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Ask Slashdot: It's 2014 -- Which New Technologies Should I Learn? 387

An anonymous reader writes "I've been a software engineer for about 15 years, most of which I spent working on embedded systems (small custom systems running Linux), developing in C. However, web and mobile technologies seem to be taking over the world, and while I acknowledge that C isn't going away anytime soon, many job offers (at least those that seem interesting and in small companies) are asking for knowledge on these new technologies (web/mobile). Plus, I'm interested in them anyway. Unfortunately, there are so many of those new technologies that it's difficult to figure out what would be the best use of my time. Which ones would you recommend? What would be the smallest set of 'new technologies' one should know to be employable in web/mobile these days?"
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Ask Slashdot: It's 2014 -- Which New Technologies Should I Learn?

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  • Universal... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @06:40AM (#46033991)

    Learn to lie and bullshit with a straight face.
    These skills can take you everywhere. Even right to the top if you're good enough at them.

    Being willing to use people and steal are also good.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @06:46AM (#46034011)

    If you want to have more job opportunities learn C#. You will then have a solid base for both mobile development and web technologies. You can also use your C# skill to develop for android using Xamarin Studio (standalone, or there is a handy plugin for Visual Studio) or you can learn Java faster because they have similar syntax and functions (there are exceptions, of course).

  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @06:51AM (#46034023) Homepage Journal

    Objective-C for iOS

    This. Since you already have 15 years of C experience, you should pick this up quick. And it will set you apart from all the noob JS/php "developers" whose only knowledge of C is that it's the third letter of the alphabet.

  • by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @07:45AM (#46034219)

    if you learn C++ you'll be a bonus to any project that hires you since too many C++ devs these days don't have a clue about low level bit twiddling or memory management

    Unfortunately being a potential bonus to a project and getting hired are often two different things. My brother is an excellent C++ bit twiddler as well as knowing the "higher level" stuff. He was out of work for a long time despite that skill. Finally he got a job at a security company where the person hiring him saw an understanding of low level stuff as an important asset. That makes sense as obviously hacking into corporate systems involves a lot of low level twiddling. Maybe my brother's problem is that he was only interested in white hat stuff. You can't make money if you're too ethical.

    A few caveats to my pessimistic view. He was looking for work back in 2010 when the economy was even worse than now. Also his degree is in a completely non-CS related subject.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @07:48AM (#46034229)

    Someone has a mod and, unlike me, hasn't posted yet? That's about the best answer there is.

    If you have experience of 10+ years in a field that isn't, say, Visual Basic or something similar that nobody would willingly touch anymore with a 10 foot pole, cling to it. You're gold, you have 10+ years of C. It doesn't get any better than that.

    Instead of trying to reach into some other language or technology, I'd broaden my horizon and delve into other fields that you can combine with your deep C knowledge. Security is currently a big deal, and embedded C almost screams that you should take a shot at physical security and surveillance. I'd take a look into that field (if you're at all remotely interested).

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @08:32AM (#46034419) Journal

    As for C also learn a object oriented one and a functional one

    OO syntax in any Turing complete language is just syntactic sugar. If you're a half competent C programmer you will be using OO techniques in any flavour of C. Take another look at K&R, now realise that virtually every code example is also a very good OO design example.

  • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @08:33AM (#46034429) Journal
    For mobile development, learn about tools, platforms and methods for cross-platform development. And once you master the tools, learn about UI/UX and what makes a great interface on mobile platforms. These are skills in short supply, even in mobile development shops.
  • by gr7 ( 933549 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @10:38AM (#46035111)

    On the plus side, Embedded programmers get about twice as much as web programmers. Switch to contracting if you want more money - around $50 per hour for web developers $30 to $75 and around $100 per hour for embedded programmers ($75 to $200). I'm not an expert on rates. This is just people I've met. It's a small sample but it makes sense. Embedded C programmers with more than 3 years of experience are damn hard to find. It's a niche market.

    On the minus side, there are fewer Embedded programming jobs out there so you have to travel farther and often you can't work from home because you need to be with the hardware and often there aren't enough hardware to let you take one home. Or you need expensive debugging equipment like oscilloscopes, etc. Again I'm talking about contracting where you will have to travel to different places every time you get a new contract and they will be farther away than those web development contracts.

    I recommend you stick with embedded C and if you want to learn something, learn how to use an oscilloscope, read a schematic and study some basic electronics so that when something doesn't work you can tell the Electrical Engineer exactly what is wrong instead of just saying "it's broken". This is how you get in the upper end of the salary range.

    If you do switch to web programming then obviously you need to know: html, javascript, SQL. Those are the most basic and key things you need to understand.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein