This week's book giveaway is in the OCPJP forum. We're giving away four copies of OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide and have Kathy Sierra & Bert Bates on-line! See this thread for details.
I'm seeing lots of people turn their back on Java, because, well, it's dead. Of course, those who read my posting here, know otherwise. But this begs the question, when is it time to learn about .net or any other language? The answer is, it depends, but it's probably sometime today or tomorrow, not next week. First, it is important to recognize that if you see your skill set the languages and technologies you know, then you're in trouble. A good software engineer who knows Java can learn C++ and visa versa. I have C++ friends who picked up Java in 2 weeks. You won't be an expert, but you'll have the basics, a hashtable is still a hashtable, inheritence is more of less the same, modulo some minor details. As long as you're in a company where someone does know the details when you run into issues, and can help you learn them, you'll be fine. The true value of a good software engineer and ability, experience, and knowledge of programming principles, OOA and OOD, for example. These skills are independent of language. What do you get by learning other languages? What do you get by learning another non-programming language, e.g., French? You get knowledge which can help you in new places, e.g. France, as well as an appreciation for your own languages, as seen from a different perspective. The same is true in software languages. As a Java programmer, learning other languages will benefit you in two ways. First, it makes you more versitile, it gives you more tools to use. Second, you will be understand why Java is as it is, when you see other ways of doing things; you will better understand and appreciate Java's strengths and weaknesses. There are exceptions. Sometimes it does make sense to specialize in a language. In my case, I got into Java when it was in beta. I've only taken Java jobs, because these days I know few people have more Java experience then me. I've made an ffort to really get to know the in's and out's of Java, not just the grammar of the language. I also had a good opportunity to get into the wireless Java space 2 years ago. There again, becaus eit was such a new field, one could quickly become an expert, and "ride the wave." The same opportunity appears today with .net Realistically, as much as I like Java, it will be a good career move for some people to jump on that bandwagon today. For the rest of us, we should try to pick up the basics at some point, just for the alternative perspective.
--Mark [ April 17, 2002: Message edited by: Marilyn deQueiroz ]