Something that has been bothering me for quite some time now is the “required” experience placed on so many technology job-postings.  Now, this is just my generalized opinion — I realize that sometimes a project requires immediate knowledge on the specific technology, but when looking for a permanent employee, does it REALLY make that much of a difference if he/she has had so many years working in a certain language?  I, for one, do not think so.

I’ve been working in the programming/technology/web-development field since 2002 (when I was 19 years old).  I came on basically to maintain a website – but eventually re-designed it.  After some time, I took on the Access Database management – and even developed some new ones for them (once I learned about VBA, I was so excited to do some programming).  Then I was able to play around with ASP and enhanced one of their web-apps.  I came in not knowing much about anything, but had the confidence and aptitude to learn whatever I needed. I was only their two years, and I was still in school.

I definitely don’t know EVERYTHING, but I can Google the hell out of ANYTHING!

And similar situations for every other job I got since – I had to learn SQL, ASP, ColdFusion, JavaScript, AJAX, jQuery, XML, DTS, SSIS, and now a little .NET ON THE JOB.  And it doesn’t really take that much time to learn it, especially when you have particular goals/tasks to complete.

I majored in Computer Science – and the curriculum was basically C++/VB (which I’ve NEVER used professionally).  But once you get the “gist” of one or two languages, any other language is syntax.

It doesn’t matter what language(s) you know, it matters how you THINK.

So I’ve never been scared to learn a new language; in fact, I thrive in an environment where half the challenge is learning the new technology.  And I would imagine most if not all my fellow developers/programmers (whatever you want to call yourself) think the same way.  Please comment if you do/do not share this sentiment.

I ask the following to anyone reading this in a hiring role:

Would you rather have someone who knows a bunch about one particular thing, or someone who  knows some about a bunch of things–but has the ability to learn as much as he/she needs to in order to get the job done?

I have a few particular examples where I had to learn a language/technology pretty quickly in order to get one or two tasks completed, and I may post those separately in the future.  But honestly, when I tackle those challenges, it’s some of the most fulfilling work I’ve ever accomplished.

One of my favorite examples was when I wrote an AWK (yeah, that’s right :-P ) script to normalize a formatted age-listing report into a CSV file for an accountant friend of mine.  That was definitely one of my proudest ‘Atta boy moments!  Especially because I had never used AWK before - we just read about it in my Programming Languages course in college.

Just because we don’t know it now, does not mean we won’t know it when we need to!

Arguments/comments are welcome!

Thanks for reading!

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