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2008-04-04

Best Programming Language To Learn

I think it was 1988 when I learned my first programming language: Basic. I will never forget the first day when teacher wrote I = I +1 on the screen, and for a second it made no 'matheatical' sense at all :) I liked Basic!

Anyway, most Engineering applications were written in some variation of Fortran then, so that's what I learned in college. I never really liked Fortran. At the time, Computer Science students were learning Pascal, Turbo Pascal was very popular. One of the students who was very good at it gave a couple of us free lessons and that's how I learned it...

Then, when I started to work at 1993, I realized that 'Excel' (version 4, then) was 'the' application that was used for everything around me. Accounting was using it as well as Engineering teams. So, I learned about Macros and later VBA, which made life so much easier! At some point, I jumped from VBA to VisualBasic.

When 'Web Master' became a cool term, I learned about html and ASP. That was a nice combo and helped me do a lot of cool stuff around year 2000.

Later on, when I started to dig into Unix/Linux world, it became clear that Perl would help and together with shell scripting; it did in a big way when automatic tasks in Unix! Although I became proficient with VBScript/WMI scripting, ActivePerl is still my preferred choice in Windows b/c of it's spectacular power with regular expressions (Well VBScript became better with regular expressions and introduced "Dictionaries" (Hashes) yet I don't think it matches Perl).

So, I was thinking what to do next? Java has been out there for quite a while. I was interested in PowerShell but became disillusioned with version 1. AutoIt3 seems interesting but not super easy or intuitive. I keep on hearing about Python (check out this link for some resources) but I am not sure if it adds much on top of Perl...

That's why, I was quite interested when I saw the subject on LifeHacker. There is a lengthy discussion about it. Take a look if you are interested...

4 comments:

pecan said...

Hello Adil,
How about C# and C++? Are you proficient in those languages? I thought that you were a senior software engineer. Is it possible to survive as a software engineer without knowing these languages. Lately, I have been accumulating C++ and C# books and motivating myself to learn them. I want to invest into learning something that won't extinct in very near future. Any comments?

Unknown said...

Hi,

I've been in the IT world for 20yrs in different capacities but I am not a software developer.

That being said, Even I can confortably say that Java is here to stay for quite sometime.

My experience is that, in general learning one language makes learning others easier. I am not sure why you would like to learn programming language but depending on your purpose you may want to check out what market is looking for. If Java programmers are higher in demand then, that may motivate you to learn it.

BTW, You might try http://google.com/trends for fun.

Unfortunately, you will not get accurate trends for Java as non-language related results contribute to it.

Anonymous said...

Hello Adil
Check out "Ali Kirca" in /trends. There is a discontinuity between 2006 and early 2008, the time period around which rumors soared about his scandalous tape. It is as if some invisible hand removed that info.

Anyhow, I want to equip myself with better software skills, but I don't know which programming language or software trend to invest my time and energy on. I am pursuing a career as a quantitative analyst/financial engineer. But as far as I understand, one has to have pretty good programming skills aside from the analytical skills to be even considered for these positions. How is the hiring trends in your company? Is there a hiring stagnation?

Pecan

Unknown said...

Well, I am not really following Turkish news closely and totally despise Turkish magazine :)

Given the market conditions, and how so many financial companies were hit by mortgage crisis, Wall Street in general is more competitive, and lay-offs are more common these days.