In the software development industry, it’s easy to get excited about the latest shiny object, but the truth is, the bulk of the jobs rely on skills in some pretty old-school languages.
We reached out to Tammy Colson, co-founder and CEO of TalentCrib, a recruiting and HR firm for IT companies, to glean her advice on staying up to date with the right coding languages to further your career.
Colson says you should start by researching the industries you are interested in to learn the languages they use.
“Don’t start with the latest and greatest language — it limits your options,” Colson says. For example, if you choose to specialize in a new, cool language, you may restrict yourself to seven companies in the nation that use it, she says.
Although coding languages fall in and out of favor, the languages on CyberCoders’ list have been around a long time and are used everywhere today, Colson says. Many businesses will stick with them because it’s hard — and expensive — to change the language for their software, she says.
Colson recommends building a strong foundation of languages that you are comfortable working in. “Choose languages that complement the skill set you already have,” Colson says.
Then, once you have a good foundation of languages to lean on, you can easily take on the newer languages and emerging technology, Colson says.
Colson says it’s also important to remember that you should never stand pat on your skills, because the most successful people are those who are continuously learning. The languages on CyberCoders’ list have been around for years, but they still are constantly evolving and changing, she says.
For students, Colson suggests being willing to program outside of class and emphasizes use of those same code-sharing sites. “When I’m looking for a junior programmer, I’m looking for someone who has two or three years of experience,” she says.
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