I was reading this article today, and was a little bit peeved at myself for not writing about this sooner. The weight of the article is questioning whether a web developer should try to learn other languages? or if they should become really proficient at one in particular.

My stance on the subject is that I learn things that help me with my work. As I am in a .NET environment, I try to learn about the new .NET technologies and particularly C# applicable advances.  My basis for this strategy is that I will never become proficient at a language unless I am using it. Constantly. And then in regards to something like C# it will become very hard for me to become proficient at that, unless I dedicate a substantial amount of energy to research, prototyping, and debugging.

Now besides that, I also of course have to focus on bettering myself with HTML, XML, SQL, Javascript and CSS. So I don’t get to focus on just one language, but I certainly don’t have time to be playing with Ruby while I’m not tip top shape in all of the former technologies.

This doesn’t necessary solve the problem of the linked blog article being that if you only know one language and aren’t keeping up with the times, your becoming legacy. That is solved in putting yourself in a position where a language is just a language. There’s some Dynamic ones, and Static ones, and ones that are more abstract then others, but how long will it take you to learn how to concatenate a string in the new language?  There are no languages like C++ to learn anymore, C#, Java, PHP, Javascript, Ruby, its all syntax now.

Once you have that base language to be able to call yourself a coder, you need to develop the skills to graduate you to developer. (Ahh see what I did there Mike? Didja?) Methodologies, such as Scrum and especially Agile will do more for you then adding another language to your toolbox ever would. (Except to recruiters of course, yet SCRUM, AJAX whats the difference to them?) Once you know how to do Test Driven Development, Refactoring, and utilizing Code Smells to the fullest, you will be a true master of your art, and while there may be different forms to learn, you will have the foundation where learning another language is as far away as a trip to the book store.

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