ProgrammingThe languages that I've got the most experience with are C, C++, PHP, Java, Perl, Python and TCL. At various times, I've concentrated on scientific, graphics, and database programming. I learned object-oriented design during a long stint of Java programming, a set of lessons that I've applied to my work in other languages.
I think a simple and clear design is the key to building reliable and maintainable systems on time. That said, it's important not to overdesign a project -- it's much more important to get a project done than it is spend six months thinking about how to do it. That's one of the reasons that I like PHP as an language for web applications. It's fast, reliable, and easy to install and maintain. Unlike Java-based systems, systems written in PHP can be maintained by programmers without exceptional skill.
I'm a big advocate of open source. I like Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP because they're reliable and flexible. They don't lock you into someone else's agenda, and they don't cost thousands of dollars in licensing fees. Often I've shaved weeks off the development time of a project by starting with an existing open source application (thousands can be found at freshmeat.net.) An existing application might have flaws, or not do exactly what we want, but it's often faster to fix those problem than to start from scratch -- and if we do need to start from scratch, we know what mistakes to avoid. I've also found that releasing software as open source is a good way to return to the community.