.NET/General Advice Sought


Jolly Student

Dear Colleagues:

Thank you for taking the time to read this - I recently posted here with
regards to what was possible with .NET.

I have been working as a systems engineer for about fifteen years now. My
"specialties" have been basically anything it took to get the job done,
although I do have a knack for locking down workstations and servers from
the more "experimenting" employees. I have worked with Cisco switches and
routers to a good measure and know how to build servers and workstations.
My system skills are, in order of proficiency, Microsoft, Netware, Apple and
Linux. I am also a constant experimenter always working on some type of
project. For me there is no Monday night football, Superbowl or World
Series - I am your very definition of computer geek/nerd/brain, whatever you
want to call it. By the company I keep, the raises I have been given and my
propensity to never give up until I find a solution, I would respectfully
consider myself closer to the top of the food chain in terms of IT

The area that I feel I need the greatest amount of improvement in is
programming/development. Quite simply, I do not know the first thing about
programming in any language and about the closest I have come is modifying a
vb script here and there to meet a particular need (and I do mean basic).

I have been given the opportunity to attend training and I am leaning
towards a .NET program, however, I am told that .NET did not solve the
problem of world hunger, famine, HIV, etc., as all had expected it to - in
short, that .NET, although beneficial to many companies, is still mostly
about a Microsoft solution. To sum up, I want to hone my skills towards
what will be most in need come the next three to five years.

I see that some of the offerings in the Visual Studio .NET package (which we
have but do not use, hence, why I want to learn to do something with it)
involves matters that speak to the Office System. Do I take it that these
can be used to modify applications within the Office System to suit the
particular needs of an organization? In our case, it would be beneficial to
have certain features more readily available for our users, including
something like a print pop up that shows them, with pretty little pictures,
which printers they can choose and where they are located so that we don't
have somebody calling from the third floor yelling that somebody from
accounting just printed out the fourth copy of war and peace!

That being said, my "plan" is starting to look like this (and where I seek
the advice of my learned audience):

Take a class or two on visual basic to get a very fundamental understanding
of what I can do with scripts. I would love to create my own network
scripts not only for functional purposes, but also to be able to learn what
does what and how it does it which will obviously help me wake up the part
of my brain that needs to start "thinking like a programmer".

Second: Take a class or two on network security, a bit more advanced than
security 101, but not quite as high as regular 2600 writers - I think that
security is more about sharing, tinkering and a lot of reading, so I may
forego this although CompTia apparently has some offerings I have to
investigate on the subject of security.

Third: Take some classes that will allow me to add or modifying applications
that we already have. This is where I am most lost. Indeed, if I want to
modify Word 2003 for example, to have extra buttons, or plug into something
else, what do I use and how do I get started? A while back I was told not
to mistake Visual Studio .NET as Visual Basic with .NET added, that it was a
whole new thing, but what could you do with .NET in its ultimate

Fourth: Start on SQL in a considerable way. The software that makes our
company go go go is going towards an SQL back end, so I want to be better at
SQL than knowing just how to install the product and stare at it.

Aside from the financial end of things, which is always good, I want to
ultimately be able to have the skills to create business solutions not only
in terms of being able to modify or create applications to better fit the
needs of front end users (e.g. less screens, less buttons to push, simpler
ways of getting to things they commonly use), but also to be able to handle
the back end of things irrespective of operating system platform.

I know it's a long, hard, never-ending road but any advice or resources that
you may be able to provide will be greatly appreciated.




Paul D. Murphy [ASPNET-MVP]

It sounds like you are on the right track. .net doesn't fix everything, but
it is the decided future of Windows based programming. When Longhorn ships
(the next Windows) Win32 will take the backseat and WinFx will be the
primary mode of programatic interaction. Across every layer of Microsoft
technology netFx based technologies will be the preferred programming
interface and I suspect that 5 years from now Win32 will be depricated and
tradition languages like C++ and VB will cease to be relevant in the
Windows world.

I wish you the best.


Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question