ASP.NET Security Consultant

I'm an author, speaker, and generally a the-way-we've-always-done-it-sucks security guy who specializes in web technologies and ASP.NET.

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Why I don't think of myself as an ASP.NET developer

Published on: 2011-11-02

I've been asked by several people recently whether I'm interested in being a mobile application (or SharePoint, database, Silverlight, etc.) developer. I've never really liked that question, but I didn't understand until recently why I didn't. The problem is that question assumes that I'm going to be focused on a particular technology, but really IT professionals should be focusing on being experts on solving particular business problems. Let me explain. Programming is programming, whether you're programming for the web, desktop, mobile, firmware, whatever. The languages differ, some of the particular problems differ, but if the developer is reasonably knowledgeable and dedicated to learning, they should be able to pick up new skills specific to a new platform relatively easily (especially with the number of technical bloggers out there). So while the knowledge of a particular technology, such as mobile application development on a particular platform, is useful, it's not the most useful way of determining expertise.

Instead, we need more technology professionals who focus on a certain business need. Such business needs might include external marketing, finance, or competitive research. To be especially efficient, such a technologist may choose to focus further on a particular industry. For example, an external marketing specialist may know how to lead conversations to learn what user interface is appropriate for a public-facing app, and be able to design something that both delights the user and is technologically feasible. A finance specialist may know accounting and finance rules, but also would be extremely fluent in programming languages and platforms that best fit financial applications. In other words, such a specialist would be equally knowledgeable of the technology they are using as well as the business function they are serving.

While people like this exist, if technologists wish to be partners in shaping business strategy, we need significantly more. Having more technology people value MBAs would be a good start, but by no means would be a cure-all.

This article was originally posted here and may have been edited for clarity.