2013 Challenges for Developers, Part II: Demand for Multiple Language Skills
By this time last year, the term "polyglot programmer" had entered the IT lexicon, and there was plenty of talk about the strategic advantage of learning to use a wider variety of programming languages, frameworks, databases, interface technologies and other development tools. Last year's strategic advantage may be evolving into this year's survival strategy.
"I would argue that developers need to be fluent in multiple languages now," said Forrester analyst Jeffrey S. Hammond. "I see that in my data: I've talked about the multilingual developer who programs in no single language more than 50 percent of the time, and that's definitely on the rise. I don't see how you get away with just being a C++ developer or a C# developer or a Java developer anymore."
Hammond is a leading expert on open-source software, next-generation mobile, open Web and client architectures, and software development productivity. He writes regularly on those topics for Forrester's application development and delivery blog. He believes that the need for multiple language skills may be one of the biggest challenges facing some developers in 2013.
"There's just a tremendous amount of stuff that developers have to learn if they want to keep their skills up to what the market is going to be demanding of them in 2013 and beyond," he said. "Think about all the things you've got to understand now to build modern applications. You have to be able to use either a cross platform tool or you have to pick up Objective C or Android Java or C#. You have to learn how to consume and use all these RESTful Web services. You've got to understand the ins and outs of Amazon Web Services and how to build a scale-out system that runs in the cloud. It's a hell of a lot of homework, but necessary if you want to limit the constraints on your career opportunities in the long term."
What additional language skills are codederos likely to seek in 2013?
Jay Lyman, a senior analyst at 451 Research who covers open-source software in the enterprise, application development, systems management and cloud computing, sees the polyglot programming trend "unfolding in parallel to DevOps," as more software developers and system administrators leverage more tools and languages for different advantages.
Mike Gualtieri, principal analyst at Forrester, agrees that the demand for multi-language skills is likely to put more pressure on developers in 2013: "A polyglot programming norm means more homework," he said in an e-mail. "The trend towards using multiple programming languages including scripting languages is a constant challenge for developers. It means that they have more homework to do to keep up with all the new languages and programming languages."
He added: "Is this God's programming Tower of Babel to punish Sun for screwing up Java and Oracle for acquiring Sun?"
Posted by John K. Waters on January 11, 2013 at 10:53 AM