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Middleware or Frontend : which is better for skill enhancement ?

Kr Manish
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Joined: Jul 30, 2010
Posts: 138
In my job I have a choice of going for Javascript/jsp/spring/hibernate OR backend/middleware stuff like Maven/jBPM/Mule integration & framework stuff.

Which is/'will be' more in demand in future ?
Which pays more ?
Which is tougher to learn ?
Is it possible to be good in both ?

Any thoughts ?

Regards
Manish


You know what I am saying ?
Maneesh Godbole
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Joined: Jul 26, 2007
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    8

Which pays more ?

I think that is a very wrong approach. A pilot or a doctor probably gets paid more than being a developer. Would you stop being a developer now?
The rule of the thumb which I always follow: Always do what you like so you never ever do a job even for a single day of your life.

As long as there are distributed systems, there always will be front end, middle ware and backend stuff as you call it. Each "end" has its own challenges.
You need to figure out for yourself which one you enjoy working on more. Knowledge is never wasted. Even if you start on one and switch to something else later, it won't go waste.


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Kr Manish
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Joined: Jul 30, 2010
Posts: 138
What i meant was that I am interested in both front end as well as middleware/backend. But in my project I am at crossroads, and have to decide between them. And there is no point in being Jack of all trades, I would rather be master of one. So that was why I was asking, because unlike me, people here have "been there, done that".

I mean where do each of the 2 paths lead to in future, workwise, job profile wise as well as salary wise.
Maneesh Godbole
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    8

Kumar Manish wrote:What i meant was that I am interested in both front end as well as middleware/backend.

What are you interested in? I don't know software development which does not involve either of these three. Maybe you can elaborate on what you meant?
Kr Manish
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Joined: Jul 30, 2010
Posts: 138
I am working on a huge BPM project. I could either work on the screen generation which would entail me learning ExtJS/Javascript, Spring MVC, hibernate and JSP's etc....
On the other hand, on framework side, it would have me dabbling with Maven builds, creating workflows for clients using jBPM, integration the individual modules of the project using Mule, etc...

And I am as new to JSP's & MVC's as I am to Mule/jBPM's.

Maneesh Godbole
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Joined: Jul 26, 2007
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    8

So what are you interested in?
Kr Manish
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Posts: 138
I understand your point Maneesh, about all depending on me. Agreed, but the reason I am asking is because I could go either ways. The reason for that is , I am just starting out in development, and anything for me is new. So I am asking you experienced guys which track is a better one in the long run skillwise, paywise, . Is that an unfair question ?

I thought it would be wise to be advised about ups and downs of both streams so that it helps me choose. Again, I could go either ways.
arulk pillai
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Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
Is it possible to be good in both ? Yes.
Which is tougher to learn ? It depends, some are naturally better front-end developers.
Which is/'will be' more in demand in future ? Hard to say.
Which pays more ? Hard to say. Pay depends on the mission criticality of the project, the role you play, and supply of good caliber people. If you are an expert in a speciliazed middleware product where the supply is scarce, you can demand more pay.


In my view, the front-end developement can be self-taught as most of these technologies, frameworks, and some containers are freely available.

In terms of middleware development, some products are free, but most are commercial products and experience with any of these products can add value to not only your resume, but also to your back pocket. Many companies are catching up with SOA (Service Oriented Architecture), Cloud Computing, Real Time Grid, etc and having middleware knowledge will be very valuable. So if you do not have any experience with a middleware product, this can be a great opportunity.

What is most important is that, what really interests you and be good at what you do rather than chasing around where the dollars is. The demand will vary from time to time, and focus on becoming really good at what you do. Good caliber professionals are always in demand and earn a decent salary or contract rates.

I have done both "front end" and "middleware" development, and enjoy both as it gives me variety. I quite get bored working on the same stuff continuously.

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Maneesh Godbole
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    8

When I started learning Java, during the learning process itself, I could figure out that the UI or front end interested me more. Coding something and visually seeing it happen on the screen gave me a big high. I devoted myself to Swing to start with. Swing in itself relies on core concepts or what is generalized as "core java". So I studied that. Later on I got interested in mobile development and learnt J2ME. Along the way I also learnt about sockets and communicating with a remote server and applets. Later on I got interested in web based systems and so I learnt GWT. Along the way I learnt servlets and databases and hosting web applications.....

Do you see a pattern here? I did what interested me. As a side effect I also got interested in technologies which supported or were required for the technology I liked. I never chose technology because of money or difficulty in learning.

I love UI more. So I would say go for the front end. Someone else is absolutely thrilled by EJB or DB and they would recommend accordingly. Would that help you choose? Now do you see why I was asking you, what are you interested in? Of course this is my opinion and others might disagree.

Way I look at things, you got two choices.
1) Do what you like to do
2) Analyze what others recommend or search on job portals for most required technology and pay package. Of course most required technology can also mean its difficult so good developers in that technology are hard to find. (one of your criteria is tougher to learn)
Kr Manish
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Joined: Jul 30, 2010
Posts: 138
arulk pillai wrote:
So if you do not have any experience with a middleware product, this can be a great opportunity.


Makes sense, since even my manager said that frond end skills can be developed by self studies, but we don't get middleware/backend skills in textbooks. We get them only by working live.

Thanks arulk.
Also Maneesh, I understand what you mean. Only that my preference lies in the technology which would be beneficial for me in the long run. I think I would go for the middleware stuff, for which the opportunity to learn does not come often.
Lester Burnham
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Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 1337
Kumar Manish wrote:And there is no point in being Jack of all trades, I would rather be master of one.

I'm convinced that that is the wrong approach if you want to maximise earning potential over the long haul. I understand that you need to decide between the two options right now, but well-rounded people have more options over the course of their career.
Kr Manish
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Joined: Jul 30, 2010
Posts: 138
@Lester: Hmmm, agreed, point taken. But that is in long run.
I asked the question just out of curiosity, since I DO have to decide now.

I just wanted to know, which holds more clout, in the long haul.
Rajesh K Singh
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Joined: Apr 22, 2006
Posts: 38
Why not become a master of both UI & backend? If you want to grow in Technical Stream (Design/Architecture) then you MUST know both.
Parag Pathak
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Joined: Jun 22, 2010
Posts: 57
Rajesh K Singh wrote:Why not become a master of both UI & backend? If you want to grow in Technical Stream (Design/Architecture) then you MUST know both.

Can I add .NET, webservices, few legacy technologies because you may have to deal with them also and few new technologies which will come in next few years. Is it easy? keep learning and do nothing? How much memory do you have? is it unlimited?
Kr Manish
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Posts: 138
Its a no-brainer that the more I know, the better it is. I know THAT. What if given a choice ?
Collin Dugas
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Joined: Jul 10, 2009
Posts: 91
I would personally go for the front end development. This is strictly my experience that I have found server side programmers dime a dozen but a good UI designer is very hard to come by. Since the supply is low I figure the going rate may be high.
I do middle ware coding and I find it extremely boring. There is not much I do except patch together a few libraries to get some work done but this is again very subjective.

Another suggestion. Why not take up one of them for some time and see if you enjoy and then do the same with the other.
Rajesh K Singh
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Joined: Apr 22, 2006
Posts: 38
Parag Pathak wrote:
Rajesh K Singh wrote:Why not become a master of both UI & backend? If you want to grow in Technical Stream (Design/Architecture) then you MUST know both.

Can I add .NET, webservices, few legacy technologies because you may have to deal with them also and few new technologies which will come in next few years. Is it easy? keep learning and do nothing? How much memory do you have? is it unlimited?



.NET: Why do you want to learn .NET when you already know J2EE ?? these are two different areas.
Webservices: definitely yes, you must know them, now-a-days we have many SOA Projects using it.

New Technologies will keep on coming and old technologies will be phased out, but after you are at a certain level of maturity, you would easily get hold of the technologies.

It is possible to learn many technologies and not CRAM the API's provided that you are able to understand the underlying design principles and key architectural issues these technologies are trying to solve.

by learning new technologies if you mean learning the API's then my answer is NO, new technology will look like a burden to you.

think over it: what kind of architect you would be if you just know only UI or Backend ??


Parag Pathak
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Joined: Jun 22, 2010
Posts: 57
Rajesh K Singh wrote:
.NET: Why do you want to learn .NET when you already know J2EE ?? these are two different areas.
Webservices: definitely yes, you must know them, now-a-days we have many SOA Projects using it.

New Technologies will keep on coming and old technologies will be phased out, but after you are at a certain level of maturity, you would easily get hold of the technologies.

It is possible to learn many technologies and not CRAM the API's provided that you are able to understand the underlying design principles and key architectural issues these technologies are trying to solve.

by learning new technologies if you mean learning the API's then my answer is NO, new technology will look like a burden to you.

think over it: what kind of architect you would be if you just know only UI or Backend ??



Your post looks much like an imagination than practical. There is big ocean between UI and backend. Probably you have long way to go. Good luck.
Parag Pathak
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Joined: Jun 22, 2010
Posts: 57
A suggestion: Architect is not someone who knows many technologies. Architect is someone who is born with different brain. People do not understand it. This is why I said, you have long way to go.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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An architect looks at the bigger picture. While it is a different outlook, most if not all good architects were once developers. Or still are depending on the project.


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Rajesh K Singh
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Joined: Apr 22, 2006
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Parag Pathak wrote:A suggestion: Architect is not someone who knows many technologies. Architect is someone who is born with different brain. People do not understand it. This is why I said, you have long way to go.


Did i ever said that "Architect is a person who knows many technologies" ???

Have you read my following lines:

It is possible to learn many technologies and not CRAM the API's provided that you are able to understand the underlying design principles and key architectural issues these technologies are trying to solve.

by learning new technologies if you mean learning the API's then my answer is NO, new technology will look like a burden to you.



An architect keeps an eye on whats happening on technical front, though he is not an Specialist in those technologies but he knows the capabilities of those products/technologies.
An Architect is the person who also takes software/component realization decisions and maps the solution to actual technologies as to which technology would be used to implement which component, and hence if he wants himself to rightly equip with the knowhow of taking right decision then he must know at least the capabilities of various products/frameworks already available, otherwise how is he going to make those decisions?

I could not understand whats imagination in this?

In long run the architects who are cut off with the latest technical developments will be more or less 'Power Point Architects'


Jeanne Boyarsky wrote

An architect looks at the bigger picture. While it is a different outlook, most if not all good architects were once developers. Or still are depending on the project.


i agree with Jeanne's views, also ignorance of latest developments will make them 'over dependent' on the project


Parag Pathak
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Joined: Jun 22, 2010
Posts: 57
Good luck Rajesh, impressed with your enthusiasm.
Rajesh K Singh
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Joined: Apr 22, 2006
Posts: 38
Thanks for writing Parag

You spent no time in replying back, i am impressed.

these are my personal views, you can take or throw away whatever i said.
Parag Pathak
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Joined: Jun 22, 2010
Posts: 57
arun r mehta
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 08, 2010
Posts: 38
In my job I have a choice of going for Javascript/jsp/spring/hibernate OR backend/middleware stuff like Maven/jBPM/Mule integration & framework stuff.

Which is/'will be' more in demand in future ?
Which pays more ?
Which is tougher to learn ?
Is it possible to be good in both ?

Any thoughts ?

Regards
Manish



Which is/'will be' more in demand in future ? - Demand is completely unpredictable , The Idea here is to be aware of both the ends
What pays more - In my opinion, Pay depends on company/market average/skill available in the market which is pretty good enough on both sides. So pay wise both are same the only thing matters is "What you get on employers table ???"
There wont be any use if you have 10+ yrs exp. on middle ware technologies and you don't write reliable/deliverable/robust product or service(and vice versa in case of frond end technologies)

Is it possible to be good in both - Definetly yes, If you have passion for computing then you can probably master all the technologies.
When I say good in all technologies that means you have know how of the underlinging design architecture of the technology and might not know the API for the technology..

At the end of the day its choice what you do "frontend" or "middleware" both the fields have their own challenges.... The only thing which makes difference is what "Innovation" you have in your skill!!!


-arun


Kr Manish
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Joined: Jul 30, 2010
Posts: 138
I guess there ARE no easy answers
 
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