Survival of the Developer

September 23rd, 2014
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Allister Burns

Development is in essence a form of evolution. Developers as a collective group keep evolving. They have to in order to survive. There are always new technologies and developing trends coming onto the market. Sadly many developers stagnate and get comfortable with a set of skills/technologies, essentially making them less attractive to a new employer.

New technologies emerge all of the time so I have complied a list of the most sort-after technologies by my clients over the past 6 months:

1.    Know Javascript (well)

JavaScript is truly becoming universal. Currently JavaScript can be utilised to write mobile applications, server applications, program the data tier, create a blogging engine, develop and execute a custom workflow and pretty much anything else you can think of. One important point is I don’t mean “know jQuery”, I mean really know the language. Understand prototypal inheritance and learn how to think and program like a JavaScript developer. This will only benefit you!

2.    Know the basics – HTML5 and CSS3

Web technologies are king. Almost every platform has the ability to render web content and HTML has become a de facto way of abstracting layout concepts for many technologies. Even if you don’t do web development, having an understanding of HTML and CSS will only benefit you. Be up to date with the latest versions too!

3.    Know Git

Git is more prevalent in some development communities over others, but Git is more than just a VCS (version control system). Because of its efficiencies in branching, it enables a very effective new flow that can be leveraged by both individuals and teams. If you are new to Git, learn it. If you are a novice, grow your skill set. Knowing Git well will only help you as a developer.

4.    Know a native mobile platform

There are many ways to create mobile applications, from a HTML hybrid approach to an approach that renders native controls from another language. However, all of these have one thing in common: when running on the device, these applications are running on native code. If a company is going to create and deploy a mobile application, they will need to use someone who understands the native layer, even if the application is built using another technique. There are obviously a few good choices here. iOS, Android and Windows phone all provide rich platforms with vibrant development communities in which you can engage. Just this skill alone will greatly increase your value to your organization as well as your personal marketability as a developer.

5.    Know a server side language
If you are mainly a front-end developer, then you still need to have a cursory understanding of how things work on the back-end. Being able to create the entire chain from a front-end application through the API layer and to the database is an important skill set. Luckily in this case, there are a lot of choices. Java, .NET, Python, and PHP are all viable options. One advantage for developers is that if you already know JavaScript, NodeJS is a compelling option. It is amazingly easy to get up and running and do basic tasks such as setting up a basic web server, creating simple test services for a mobile application, and deploying applications to the cloud 

Don’t believe that 100% of your responsibility lies in code. To become a well-rounded developer requires a skill set that spans technology, process, and toolsets. With the shifting digital landscape, developers who have invested in these areas will certainly find themselves in demand.

 For any advice or to discuss opportunities that we currently have on then please drop me an email:  allister@zulubravomediacom

 

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