I know these kinds of questions come up a lot, but I wanted to see if we can do it again and make it relevant for today while also considering locale.
So, my question stems from a simple fact: I've been working with PHP for about 10 years now. I'm at what I suppose you would call Lead Developer status, where I not only develop but also manage a team, defining coding standards etc. I consider myself to be somewhere around the expert level (not meaning to try to blow my own trumpet) and don't feel that there's much more that I can do professionally with PHP itself. By that I mean that without leaving development, my career as a PHP developer has somewhat flat-lined now. Once you've gone junior->senior->lead there isn't really anywhere else to go within PHP development itself, so you need to broaden your horizons, so to speak, or stick with what you know. I choose the latter. I'm technically more advanced with MySQL than PHP, by the way.
That brings me to my question: Where would you go next? I'm looking at Python and Ruby at the moment. The problem with both is that there aren't a lot of jobs local to me. There are some Python jobs locally, but not a lot, and Ruby jobs all require moving to London by the looks of it, which I'm not so keen on as I have a wife and son who wouldn't want to move. So what would you do, or even better, what DID you do, being in a similar position? And since we know that demand for certain technologies differs around the globe, where are you based?
Looking for any subjective opinion, all are valid
I'd actually suggest approaching this problem the other way around. Rather than picking a new language and then trying to find a job, instead pick out the job you'd like to have and then find out what tools they use. For example, if you have your sights set on Google, then probably Python is your best choice. If you're interested in Facebook, then double-down on PHP. If you're interested in Microsoft, then .NET. Of course these big names may not be an option in your area, but the principle is the same. Check out agencies or other companies in your area. Figure out which is the one you wish you could work at, and find out what they want in a developer.
It's interesting that you say that, actually. It's for exactly that reason that Python is attractive to me. Google is a company I'd happily move for. In fact, we'd love to move to Mountain View, so it seems logical at the moment. I also like the looks of Python itself and the Django web framework also looks interesting, though I'm disappointed to see that support for recent Python versions is still experimental. Makes me wonder if I should learn a v2.x Python, rather than 3.x
Does anyone have any thoughts on Go? I've been looking at it as another option, though I accept that there are few companies outside of Google that use it, and I really like it! Have a couple of projects that I think I could really use it for so think I'm going to dive in
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