Current Programming Languages

I started learning about web development during the summer of 2006 when I took an undergraduate course at Michigan Tech involving basic xHTML and CSS. My professor was very strict on certain coding points, such as using valid, clean xHTML and the separation of content and style, which I still practice with my current coding projects. xHTML is the background code for almost all web pages today, containing the words and structuring the page. CSS designs the page, giving it color, special fonts, and images.

With the basics under my belt, I created my first website for the Inter-Residence Hall Council, a governmental student organization that I presided over. The site was basic but well-structured, even if it had no dynamic content. It wasn't until the next summer that I started learning a new language, PHP, partially to make updating my websites easier and partially out of curiosity. PHP is a server side language that creates xHTML - like pulling information from a database to display on a webpage. I also got a new job as a graphic designer and web developer for Housing and Residential Life at Michigan Tech, so the number of different projects I was working on dramatically increased. Not only did I do redo their entire web page, but I created a new IRHC and Dining Services site using PHP, xHTML, and CSS over the summer.

For the next year I refined my PHP coding skills, creating more advanced web applications, and started mixing Javascript into the mix. A client side scripting language, Javascript mostly creates a richer user experience with animations, auto-completes, and such, but unless you use AJAX, the dynamic abilities are limited to the client side - you can't pull information from the server once the user has visited a page. When I graduated in the spring of 2008, it was easy to find a job at Michigan Tech as a web developer working primarily with PHP applications.

In a job setting, I started learning even more helpful languages. By combining SQL with PHP, I could access database information to display on web pages. I used AJAX to pull live data from the server to the client side. Using DOM Manipulation, I was able to restructure web pages based on the user's action. Now that I was starting to understand more languages, different website APIs were easier to use, allowing me to pull information from their systems to combine with my sites for richer websites. In a matter of three years, I learned more about web programming then I could have imagined.

In the near future, I plan on learning more object orientated programming skills with PHP. This additional skill will allow me to create more efficient code for future projects. I am also familiar with, but would like to learn more about, Flash and Actionscript 3.0, XSLT, and ASP.NET. If I continue or speed up my learning rate of three languages a year, I should have many more skills under my belt within a short amount of time.