How To Decide on Professional Development

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Okay… So the title of the post is a bit misleading. I’m not going to tell you how to decide on steps for professional development. I don’t even know myself. That’s what this post is about. I just felt it was better to leave the Question Mark off the title… SEO reasons, ya heard?

So, here’s the question… How do you (aka me) decide on what to do when it comes to professional development. Here’s the example, specific to me (of course): I am currently working on a project that uses web technologies like Struts, Tiles, JSPs (implicitly), Java (also a bit of a duh), EJBs and J2EE in general. There is no real practical application of something like AJAX in this project, and the architecture is well established enough that we’re not gonna go throwing some JavaServer Faces in there… BUT: AJAX and JSF are technologies that I really want to learn. I am familiar with Java and JavaScript already, so those two seem like fairly natural extensions of my current skillz. And I have books about both sitting on my Shelf for when I finish my Java Server Pages reference by Hans Bergstrom. Okay, so really that seems simple enough, right?

Sure, but then I see another Richie Rich Internet Application made with the new Flash 8.5/Flex 2.0 engine, and that run time seems like it could be the future of web applications as easily as the others, and perhaps more so. The Flash player has something like a 94% penetration among internet users. People (not many, but some) turn off JavaScript for security reasons. So does it make more sense to make a jack move to learning ActionScript 3.0, even though I’ve never done any Flash programming before? Or, do I stick with the currently chartered course of AJAX followed by JavaServer Faces (or perhaps the other way around)?

Also obfuscating the issue is the fact that my “shop”, as it were, is mostly invested in Java and Java-related technologies, but there are a few Flash programmers who rock their “specialist” label like it was an oversized clock. Can I step up to be a Flash playa in control of the Flash player? Or is it enough to have a few people doing the Flash stuff, and concentrate on skills that are probably more widely applicable in the realm of web development?

Nels Wadycki: Thinking out loud on the daily.

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Posted on February 21, 2006, in AJAX, JavaServer Faces, Nels Wadycki. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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