Siddharth Mehta posted a nice blog post today entitled Why a SQL developer of BI developer should learn .Net in which he outlined four reasons that he thinks make it beneficial for SQL Server developers to have an appreciation of .Net. Those reasons being:
- To protect oneself and your database from becoming slave of application
- .NET is the programming backbone of Microsoft BI Stack
- Performance Optimization
- Error control
Siddharth explains his reasoning and I wouldn't disagree with any of it however I would add a reason that I think is even more important than those. The reason I like to have an appreciation of .Net isn't so that I can write .Net code per se, its so that I can speak the same language as the .Net guys on my team. When they're throwing around their fancy acronymns, frameworks and goodness knows what else I don't enjoy being clueless about what they're talking about, I want to be able to join in and offer an opinion. For that reason I make a point of learning as much .Net related material as I have time to, even if I'm never going to use it.
Its a point I've argued with a number of people in the past, most notably my good friend and colleague Rich Griffin who is a Silverlight developer (and MVP). Rich vehemently made the point that a database developer's domain is the database and everything above that is preserve the .Net guys. The two are architecturally seperate so why does one type of developer need to know about the other? (I'm paraphrasing but I believe that was the gist of what he was saying).
I disagreed, I'm of the opinion that knowing how the other guys on my team work and understanding their needs of me makes me a better team member. I'm often reminded of a quote I remember the great dutch footballer Denis Bergkamp making during an interview. He was talking about his early days at Ajax and he said (again, I'm paraphrasing):
During training sessions they used to make us strikers swap positions with the defenders. It wasn't so that we would be able to play in defence if we ever had to, it was so that we would know how a defender thinks!
That quote has always stuck with me and its one I like to trot out from time to time as I think that ethos can be applied to our way of working too.
Do you have any thoughts about this? I'd be interested to hear from any .Net devs that have the same opinions that Rich did.