Whatever you do, learn jQuery … although, you don’t have to learn everything about it. Just get an overview and understand the basics. jQuery is big and trying to learn everything might be a waste of time.
… It’s good to know WHAT a framework can do, so you can consider it for projects you are working on. But don’t use a framework for the sake of using it. People often think that they should be looking for a way to use a framework. No … use a framework only if you need to.
So much, and too much to learn!
The thing about learning tech skills, is that you have to learn to filter – there is so much to learn, you can never keep up. You have to pick and choose.
My advice is to first learn the basic concepts and techniques that are universal. Things like OOP, MVC design pattern (and others), separation of concerns etc … then get into more advanced programming concepts. Once you have that, you can poke around some frameworks, keep your eye on what is out there, but keep in mind that it is not possible to learn all things.
I lost 10% of my hair in the 1990’s, trying to learn too much!
Back in the 1990’s when I first cut my coding teeth, I used to drive myself bat shit crazy trying to keep up with all the ‘hot’ amazing nerd-tech hitting the Web. Most of the time, the new amazing thing wasn’t really much better than what was already there, and many a times, you would sacrifice some advantage in one library, framework or language … for another.
Again, know the basics well, learn the key libraries/frameworks so you at least know what they can do. But don’t go nuts. Personally, in the JS world, I would learn jQuery first and foremost. But not all of it.
Someone put this question to me recently:
That’s a great question! My instinct is to say we need to know mechanics of things and so it makes sense to not rely too heavily on JQuery. But the reality is different!
You see, just about every language and framework we use today, builds upon some lower level base that most of us are not even aware of. So for instance, Ruby and PHP are written in C, so shouldn’t we go down to C and learn that? No!
… This is a rare project indeed!!
Experience has taught me that you should not make big technology changes based on rare events or rather, rare potential needs. Instead, your choices should be made based on common day-to-day needs.
So don’t listen to crazy nerds who try to strike fear in you, with stories of massive meteors crashing into earth destroying the planet. Instead of worrying about that and other crazy lottery ticket like events, just pay attention to when you are crossing a busy street, and you should be fine.
I am HUGE advocate of learning alternative languages and frameworks. So that means if you are a PHP Zend man, I would suggest learning another MVC framework like Laravel or any other PHP framework that looks interesting to you – there are many to choose from:
But … this may shock some of you hardcore PHP nerds, it’s also a good idea to learn another competing language too! Personally, these days, I would suggest learning a little Ruby. Ruby is very popular, sophisticated and by comparing how Ruby does things vs PHP … you will become a better PHP programmer because of it.
One of the things that I see time and time again, is a (once hot) technology … fall into a niche.
This time, I think it is native iOS programming that will slowly fade away. Why?
Here are my top five reason why native iOS programming will become niche:
iPhone penetration is falling – Android is now king of mobile.
HTML5 and CSS3 based apps can can do just about everything native iOS apps can.
HTML5 and CSS3 apps are cross platform – iOS apps are not.
Anyone who has read anything I’ve written (or watched my video blogs,) knows I can’t stand academics. I was particularly vocal against the early 2000’s Web Standards movement’s zealotry, wherein reality was pushed aside in favor of code purity.
These nerds would ignore reality – for example:
They would ignore how the most popular browsers where interpreting code – often times in a method contrary to their nerd wet-dreams. And they would come up with harebrained hacks to jam in their ‘compliant’ code. Hacks that eventually broke in many cases, defeating the supposed original purpose of the Web Standards movement!
They would obfuscate what the actual browser use was in terms of real people surfing the Web. They would come out with numbers that did not reflect the reality they were desperately trying to ignore: that the vast majority of people surfing the Web were using web browsers (Internet Explorer) that did not play nice with their ideas of how a web browser should read code.
As a web developer or web designer, you have to mindful of who your audience is when you are putting up a new web site or web application.
Back in the 1990’s when I started, you had to consider which web browser but you were pretty safe to assume that people would be visiting your website on a desktop computer and 95% of the time, it was Windows.
… Things have changed and will continue to change.
Check out what a well known hedge fund analyst is saying – Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners told CNBC:
The explosion of mobile platforms, particularly iOS and Android, means that Windows will account for less than 50% of all Internet-connected devices in 2011.
Now that doesn’t mean 50% of the people visiting your site will be using iOS or Android … at least not yet. But it does speak of a powerful trend that will not stop. That trend is toward smartphones, tablets and the death of the desktop. Since Windows on the smartphone and tablet is a non-starter, I think as a web application developers, we have to see Android and iOS as being the future.
What does that mean for PHP developers?
I think PHP programmers are going to have understand the new front end … the mobile device. As such, PHP’rs are really going to have to get into the client-side technologies because they have an impact how we write PHP code. I’m thinking:
– HTML 5
– CSS 3
… You better understand how these technologies work with PHP if you want a job (or contracts) as a PHP programmer.
We are happy to announce that we are well on our way to closed captioning all of our Web Design and Web Programming related video training courses.