rocknbil - 4:13 pm on Apr 12, 2011 (gmt 0)
As one who's gone the other way - build it (programming), then make it work (SEO) - I say both. The problem with learning programming/site building first is you begin to develop habits, a lot of them bad ones. Habits that affect SEO, cross browser compatibility, security, and when you finally face the epiphany that you have been doing things wrong all these years, you have to tear it all down and build it again.
If I have one beef with most programming out there, it would be this, that it is usually "ok" programming but has really awful output. Tabled layout. Invalid (X)HTML. No way, or poor ways, to generate SEO characteristics.
I'd suggest to revise the one path theory. I work with people daily that assume this posture. Without knowledge of all the other aspects you need, you will have skewed expectations of your other contractors, as they would of you, and often not know whether you are being bamboozled or not. (All I want is a simple this or that. Why are you telling me it's impossible/expensive?)
For any one path to work, and work well, you have to have an intimate knowledge of all the other aspects of a healthy web site.