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programming languages

September 26, 2023

The Power of Cross-Training in Programming Languages
byNina SumnerinTips

As the digital landscape evolves, the hierarchy of top developer roles adopts a pyramid design, with programmers holding the lion’s share at 43.2%. The revolutionary wave of digital transformation and the advent of groundbreaking technologies have substantially increased the appetite for developer roles. These innovative tech breakthroughs are fuelling the need for diverse and adaptable developer capabilities. In this structure, students studying Computer and Data Science represent 15.1%, followed by team leads and architects who account for 9.64% and 9.15% respectively. Capping the pyramid are C-level notches, including IT Managers, forming 8.38% of the total. In response to the rapid influx of emerging technologies, tech professionals are urged to master a range of in-demand skills, thus ensuring an edge in this mutable tech arena. This not only augments their adaptability and earnings potential but also paves the way for ongoing career progression. Additionally, tech professionals looking to stay ahead of the curve could consider ‘cross-training’ – the practice of mastering multiple programming languages. This sort of digital polyglotism can yield a trifecta of benefits: bolstering one’s versatility in an ever-shifting tech landscape, enhancing one’s earning capacity, and setting the stage for sustained career success.


Become a versatile programmer 

Cross-training in multiple programming languages will make you a versatile programmer — one who’s able to avoid the common issue of tunnel vision. Unfortunately, programmers experienced in just one programming language typically get locked into a set way of operating. Problems and obstacles are therefore generally approached in the “one correct way”. However, it pays to remember there are multiple approaches to problem-solving in software development. Just take a look at how different the Go and JavaScript methods of error handling are: 

// Go

err := doSomethingDangerous()

if err != nil {

  fmt.Println(err)

}

Compared to: 

// JavaScript

try {

doSomethingDangerous()

} catch (err){

  console.log(err)

}

Both methods have their strengths and weaknesses depending on the situation. Go’s method, for example, works well for enterprise software development, while JavaScript is more useful for webpage rendering. Ultimately, when you cross-train in multiple languages, you’ll gain a better understanding of each one, which means you can more easily recognize the best approach for solving a problem at hand. 

Keep your skills fresh and relevant

The programming landscape is ever-evolving. An unexpected change can easily make any skill you’ve learned either outdated or, conversely, highly relevant. For example, the once-popular Apple’s Object-C has now fallen out of favour. At the same time, Fortan — the first-ever commercial programming language — recently returned after over ten years out of the spotlight. So, by limiting yourself to skills in just one language, you face a higher risk of getting left behind if that language ever declines in popularity in the future — or if your business simply decides to move in another direction and adopt a new technology you’re not already skilled in. Cross-training will put you in a better position to adapt to the industry’s changing needs as and when they happen and open you up to more opportunities. Yet, although you may realize the importance of cross-training, you may find it challenging to fit it into your busy schedule. Fortunately, eLearning is a simple and convenient way to fit your studies in. Elearning courses primarily offer the benefit of being flexible. The course content is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week — you simply log on and off again as suits your schedule. 

Boost your earning potential

“Tech workers’ salaries can grow as much as 69% as they gain more knowledge and experience”, Bankrate reports. In the case of software development, cross-training in multiple languages is a particularly effective way to boost your earning potential. Recent research into the programming language requirements of job vacancies across Fortune 500 companies determined that not even one business is looking for a new hire proficient in just one language. Rather, a total of four different languages are required on average. YouTube, for example, uses multiple languages: JavaScript on the front-end, and C, C++, Java, Go, and Python on the back-end, while MariaDB, Vites, and Bigtable are used for the database. Similarly, Amazon uses Java, JavaScript, Swift, C++, and Ruby. And, you’ll find the same goes for every other major tech company — they’re all looking for developers trained in multiple languages. So, by cross-training in multiple languages, you’ll easily make yourself a more attractive candidate to major companies and therefore increase your chances of drawing a huge paycheck.  

Sticking to learning just one programming language curbs your growth potential, and also puts you at greater risk of becoming irrelevant later down the line. Fortunately, cross-training in multiple programming languages can help you become a more versatile programmer, keep your skills fresh and relevant, and boost your earning potential all in one.


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