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Ask Slashdot: How Will You Update Your Technical Skills Inventory This Summer? 208

Posted by Soulskill
from the underwater-basketweaving-using-node.js dept.
Proudrooster writes "As technologists, developers, and programmers it is essential to keep moving forward as technology advances so that we do not find ourselves pigeonholed, irrelevant, or worse, unemployed. If you had to choose a new technology skill to add to your personal inventory this summer, what would it be and why? Also, where would you look for the best online training (iTunesU, Lynda.com)? The technologies that immediately jump out as useful to me are HTML5, XCODE, and AJAX. How about you?"
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Ask Slashdot: How Will You Update Your Technical Skills Inventory This Summer?

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  • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Friday June 28, 2013 @04:54PM (#44137811)

    This Ask Slashdot sponsored by: Dice.com.

    • Isn't it AC#AX now that Java is in its death throes?




      {cue the outraged Javascript fans to tell me Java != Javascript...too bad...}
    • This Ask Slashdot sponsored by: Dice.com.

      Because stale, obsolete, rusty skills are the way to a solid future. Probably handling solid waste, that is.

      • by murdocj (543661)

        Because constantly switching platforms, environments, and languages because "that's what the cool kids use" is a great way to need those hot new skills when your project sinks under a mass of half written, non-working code in 5 different frameworks.

        • So, the only two change models you see are static and profligate? I'm thinking there might be something in-between. Besides which, project management can be a useful discipline.

          .

          • by murdocj (543661)

            I'm a fan of the middle ground myself. But because I've been working in Ruby on Rails I see way too much "omg you gotta switch to this cool new tech which is a little more obscure and slightly less functional and certainly less reliable than what it replaces, but wow, it's new!!!!"

            So I've gotten a bit jaded.

            • LOL - I understand. You're entitled than. ;)

              FWIW, I think daylight might be that way. ---->

              Heh. Enjoy your weekend.

            • But because I've been working in Ruby on Rails I see way too much "omg you gotta switch to this cool new tech which is a little more obscure and slightly less functional and certainly less reliable than what it replaces, but wow, it's new!!!!"

              Been seeing a good bit of that in the python world. *oh shiny*

              • by mrvan (973822)

                I switched to python around 10 years ago and never looked back. People who think python is all new and shiny now are missing a lot of history - 10 years ago python was almost 10 years old and already at version 2.1.

                The language has evolved into an (IMHO) extremely elegant platform for >90% of my needs, from scripting and data processing to web applications. I especially like the way that decorators and generators allow elegant expression of many functions. Dynamic ("duck") typing has drawbacks (especial

            • You'd expect the middle ground to be more populated than the extremes, and yet in many things it isn't. Perhaps it lacks zealots?

              Disclaimer: not based on a proper study, just anecdotes, and it might be confirmation bias (see also toast, buttered side of).

        • by The Cat (19816) *

          Wins the fucking thread and then walks to the door in slow motion while the audience rises to a standing ovation.

      • Replying to undo wrong mod
    • by sconeu (64226)

      Actually, Lynda.com.

      And apparently the "Disable Advertising" checkbox doesn't work, because this binspam story still shows up on the front page.

    • by foniksonik (573572) on Friday June 28, 2013 @09:32PM (#44139625) Homepage Journal

      Looks like a question from a high school student to me. Maybe answer it appropriately?

      Ajax is still heavily used in web dev but typically you use a wrapper library like Jquery, Dojo or similar.

      HTML5 isn't really a skill or a technology. It's a buzzword to describe a set of HTML extensions, CSS extensions and the way you combine them with JavaScript.

      XCode is an IDE to develop Objective-C applications for iOS and OSX operating systems.

      These are fine if you have something in mind. If not might I suggest the following.

      Read a book on Design Patterns and get a cookbook for your favorite language (JavaScript, Ruby, Python, PHP, C++, LUA, etc) that uses said patterns (factory, decorator, etc).

      Try making a game using a game engine such as Unity or Unreal.

      Buy a $25 Arduino board and find some tutorials on programming for it.

      If it must be web related, try out NodeJS and use Meteor framework to build an app.

      • And I suddenly feel bad I have no more mod points to share. Excellent commentary and advice all around.

      • by kthreadd (1558445)

        XCode is an IDE to develop Objective-C applications for iOS and OSX operating systems.

        It's an IDE for all sorts of things. I've even seen people use it for Rails based web development.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Friday June 28, 2013 @04:55PM (#44137831)

    It's a JSON world baby. I'm learning flash myself, it's the COBOL of the future, niche knowledge for the win.

  • by X10 (186866) on Friday June 28, 2013 @04:55PM (#44137837) Homepage

    I don't do formal trainings, not any more. I'm happy with my focus on Android, but if I'd want to switch to other technologies, I'd download the tools and read the docs on the web. Same as I did for Android.

    • I don't do formal trainings, not any more. I'm happy with my focus on Android, but if I'd want to switch to other technologies, I'd download the tools and read the docs on the web. Same as I did for Android.

      Any good (and preferably free as in "don't cost money") docs you can recommend? I've been wanting to do some stuff with Android, but coding has never been my forte.

      • by X10 (186866)

        Any good (and preferably free as in "don't cost money") docs you can recommend? I've been wanting to do some stuff with Android, but coding has never been my forte.

        If you have to ask this question, you should stick to formal training.

      • by White Flame (1074973) on Friday June 28, 2013 @05:40PM (#44138271)

        People learn new platforms via reference materials, which brings existing programmers into their realm. This is especially true with Android, since it builds off of Java and to a lesser extent from the user & app-programmer perspective, Linux.

        Learning to program, however, is a separate skill. I'd suggest learning Java, then applying what you've learned to Android. If you're good at learning on your own, then go straight into Android programming examples from Google's materials and learn both at the same time, sussing out any weird language understandings with Java references.

      • The full Android documentation (introductory tutorials and reference) is available here and is completely free.

        If you're looking for more tutorials on how to get started, The New Boston [thenewboston.org] has an absolutely outstanding series of tutorial videos for Android beginners with little experience. More advanced users may find the pace unbearably slow however.

      • by micheas (231635)

        https://android.googlesource.com/ [googlesource.com] and your favorite dev environment (whether that is vim and various shell tools, emacs, eclipse, netbeans, visual studio, or whatever) Is the definitive source of android documentation. But, not what you want.

        If you want to see the basics of writing an android app look at the source for phonegap and titanium. Those two frameworks combined with The New Boston will allow a programmer to come up to speed quickly

        But, you seem to want to through together an app that you built

  • spam? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 28, 2013 @04:56PM (#44137855)

    This story submission feels like spam for lynda.com.

  • by Ignacio (1465) on Friday June 28, 2013 @04:57PM (#44137861)

    Those are not skills for this summer, those are skills for several summers ago.

    • by GreyLurk (35139)
      *shrug* my current plan is actually to spend some quality time figuring out how to use Ruby this summer. Though to be fair, I'm skipping Rails and going straight to Sinatra.
    • >> Those are not skills for this summer, those are skills for several summers ago.

      Heh. Wish I had mod points today. Can anyone else speculate on why these would be "skills for summer" anyway?

      • Because lynda.com just happens to sell online course videos for those specific topics at $25/month?

        • It's not a coincidence as Lynda.com sells online course videos for many, many other topics too.
      • by arth1 (260657)

        Yeah, technical skills for the summer is more like how to dig a good pit barbecue, or how to remove a swimsuit with no hands.

    • Those are not skills for this summer, those are skills for several summers ago.

      And they are skills for some monkey slave. The trick with programming is that a competent programmer with access to the internet should be able to pick up a language they've never even heard of as they go.

      Need to do X in language Y? Google.com. How to do X in Y. Read. Learn. Do.
      Code monkeys may be able to read and do by copying, but they generally won't learn unless they spend an ungodly amount of time and effort on rote bullshit (i.e., formal certifications).
      It's the application and business logic, e

    • by mysidia (191772) on Friday June 28, 2013 @05:51PM (#44138367)

      Those are not skills for this summer, those are skills for several summers ago.

      Agreed...

      Learn yourself some HTML6, haXe, Zimbu, Opa, F#, Rails 4.0 (released a few days ago), CoffeeScript, Google Dart, Ceylon, , Django 1.5, MS Excel, 'R', Dao,Hadoop, MongoDB, C# 4.0, Python 3,

      Not. More seriously: go buy some books on cooking, and learn that, or find some other hobby that fancies you -- maybe remotely leveraging skills from your technical job, maybe not. Learn some new hobbies -- have fun; concentrate on gratitude. Happy people are more successful. Don't worry about competing with other people for "knowledge of the latest fad".

      Try to figure out which worldly subject is important, but that you know the least about -- read a book or two on it. To have depth of knowledge; reading a book isn't good enough, you need lots of experience to learn -- if you don't do a lot of programming in the language, you won't learn it very well.

      On the other hand, you can expand breadth of knowledge into other subjects such as History or Art, by reading, and doing a little ---- the weaker you are in a subject, the easier it is to learn a meaningful amount

      The fewer subjects you are that weak in.... well, the more global intelligence you will have :)

      • by tibit (1762298)

        That is very insightful. I concur. Heck, I'd even say that if you want to try something new in bed with your significant other, even that's worthwhile. Good sex life often translates to less grumpiness and more productive office life ;)

      • HTML6, haXe, Zimbu, Opa, F#, Rails 4.0 (released a few days ago), CoffeeScript, Google Dart, Ceylon, , Django 1.5, MS Excel, 'R', Dao,Hadoop, MongoDB, C# 4.0, Python 3,

        Excel is considered a skill? EXCEL??! I completely understand this post was intended to be facetious, but ugh - Python, just feels dirty now, solely for being listed next to Excel. Heck, even MongoDB has been diminished... and I didn't even think that was possible!

        • Then you probably don't know what spreadsheets with formula are capable of...

          I think I know python pretty well, but there are many things I don't know how to do with a spreadsheet that people who *really* know excel well can do... They're usually found in the finance industry, the people who have no programming training and can't write proper programs, but make up for it by "programming" excel spreadsheets like a guru.

        • by mysidia (191772)

          Excel is considered a skill? EXCEL??!

          I think maybe you need to learn more about it. Clever use of Excel can eliminate the need for a lot of expensive data processing computer software, and business software in particular, for many use cases. I realize that the perceived coolness of Spreadsheets from a technology perspective is pretty low, because it's old stuff, and it is not very shiny.

          If you can avoid 10 hours of programming by taking a couple hours to put together a spreadsheet that solves th

        • Excel is awesome. As a technologist you need to be able to build solutions in whatever tool makes sense. Excel can save some serious money/time and it is gaining in popularity. Try writing you own pivotal analysis functions in whatever language. It can be done, but why not just press a button and get on with business.

          On top of a few API/frameworks I plan on digging into Data Warehousing this summer.

    • Right, and the hip cats who built apps with those two years ago have moved on, so there are tons of jobs as maintenance programmers opening up.

  • by decipher_saint (72686) on Friday June 28, 2013 @04:57PM (#44137863) Homepage

    to kill off the slow brain cells that are holding me back from synergizing my knowledge of vertically integrated mobile platforms in local cloud-based content management system datafication.

    • to kill off the slow brain cells that are holding me back from synergizing my knowledge of vertically integrated mobile platforms in local cloud-based content management system datafication.

      Lemme guess... middle management.

  • I'll be learning the latest and greatest hotness - Node.JS. Watch me create jaw dropping, brilliant code on both sides of the request transaction. Meow. Latest and greatest? Yes, of course! http://developers.slashdot.org/story/13/06/27/1733243/nodejs-and-mongodb-turning-javascript-into-a-full-stack-language [slashdot.org]
    • Then when you need to scale it up, or introduce some serious data processing, you can just buy servers with larger core counts and... oh wait. It's all single-threaded. Never mind.

  • I'll be using the summer expanding my knowledge with Debian, an Os that won me over on its own as well as with with some awesome variants in the micro-computing scene. Will hopefully spend some time building a Cubieboard cluster and will also be trying out Asterisk.
  • by zeldor (180716)

    for me its the summer of PI. raspberry and arduino projects and general amusement.

  • None of these fads (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I don't care about web technologies and fads which will last 2 years.

    I will continue to expand my skills in C, C++, cross-development infrastructure, build tools, SOC firmware support, device drivers, build infrastructure management, Linux, compilers, and similar stuff.

    With these skills, I will still have a good job in 20 years, because most newbies are terrified of the middleware guts, because it's the hardest part, and everything is built on top of it, so it can't go away.

    Once all the AJAX experts are out

  • I'm teaching my kids some basic python while I learn it.

  • What? Not all technical skill are computer related, yo.

  • I'm reading The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, learning to farm, shoot and watch the northern paths for Vandals.

    Seriously, this place is on its last legs.

  • XCODE, unless it's meaning changed since I last checked, is not an acronym. It's just Xcode.

    As far as Xcode as a skill? Xcode is just another code editor. It has a few fancy features, but nothing that's that dramatically different. Submitter probably means learning either iOS or Mac development (and probably learning Obj-C.) All of these things could be valuable skills.

    But let's be specific. Learning Dreamweaver and learning HTML5 aren't the same thing either.

  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Friday June 28, 2013 @05:43PM (#44138293) Homepage Journal

    that way I can get all my work done while I sleep

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 28, 2013 @05:45PM (#44138311)

    I will be re-reading MSCE course materials. Sometimes I forget where to click.

  • Gonna get my ham license this summer. I may try to take the technician and general tests the same day. I'm not sure this particular technology skill will help keep me employed, but it will surely help keep my sanity.
  • For the useless editor: the word "inventory" in the title is entirely redundant.

  • Mercenary outlook (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Okian Warrior (537106) on Friday June 28, 2013 @06:28PM (#44138587) Homepage Journal

    This seems a rather mercenary outlook to me. You are asking for suggestions on how to spend your spare time with the goal of keeping yourself employed, without regard to whether you would enjoy the subject or process.

    I'm all for goal-driven careers, but studies show that the most successful people are the ones who like what they do. It largely doesn't matter whether the skill is the most "in demand", it only matters whether the skill is in demand "enough". This is illustrated by successful people in (what we would consider) pedestrian careers such as furniture sales, property rental, or owning the local laundromat (which, BTW, is the most common way to be successful).

    The first step is discovering what you enjoy. The easiest way to do this is to spend 1 hour in quiet solitude. This is unexpressibly difficult if you've never tried it - you need a situation which has no interruptions whatsoever (kids, phone calls, other people), and you need to stick with it for the duration. Solo long road trips, long walks, hiking, and biking work well for this.

    For the first 1/2 hour your head will be full of day-to-day thoughts, reminders, personal maintenance, reviewing memories, and so on. After awhile, this will quiet down and your mind will start to wander. Whatever you think about most is likely your source of joy.

    Figure out some skill that feeds into your joy, choose a project that requires this skill and which also feeds into joy, and resolve to complete the project by the end of summer. Write the goal down (this part is important!) with as much detail as you can, stick it in an envelope, and put it away for later.

    Your brain has likes and dislikes, as well as a goal-setting mechanism that you can use to your advantage. If you want to be happy, you should start the process of being happy right now, while you still have leisure to do so.

    (Oh, and to answer your question: I'm writing a paper on hard AI.)

  • "How Will You Update Your Technical Skills Inventory This Summer?"

    So, let me start by saying summer doesn't mean 2-3 months of vacation time since I was in highschool. I.e. work as usual, aside from a few days here and there for short rests. Which in turn means, summer is no special occasion to frshen up skills. As a general rule, you;d need to learn new stuff when you need it, or - less likely to happen - when you have time for it and nothing better to do.

    If the question is - which it isn't since it lo
  • I know eight programming languages cold. I've worked as a senior engineer, project lead and CEO.

    Ain't no jobs for Americans any more. It doesn't fucking matter what technologies you know.

    • You can always make it up. The best job is the one you pull out of thin air. You might even be able to make work for others to do. Wouldn't that feel good.

  • HTML5 is about as useful as a dick on an airplane propeller.

  • Look, the whole "tool belt" approach is short sighted. Yes, you can learn the basics of a lot of things but your are better off with a deep understanding of one thing. Every language runs into the same issues. The difference is basically syntax but once you have a deep understanding in one language it's applicable across them all. Performance tuning an application to death is a great driver for that type of exploration as you will learn about I/O limits, server configurations and optimizations, caching

  • I'm going for the FPGA/ARM competence by fiddling around with a Zedboard [zedboard.org].

    This seems to be an interesting thing to go on with since it is very useful to have knowledge in how to do custom designs.

  • A decade ago was better.
  • Summer is for golfing, boating, kayaking, beach, swimming, BBQs, vacation, reading for fun, and watching summer blockbusters (when it's raining).

    I agree that most of us do not have two months off as we work for a living, but most of us do take vacation time at this time of year. In addition, I would rather spend my evenings and weekends outdoors during the summer working on my golf swing or enjoying a BBQ with friends and family.

    Summer is short enough (at least int he North East). Leave training for the c

  • by Sesostris III (730910) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @02:23AM (#44140625)
    I used to maintain C (with curses) well over a decade ago, but it's all gone now (rusted away to nothing). However, with the advent of the Raspberry Pi (which I think runs better either headless or without going into X) I'm getting this strange urge to revisit and re-establish some C skills. Back-to-basics, as it were.

    In addition to this, I'll probably aim to study for some Java certification, and get a solid handle on design patterns.

    If I do need to get to grips with something "modern", it'll probably be Google Web Toolkit (GWT)

    OK, I'll be honest, the Java certification and GWT would be for work. The C and nCurses would be for me!
  • I play around with Pharo/Squeak.

  • I won't be, that's what winter is for. I guess I can understand why you would think summer is the time for learning, however most of us don't still live in their mothers basement, avoiding the sun like the plague.

    I'll be learning SEO, Sun Enjoyment Optimization.

  • FYI: A good tutorial is worth its weight in gold. Don't mistake a reference for a tutorial.

    A tutorial will walk you through the basics. A reference is like a dictionary. Good for someone who already has a good idea of what he's doing and just needs details on the specifics. A tutorial is for someone just trying to figure out how to apply the technology.

  • Steam Sales.

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