQL.com)
    PHP+mySQL (http://articles.sitepoint.com/category/php-tutorials)
    Javascript (tizag.com)
    AJAX (tizag.com)
    jQuery (jquery.com)

    and the one that looks like the promising (a Harvard video course): http://academicearth.org/courses/building-dynamic-websites - covers (HTTP, PHP, XML, SQL, Javascript, Ajax, security)


    I do not know where to get good CSS3, HTML5, XHTML tutorials as I am a little skeptical of w3schools.com due to the fact that there is mixed emotions on that site (and I rather not guess what I should know and should not)
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    Originally Posted by Crunx
    I see, but is there tutorials that start on XHTML? most require that you have at least basic knowledge of HTML and how is HTML5 linked to these three? do you even need to know or will XHTML suffice above all?
    XHTML is just a stricter version of HTML. All tags must be closed, use lowercase for tag names and attributes, etc.
    If you know HTML and understand XML then you automatically get XHTML.
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    You can learn how to make proper xhtml (and therefore proper html) at w3schools.com
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    did not want to make a whole new topic for this question but since I have made this post I have learned an incredible amount of (X)HTML and CSS and now I passed all three of those "quizzes" on w3schools.com (did not necessarily learn from them). But now the question arrives of how do I know that I am ready to move on to PHP then Javascript and so on and so fourth?

    What do most people do as for "milestones" in the web development world? I know making an example would probably be the best bet but I should make a website for each language I learn? or what's the best way to go about it?


    Thanks again!
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  27. JavaScript is not spelt java
    Devshed Novice (500 - 999 posts)

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    There is no substitute for constructing your own site. I would create a home page with a few other pages to link to. You could download a free editor such as Notepad++ or Komodo Edit to assist with the coding.

    Eventually you could try adding some JavaScript to your site, or copy the whole site and add the JS to the copy, if you want to keep them separate.
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    I'd start with PHP before JavaScript. It's a lot easier and less frustrating to build something cool with PHP than it is with JavaScript.

    Start with something dynamic and simple, like a guest book. This will give you a feel for two very core concepts: dynamically forming HTML and data storage. Once you finish, post your code in the PHP forum and ask for someone to review it and give you advice on best practices. There are a lot of ways to write bad PHP code that still works, but it's easier to critique code that has already been written rather than try to explain all of them in advance.

    Just make sure you use a readable and consistent format for your code, otherwise no one will bother to read it.
    PHP FAQ

    Originally Posted by Spad
    Ah USB, the only rectangular connector where you have to make 3 attempts before you get it the right way around

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