Sunday, 21 January, 2001

Jack of All Trades

Not so long ago, a programmer could get away with knowing one programming language and one system.  C on UNIX, COBOL on an IBM mainframe, or RPG on a System 38.  I guess there are still "C++ programming" jobs, where one spends the entire day writing C++ code for Windows or some other system.  But those jobs are becoming much less common.  Especially if you're writing web applications.  My current project at work, for example, has me writing code in five different languages:  a shell program in Delphi, server side ASP in VBScript, client side browser code in Java Script, a smattering of HTML here and there, and SQL in three different places to tie it all together.  I'm not alone:  many others at my company have similar tasks.  The amount of information you need in order to be competent in the computer industry these days is staggering.  The more I learn, the more I realize how much I simply don't know.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm in the wrong business.  Perhaps I should have been a plumber.  I think I need a vacation.