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Switching Programming Paradigms

I'm a developer working on web sites for a large media company. All our development is done in the TCL scripting language on the Vignette platform.

My real passion is UI programming in Windows Forms. Though I have done Windows programming in the past and tinker with it now, it's been almost 5 years since I've done it professionally.

My question is, do you think that having been away from Windows programming for 5 years will make it incredibly difficult to get a job as a Windows developer?

With the rate of change in technology and the introduction of the .NET platform (which I'm trying to learn in my spare time), I feel incredibly out of the loop.  Does that hurt my chances of getting a Windows development job?

Tired of Vignette
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Maybe difficult, but not impossible.

One thing you can do is to look for one-job-away jobs. 

That is, if you can't get a job doing you want directly, because of experience, get the job that would provide the experience that you need to get the job that you want.

Peter Breton
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Don't want to kick off another "best IDE" thread, but make sure you start developing with a decent IDE, like ... Visual Studio .NET.

Johnny Bravo
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Peter, I guess in my position a one-job-away job would be doing ASP.NET programming. It's still web-based, so I can use all the stuff I already know about stateless programming, HTML, CSS, XML, XSLT, JavaScript, etc. Since it would be ASP.NET programming, I would pick up C# or VB.NET skills and a healthy helping of understanding about the .NET platform.

That's a good idea. It would at least get me out of TCL world!

Tired of Vignette
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

"Does that hurt my chances of getting a Windows development job?"

Hard to say. 

I would guess that currently there aren't very many experienced Windows .NET developers out there.  That said, I don't think you will currently find too many employers looking for people who specialize in .NET GUI type of programming.  Classic VB currently handles this type of application development just fine and most businesses aren't going to dump or migrate what they already have and switch to .NET unless they have an economic justification for doing so.

The biggest problem with the .NET platform is that it was released 3 years too late. 

* Most of the dot-coms are gone
* The IT industry is in a spending depression
* Large coporations have invested a lot of $ into expensive ERP packages
* Various Java related offerings have matured
* Blah, blah, blah


What incentive do companies have to switch to .NET?

Migration is an expensive endeavor and some of the technologies associated with .NET are incomplete.

Small and medium-sized businesses that aren't already heavily using other solutions seems to me to be the only place where Microsoft has a good chance of gaining significant market share with .NET.

One Progrmmer's Opinion
Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Heh.

When I write code for Windows, it's always in Tcl.

It's nice having a program that runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Classic Mac, and UNIX (both command line/console and in X11).

Peter da Silva
Thursday, August 21, 2003

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