With the number of programming languages available, it can be challenging to determine if you should specialize of go broad. The landscape can change quickly, turning a once in-demand language into yesterday’s news, or shooting a once-forgotten language into the spotlight. Before you finalize your choice in languages, consider the following points.
Skilled Developers Can Adapt
While many developers have a preferred programming language, those with notable skills can adapt to the needs of the majority of available languages. Most languages are created with the same basic concepts, allowing various if-then-else statements to drive the end functions. Since the conceptual way of viewing a program stays consistent, many programmers can shift to a new language with relative ease if a few others are already known.
It is frequently noted that learning your first language is the hardest since the approach can feel entirely foreign. Once you understand how one language works, learning subsequent languages is simpler. This leads some employers to look for new programmers without specifying a required language. The hiring approach relies on the idea that skilled developers can adjust to any language necessary, with only a slight learning curve. I can also indicate that the position is with a company that uses a wide variety of languages throughout their products.
The Market is in Control
It doesn’t matter if you are the most skilled programmer with a particular language if the market does not require that skill. While certain languages are almost always desirable, such as C++ and PHP, others will come and go. Even if a new language appears to solve most of the problems experienced with its predecessors, getting a company to dedicate to a new language can be challenging. The amount of commitment required can make some businesses reluctant to shift to a new language out of concern that it will ultimately prove to be a fad.
One example of how the market can change involves Objective-C and iOS. Before the release of iOS, Objective-C was falling out of favor. Once iOS began storming the market, Objective-C became very in-demand as everyone wanted to take advantage of what the iPhone had brought to the market. Now, Objective-C is losing ground as iOS developers shift to using Swift. Since Objective-C and Swift can coexist within a project both languages to maintain relevance today, but that might not always be the case.
A Broad Focus
If your favorite language is in high demand, then take the time to learn it well. However, don’t limit yourself to only that option. The ability to familiarize yourself with other languages should be considered a valuable opportunity. You don’t need to become an expert in every language on the market, but having a few languages under your belt will help you adjust to the demands of the job market, ensuring your continued relevance in the field.
If you are looking for a new programming job, the professionals at ITStaff can help you find your ideal job. Contact them today to see what positions are available in your languages or choice.