I initially learnt javascript because I was desperate to have marquee effects on my Microsoft FrontPage website, actionscript to build menus in a basic flash game I tried to make, C++ for a half-life mod, and so on.

Jobs seem a little more focused than my approach. When I was jobhunting, most programming job postings were language- or framework-centric. They weren’t looking for someone generally experienced in full-stack web development. They wanted someone who specifically has at least 2 years of angularjs experience or specifically has Rails4 JSON API coding experience. I’m guessing this is a consequence of reality: commercially established applications are architected on—and have built technical debt in—a particular language or framework.

So, with that in mind, I have devised the ideal strategy for maximizing earning potential:

Pick one language, preferably the most popular (Javascript/Java/C#/C++ at time of writing), in addition to a popular framework (angularjs/ember.js/ASP MVC/etc.) and focus everything on that.

This, if executed properly, will guarantee a £40+ k salary. However, I’m wary of my own advice. I must be paranoid though. These frameworks (e.g. angularjs) are backed by mega corporations (Google) so they literally can’t die off. It’s a sure thing. I thought that, until experiencing a framework that once had a similar status.

I’m currently developing on an IBM Notes backend. From around the late nineties to the early noughties, IBM/Lotus Notes was considered a de facto standard development platform for enterprise solutions. The reasons closely mirror why today’s de facto platforms are popular: good patch support, decent documentation, many developers using it, stable, supports clustering, plenty of jobs, and so on.

Fast forward to 2015 and apache/IIS/ngix serve over 85 % of websites. Notes is at around 0.05 % (source). Fudamentally, the loss of popularity is only IBM’s concern. Unless you’re a developer that took the strategy above.

Back then, Notes was a sure thing. Employers paid big for Notes developers because it was cheap and fast to launch a product with Notes’s tightly integrated architecture. Cheap university graduates—who were generally “true neutral” in their language alignment—got whisked up into Notes jobs. The IDE, LotusScript, and LotusFormula were easy to pick up, so there was little need to go and learn Java.

I’d bet money that you can substitute “Notes” in the previous paragraph with some of today’s tech and come to a scary conclusion. I did and, as a consequence, I’ve spent the last 3 years practising programming diversification. In those years, I’ve leant the basics of a few wildly orthogonal languages (C, Ruby, Haskell, Prolog, Lisp, and C#) and toolchains (grep, paste, join, awk, etc.) and found the resulting experience to come in very useful.

I’ve been programming as a hobby longer than my diversification term (over 10 years, crikey) and I’m now beggining to encounter coding challanges that are interesting enough to merit writeup. Those writeups, along with the occasional rant, will go in this blog.