There’s an old saying: “If your only tool is a hammer, all your problems look like nails.” I know it well, because it truly applies in the software development industry. Most of the time, the software tools a programmer chooses for a job will depend on either 1) what the programmer know or 2) what the programmer wants to learn.
Seth Godin mentions this tendency in his blog today:
Seth’s Blog: Hammer time
One study found that when confronted with a patient with back pain, surgeons prescribed surgery, physical therapists thought that therapy was indicated and yes, acupuncturists were sure needles were the answer. Across the entire universe of patients, the single largest indicator of treatment wasn’t symptoms or patient background, it was the background of the doctor.
So, we programmers are not alone (I never thought we were :))
I love the phrasing of his parting advice.
The best way to find the right tool for the job is to learn to be good at switching hammers.
Of course, you can’t switch hammers unless you have more than one.
software developers workers who will thrive in today’s and tomorrow’s global economy are the ones who make it a life-long practice to add new tools to their tool belts.