Archive for February, 2014

Responsibilities of technical user group


I recently started thinking (mind it, just thinking) to start new PHP user group in Pune. Why? Isn’t there any PHP user group in Pune? Actually there are three.

First one is inactive since last 2-3 years so lets not count it.

Second and third are relatively new and active, but I PERSONALLY feel they are going in wrong direction. Please note this is my personal thinking and I might be wrong. Since I agree I might be wrong, lets not go into details. However I’ve a basic idea of what a PHP user group must do. I’m just writing my idea, please correct me if I’m wrong.

  1. First and most important, user group is a community and a community do not belong to anyone particular. One could be organizer, lead contributor but one can not be owner of a community. If there is a owner, I personally feel difficult to call that group as community. For me, its a private limited company.
    So if you are organized and lead contributor of a community, don’t ever try to force your decision. Listen to everyone in the community. They might be wrong but if they are wrong, explain them why they are wrong. At the same time, you might also be wrong or no one can be wrong. Key point is, in a community, listen to every one, have healthy discussion and take joint decision.
  2. An important responsibility of community, ‘A community must take care of its new members.’ By new members, I do not mean new members to user group but I mean students learning programming and professional developers who recently started working (less then 2 yrs exp.). A community will grow old and die if we don’t take care of new members.
  3. Now most important responsibility of technical user group: Share knowledge. In technical world, technologies changes rapidly. One individual can not be master in all technologies. So these knowledge shearing sessions, targeted for experienced developers, are main goal of a community. This also allow us to build relations. As senior technical person, you are not expected to have solution of each and every technical problem but at least have knowledge who can help to find correct solution to new technical challenge. Being a part of community, you get that knowledge.

We can add multiple low level goals but above three are most important high level goals of a community/user group. If they are missing, sorry I personally feel it difficult to call your group as community. Please correct me if my idea of technical user group is wrong. I’m very much open for healthy discussion.

Career 1.0: Selecting your first Programming Language


In last 2 months, at least 4-5 computer science students asked me which language should they select/learn for their final year project and career? I was surprised what should I answer. Selection of programming language is generally based on your existing knowledge or project.

Problem here is, two of the most crucial factors of selecting programming language are missing here which make it very difficult question to answer.

Before we answer this question, we must first understand how most programmers select language for any project. There are two major factors:

  1. Existing knowledge.
  2. Project requirements.

Existing knowledge is very important. Suppose you know Java and someone give you choice to work on either Java project or PHP project. Your selection is obvious; Java. Why? Is it because Java is better than PHP? No, no language is better than other. You choose Java just because you know Java or in other words, you didn’t chose PHP because don’t know it and you are scared of learning it. Thats human nature. Changes are difficult for humans and we don’t want to go out of our comfort zone. Another reason, which is more valid, programming language is just a tool to fulfil business requirements and if I can do it with existing tool, why should I purchase another tool.

Second reason is project requirements. Now assume you are PHP programmer and you got a project to make a desktop application. Since PHP is not a good tool for desktop applications, your project requirements are forcing you to switch programming language. No matter which language you choose but you definitely will not choose PHP. Please note this is just an example when project force you to switch language but not a practical example as ‘only PHP’ developer will never accept desktop application project. However in real world, you sometimes get project that can be done in your programming language but learning and doing in some other language is more convenient, based on multiple factors like production server availability, existing team knowledge, client preference etc.


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