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Re: perl : focus or balance

by rattusillegitimus (Friar)
on Aug 06, 2002 at 05:29 UTC ( #187934=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to perl : focus or balance

Most definitely balance, imnsho. As Heinlein wrote, "specialization is for insects."

While I'm best at programming in Perl, I've got experience here and there with other languages, and I believe knowing some of each has definitely improved my ability to code in each of them. For example, when I approach a coding problem at work (VBScript ASP pages or VBA in MS Access), if I get stuck, I can work around the block by figuring out how to do the same problem in Perl. The Perl solution itself cannot be applied to work issues directly, as we're a pure MS shop, but it often suggests the VBScript solution. In addition, I almost always want to take something I've done at work and figure out how I'd do the same thing in Perl at home. This pushes me to constantly add to my Perl knowledge, as well as learn additional technologies. That's exactly how I first got going with XML, for instance.

The balance has an even greater impact on me as a person. Knowledge for its own sake has always been important to me, so I remain forever curious about the world rather then getting locked into a single straightlaced world-view. I feel this makes me much more well-rounded than a lot of people I know with very clearly defined (focused) interests.

The easiest place for me to see the effect of striving for balance has actually been as an employee. At my last job, I was very focused on two tasks: maintaining a single client's web presence using a legacy version of the software we put together and developing the final version of that software. Because I was stuck in this rut, a lot of the emerging technologies passed me by and I found when I was laid off that I had become a lot less employable than I should have been. I immediately broadened my skillset as much as I could with personal projects and have done my best to drive some of the projects at work in directions that would let me learn new things as well.

Hrmm, I've rambled on enough that I'm losing track of what I'm saying so I'll close with one final thought. I've found over the years that the more you can abstract your knowledge from a single technology or programming language, the better off you'll be when the technology (or world) evolves.

-rattus, off to bed

He seemed like such a nice guy to his neighbors / Kept to himself and never bothered them with favors
- Jefferson Airplane, "Assassin"

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Re: Re: perl : focus or balance
by bilfurd (Hermit) on Aug 06, 2002 at 19:55 UTC
    I agree completely!

    I was fortunate(?) enough to still be employed (stuck in a dead-end, high stress job) when I realized my skills were outdated. Took me an extra six months of hard work to get out of that job and into one I liked.

    This question reminded me of a movie scene where a Scots actor, playing an Egyptian character, was rowing a boat and singing "B - A - L - A - N - C - E" while a French actor, playing a Scotsman in this film, was standing on the bow and trying not to fall in the water.

      ++bilfurd for tying the thread to Highlander!

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