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Business Relevance of JSTL

Cliff Engelwirt
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 3
Suppose I am a business owner running a shop building Web Applications using JSP/Java. Someone comes to me and says: "I know JSTL through and through. Hire me." How would my business gain from hiring this person and getting the JSTL expertise?
Would I increase my productivity -- pushing more Web Applications of the same or higher quality out the door in less time? ( Apparently it would, by relieving the Web Designer of the need to wrestle with Java Code in scriplets or with Custom Tags that are hard for him to understand.)
Would I reduce my costs ( for example, would I need fewer people writing Java Code or Custom Tags )?
Cliff EngelWirt
William Brogden
Author and all-around good cowpoke
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Joined: Mar 22, 2000
Posts: 12803
    
    5
Is this some sort of trick question?
JSTL seems to have gone through a long process of evaluation and testing by a variety of people. Seems to me it should be regarded just like any other group of tools that Sun endorses and become part of your standard vocabulary.
Bill
Cliff Engelwirt
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 3
Nope, this is not a trick question.
I am looking for work in a recession. So I need to enter the mindset of the people who will be hiring me: ultimately, business owners.
The business owner wants to know whether the person he hires can reduce his costs, increase productivity, or more generally bring in more money for him.
My hunch is that JSTL would increase productivity for the business owner (more JSP Web Applications produced in less time at the same or higher quality). I also have the hunch it may lower costs for him as well.
I am hoping that people here will be able to confirm or disconfirm my hunches. -- If my hunches are correct, then I can go to potential employers and say: "Hire me. You will gain in increased productivity and lower costs."
Cliff
Shawn Bayern
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 06, 2002
Posts: 160
Originally posted by Cliff Engelwirt:

I am hoping that people here will be able to confirm or disconfirm my hunches. -- If my hunches are correct, then I can go to potential employers and say: "Hire me. You will gain in increased productivity and lower costs."

I think that would be accurate. Above the individual technical differences between JSTL and anything else, the fact that it's a standard could hold an extra appeal to an employer.
In other words, knowing JSTL might actually increase your employer's productivity and lower costs, but an additional, long-term, and quite substantial benefit comes when the next five people that the employer hires also know JSTL (or have good ways to learn it, like high-quality books and plentiful examples).
The other thing to note is that if you're an experienced page author, you can probably learn the 80% of JSTL that matters most in about a week. So the risk and entry cost is low for everyone.


Shawn Bayern<br />"JSTL in Action" <a href="http://www.jstlbook.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.jstlbook.com</a>
Michael Zalewski
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 23, 2002
Posts: 168
Originally posted by Cliff Engelwirt:
Suppose I am a business owner running a shop building Web Applications using JSP/Java. Someone comes to me and says: "I know JSTL through and through. Hire me." How would my business gain from hiring this person and getting the JSTL expertise?
Cliff EngelWirt

In my opinion, the Business Owner could care less. He (or she) just wants a web site that works, and wants the site to keep up with the changing conditions of his business.
However, the IT hiring manager might be more impressed. If it comes down to hiring someone who 'knows the Java Servlet API and JSP thoroughly' and someone who 'knows JSTL', the JSTL might show that the second applicant has a more thorough knowledge of how to make a web site that works.
Should you put JSTL on your resume? I think that the answer depends on what kind of resume you are making, and who the resume will be given to. If the recipient of the resume really is a business owner, than I would say 'no, don't put it on your resume. The guy who is making the decision won't understand it, and you can't explain it in terms of benefit to his (or her) business. In this case, putting JSTL on your resume could actually hurt your chances. It might make you seem too technical. A business ownere needs a person who will understand business problems. The problem is that there are too many technical people who can include dozens of new technologies into an application without solving the business problems.
However, for a more technical interview, it might make some sense. Then you would be talking to another IT professional who knows what JSTL is.
And here is another way of using your knowledge of JSTL. If you are given an explanation of the application you will be developing, be prepared to explain how you could use JSTL to make the site better. Or how you could use JSTL as one of many tools to help build the websites for the business.
Cliff Engelwirt
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 3
A business owner needs a person who will understand business problems. The problem is that there are too many technical people who can include dozens of new technologies into an application without solving the business problems.
Michael Zalewski

That was very well put.
My strategy in job hunting will be to say: "Hey, here is a new technology, JSTL; here are the business problems it will solve; and this is (in a very general way) how it will solve them." Everything will be put in as few words as possible. My aim will be to be understandable to even the non-technical person. (We'll see if I actually accomplish this. I think it can be done, however.)
I will be making this pitch as much as possible to the actual/ultimate decision maker, whether this be the owner, or an IT Manager (who in the present recessionary circumstances is probably being pressured to think in terms of business problems).
When my pitch succeeds, and I generate interest in the actual/ultimate decision maker, the next step will be to talk with a technically sophisticated person, whether this be the owner himself or an IT manager under him. At this point, I will be trying to convince him that I have an in-depth knowledge of the technical stuff.
This is how I hope to distinguish myself from the large number of competitors who are technically better than I am.
Your general point that my approach needs to differ depending on who I am talking to is well taken.
Cliff
[ September 03, 2002: Message edited by: Cliff Engelwirt ]
Michael Zalewski
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 23, 2002
Posts: 168
Originally posted by Cliff Engelwirt:

My strategy in job hunting will be to say: "Hey, here is a new technology, JSTL; here are the business problems it will solve; and this is (in a very general way) how it will solve them." Everything will be put in as few words as possible. My aim will be to be understandable to even the non-technical person. (We'll see if I actually accomplish this. I think it can be done, however.)
[snip]
[ September 03, 2002: Message edited by: Cliff Engelwirt ]


Even better would be to say "Hey, here is a business problem. One possible solution to this problem is to use a technology called JSTL. Another possible solution is to use a technology called [... Velocity ... Open Jade ... ECS ... Web Forms and .NET ... whatever]. Then do a pros and cons of each.
The problem is, we as developers tend to put the technology first. The business owner wants to hear how his business problem can be solved.
My point is that it doesn't matter so much if you can make the business person understand JSTL (unless you want a job as a teacher). You want to be able to show that *you* understand *his* business, and can use tools to solve those problems.
 
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