Jack of All Trades, Master of (N)One

Posted by Brian Tue, 28 Dec 2010 03:31:00 GMT

One constant in my life is that I have a tendency to become a jack of all trades, master of none. I read voraciously across a range of topics, but rarely delve extremely deep into any topic for an extended period. If I hadn’t have hurt my arms I was planning to learn several more instruments in addition to bass guitar. I doubt this would have left time to be really good at any of them. I’ve only scratched the surface of hobbies such as woodworking, electronics, and yoga and find myself getting back into video games instead of delving more deeply into any of those.

I noticed this is definitely true with my development work as well when I was updating my resume during my recent job hunt. The thought had been floating on the edge of my mind, but crystallized during that process. At least in this case I am a master of one though. Spending 3+ years with C# made me really good with it. But my jack of all trades include SQL, Python, Java, C/C++, Ruby, Scala, Perl, HTML/CSS, and JavaScript/jQuery. Of those the only one I would consider myself to be proficient in is SQL. And that doesn’t even include all of the several other languages I have done one-off things with, development tools, libraries, and IDEs.

What I can’t decide is if this is a good or bad thing? Right now I don’t have any other languages I’m itching to learn (Although it would be nice to relearn Scheme and Elisp. I didn’t even list those above), but I would like to dive more deeply into some I have only scratched the surface of. The problem is that it simply isn’t possible to learn so many languages and related tool sets in depth without investing large amounts of time. Right now all that time is being taken up diving deeply into Perl. For now, I’m just not going to worry about it.

no comments

New Job

Posted by Brian Thu, 09 Dec 2010 03:19:00 GMT

I mentioned in my last post that I was learning Perl in the hopes of landing a job. Well, that has now paid off as I will be starting at Summersault next week. I’m pretty excited to get out of working with Microsoft tools. I was worried about getting pigeonholed into that if I took another job with it. While C# is a great language, my moral objections to Microsoft’s business practices far outweigh my love of C#. Now I get to work with a variation of the LAMP stack (FreeBSD, Apache, PostgreSQL, and Perl) as part of a small team. And other people can actually see my work this time. That was sometimes frustrating when writing internal web apps.

This change may effect my open source work with Trac. Summersault does not use it internally (RT seems to be the standard with Perl). Up until now LSR’s use of it was a major motivator for me to get involved. We will see if I am able to sustain interest when I am not using it on a daily basis. If not, I will put out a call for someone to adopt the batch modify plugin. The whiteboard plugin will probably just die. I can’t see anybody else wanting to put the necessary work into it.

no comments

BPM, Books, and ... Perl?

Posted by Brian Sat, 04 Dec 2010 04:26:00 GMT

Due to my lack of posts here I have now scheduled writing time every night for at least a half hour. So far this has proven fruitful. I’ve been hard at work writing a series of posts to finish up My Lombardi Experience. I want to focus on why our BPM experience failed with the hope of preventing other teams from failing in the same way. Right now I have a lot of material that needs massaged into something that I am comfortable posting.

Book reviews may resume as well, but only for those I feel that deserve it. Previously I had been writing something for every book I read, but that became a pain in the ass. The goal was to read less this year, but I still am going to end up in the low 40s. I read one a week last year, so I guess it still counts as less though.

On the coding front I’ve mostly been busy learning Scala and … Perl. That one was certainly a surprise, but a job opportunity came along that required me to learn it. Now hopefully I actually get the job. Unemployment is getting boring. I may write more about Scala and Perl later, but they are so alien to each other that I haven’t even attempted to compare them yet. I can’t imagine too many programmers go from C#, to Scala, to Perl.

Taking the time to learn two new languages has caused my open source work to recede into the background for now. The Trac whiteboard plugin may languish in prototype phase for quite some time now. An Indian company did express interest in hiring me to extend it for their needs, but that never materialized. The batch modify plugin may get some love early next year. I am currently looking at making it aware of custom workflows, but doing so will require a major rewrite. I already started it once, but left the codebase a mess, so I’ll probably start from a new branch.

no comments