Know Your Tools

16 03 2011

The phrase “the tools of the trade” is one that comes up a great deal when someone is explaining what it is they do for a living. Every vocation, be it seemingly simple or highly complex, has tools of the trade. They might, as well, be simple hand tools or easy-to-operate machinery. They could also be great mechanical beasts that are housed in impossibly-large warehouses, replete with enough moving parts to baffle all but the bravest of engineers. What is important when we talk about tools of the trade is that they are not simply things that are there for your amusement. Not at all, in fact. The tools of your trade, whatever that might be, are there for a singular purpose: to help you get your job done and to help you get it done efficiently. Knowing and respecting your tools, as well as those who use them, is key to success. Knowing how to use them is key to keeping the job.

When it comes to programming, to building and designing not only proprietary software, but also the experience of the Internet, developers have a great deal of options. There are hundreds of different programming languages available to be used, all with individualized strengths and weaknesses. These faults and strong points set them apart and denote what exactly they can best be used for. Knowing how and when to use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript when designing a web page, for instance can mean a great deal. It can be the difference between building a dynamic site with an engaging aesthetic and designing something that could have been built with, say, Geocities. However, the main point remains: know your tools and respect their uses.

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