It’s easy to get wrapped up in the technology you use, thinking everyone is using it because everyone you interact with is using it. But when you back up and look at the bigger picture (which you should do), you may not be where you think you are. Tiobe Software creates a monthly Programming Community Index rating the use of programming languages. Our beloved C# comes in a number 6, behind (Visual) Basic of all things! I’m not really surprised by the leading languages (Java, C, C++), and it shows that while Microsoft is strong in the marketplace, it’s development tools and technologies are not leading the pack. But when looking at the charts over time, two of those leading languages have been declining in use for many years. C and (Visual) Basic have been consistent for a long time, and C# has been growing. I think the programming landscape has been fragmenting, the dynamic languages like Ruby and Python are gaining more mainstream acceptance each year, and the popularity of new platforms like mobile phones is going to keep changing that landscape.
So does that mean my choice of Microsoft as a platform isn’t the best choice? Hard to say, but I believe it’s a solid, reliable choice. I certainly think that it’s getting harder and harder to be specialized in any one language. Employable developers are going to need many programming tools in their tool chest. The end result is that fewer developers will truly be an expert with their tools, but will be good enough to get some work done. I don’t believe this bodes well for software quality going forward. There is already too much to know and be good at, I certainly struggle with this problem myself. As a consultant, learning lots of different tools is a necessity, so I will continue to keep working towards expertise in the tools I know, and not letting my interests get too fragmented.