Best Programming Language

Not sure what to study!

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#1 CruorAvis  Icon User is offline

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Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 12:29 AM

Greetings,

I realize this question has a lot of answers and will generally be amongst the lines of 'What do you want to do?'. The unfortunate problem is just that, I don't know. I also couldn't think of a better place to put this question so I do apologize for its misplacement if that is so. I have relative experience with VBScript, VB6 and C# - that is I've done more than a basic tutorial. I've actually gone off to program somewhat extensive scripts and applications with them. Unfortunately once my internship with a software company ended (As i moved away unfortunately). I found myself at odds with what to learn next or if I should continue on with C#. I really don't exactly care for C# that much (not nearly as much as I did when I first got back into programming). Quintessentially my question is, What is the best programming language(s) for a job at say Lockheed Martin and such and where should I begin? I appreciate everyone's opinion and help in this very much!

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#2 Choscura  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 12:37 AM

you have just asked the worst question here. Now it's going to be a dick-measuring contest until everybody realizes that C# is the programming language of the future that java tried (and failed) to be, which C++ and C could not be made efficient enough to emulate, and which LISP is encapsulated within- much to the chagrin of the lithp programmers here.

:D
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#3 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 12:41 AM

... I certainly hope you're trolling.

Brainfuck is obviously the language of the future.

Seriously, I'd highly suggest closing this thread immediately. We have enough of these threads.
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#4 CruorAvis  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 12:43 AM

Its actually a serious question, I happen to be checking my e-mail and there was an ad to talk to a talent scout at Lockheed Martin for Software Engineers. I clicked on it hoping to get a clue as to what they were looking for and all I got was 'Bleeding Edge Programming Languages'.
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#5 Choscura  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 12:46 AM

*
POPULAR

There is no best language. It's like asking what tool you use to build a house. The answer is "all of them".
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#6 Raynes  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 12:54 AM

You're being silly now, Choscura. All you need is a hammer and some nails, and a lot of wood that is pre-cut to exact specifications.
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#7 dorknexus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 03:01 AM

I write everything in HTML. It's ultra elite.
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#8 biggerB  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 04:24 AM

View PostRaynes, on 07 July 2010 - 11:54 PM, said:

You're being silly now, Choscura. All you need is a hammer and some nails, and a lot of wood that is pre-cut to exact specifications.

Now suppose The Hammer is C# and the nails are VB.net and a lot of wood is The User Interface...
Thats what Choscura is trying to say..
You can be programming completely in C# but you will still nedd some help from others... I usually program in C# and sometimes i have to get help from Java ( Even though my signature says 'Java Hater')
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#9 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 05:46 AM

This doesn't belong in the lounge. Will move this to the Corner Cubicle. You may get better feedback there.
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#10 Oler1s  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 08:20 AM

There's a book called Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. It's available freely online, but there's plenty of Amazon reviews. What's amusing about those reviews is that they either love it or hate it. Reviews are basically either 5 stars or 1 stars. Peter Norvig made a review of that book, and what he said is also relevant to this thread:

Peter Norvig on Amazon review of SICP said:

I think its fascinating that there is such a split between those who love and hate this book. Most reviews give a bell-shaped curve of star ratings; this one has a peak at 1, a peak at 5, and very little in between. How could this be? I think it is because SICP is a very personal message that works only if the reader is a computer scientist (or willing to become one). So I agree that the book's odds of success are better if you read it after having some experience.
To use an analogy, if SICP were about automobiles, it would be for the person who wants to know how cars work, how they are built, and how one might design fuel-efficient, safe, reliable vehicles for the 21st century. The people who hate SICP are the ones who just want to know how to drive their car on the highway, just like everyone else.

Those who hate SICP think it doesn't deliver enough tips and tricks for the amount of time it takes to read. But if you're like me, you're not looking for one more trick, rather you're looking for a way of synthesizing what you already know, and building a rich framework onto which you can add new learning over a career. That's what SICP has done for me. I read a draft version of the book around 1982 and it changed the way I think about my profession. If you're a thoughtful computer scientist (or want to be one), it will change your life too.

Some of the reviewers complain that SICP doesn't teach the basics of OO design, and so on. In a sense they are right. The book doesn't directly tell you how to design and write an object-oriented program using the subset of object-oriented principles that show up in the syntax of Java or C++. Rather, the book tells you what those principles are, how they came to be selected as worthwhile, how they can be implemented from the ground up, and how a different combination of principles might be more appropriate for a particular problem. This approach requires you to understand the range of possibilities, and to think about trade-offs as you go through the design process. Programming is a craft that is subject to frequent failure: many projects are started and abandoned because the designers do not have the flexibility, experience and understanding to come up with a suitable design and implementation. SICP gives you an approach that will succeed, but it is an approach based on principles and wisdom, not on a checklist. If you don't understand the principles, or if you are the kind of person who wants to be given a cookbook of what to do rather than to think creatively, or if you only want to work on problems that are pretty much like the problem you worked on last time, then this approach will not work for you. There are other approaches that will be more reproducible for a limited range of simple problems, but there is no better way than SICP to learn how to address the truly hard problems.

Donald Knuth says he wrote his books for "the one person in 50 who has this strange way of thinking that makes a programmer". I think the most amazing thing about SICP is that there are so FEW people who hate it: if Knuth were right, then only 1 out of 50 people would be giving this 5 stars, instead of about 25 out of 50. Now, a big part of the explanation is that the audience is self-selected, and is not a representative sample. But I think part of it is because Sussman and Abelson have succeeded grandly in communicating "this strange way of thinking" to (some but not all) people who otherwise would never get there.


So there's a critical message embedded there. There's a duality between those looking for tools, and those looking for principles. As much as people might claim that they enjoy both, there's really a difference. Some just want to know the next best tool, learn the next best tricks, and get to work. But there are others who truly delight in the abstract problems and thought process. The art of thinking and solving such problems itself is fascinating.

So when a talent scout looks for programmers, but doesn't specify languages, it's a good sign that what is important is that enjoyment of problem solving and programming principles. The precise tricks in one's repertoire aren't that relevant. They aren't looking for a cook. They are looking for a chef.

Which is why your question of "best programming language" means that you might not be a match. You are asking about the next language. That's tool based. What the talent scout is looking for is people who simple explored, coming into contact with different ideas. Programming languages are ways of expressing logic and design, and bleeding edge languages probably are trying to do something different! So someone who explores such languages is trying to find out about how others are thinking about expressing their ideas in code. Not the practicals of the day to day job.

Does any of what I said help?
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#11 PsychoCoder  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 08:23 AM

Succinctly put, there is no best language. All languages have their pros and cons and their proper places. It boils down to what you're trying to accomplish and what you feel comfortable with.
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#12 Dogstopper  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 08:33 AM

I agree with Psycho. There IS no best language. Some are better tools than others however. For learning programming, I normally suggest Python and Java as Java is commonly taught in schools and Python is easy. However, since you said you had background in C#, you ought to pursue that (though I have not had much experience with it myself). I prefer Java for various reasons that don't belong here.

However, those are just starter languages. If you want power in Software and games, C/C++, Java, and .NET are all powerful contenders. If you want a light language that allows for algorithmic development, I suggest Python or Ruby. For web-based programming, you can look into PHP or ASP! If you want a different paradigm that is truly the way of the future (in my opinion), I suggest a functional/LISP-based language like Clojure, Haskell, Scala, Erlang, and more.

Like I said, there is no best, but there is a best for the type of development that you are doing.
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#13 Choscura  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 08:41 AM

Nearly every kind of major production tool ever devised has to be used at some point in a house's construction (think about it: plumbing, electricity, phone lines, cable/internet lines, insulation, ventilation, physical structure, and weatherproofing all have to happen), and for a big program nearly every programming language can be used at some point to do something as efficiently as possible- eg, using perl's regex to modify text files before feeding them into a C program that does the graphics and loads functions for a C# program that provides a user interface and deals with input.
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#14 Frinavale  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 08:55 AM

View PostPsychoCoder, on 08 July 2010 - 02:23 PM, said:

Succinctly put, there is no best language.


I completely agree with this statement.

The language/technology that you chose should be based on the system requirements that you need to meet.

You are probably not going to chose to use the (massive) .NET Framework that C# requires if you are developing firmware for a chip. You're going to want to use a low level language like C (maybe C++) or even lower like assembler.

Just like, you are probably not going to chose to use to C or assembler for developing an enterprise application! It would be absurd!

Even trying to decide between which higher level language to use depends on your system requirements. If you need your system to be multi-platform (can work on Linux, Unix, Windows, etc) then you probably going to stay away from .NET since it is proprietary and is only available in Windows....instead you may choose Java or even C++! But if you are interested in developing Windows applications (which businesses are usually looking for) then the .NET Framework (including C#, VB.NET, IronPyton etc etc) is an awesome choice!

Everything depends on the system requirements for the system you are developing...and some systems require that many different technologies/software components/programming languages be used in the final product.

I think that a good to ask yourself would be "What types of systems do you want to develop?" and then look into what technologies are used to implement such systems...then start researching the languages that are used for implementing systems based on the technologies that are required for the systems that you are interested in developing!

-Frinny

This post has been edited by Frinavale: 08 July 2010 - 09:24 AM

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#15 dorknexus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Best Programming Language

Posted 08 July 2010 - 09:08 AM

On top of that I think it's also going to come down to preference. Once you've really looked at what your requirements are and narrowed it down, you're probably going to be looking at 2 or 3 languages that are fairly similar. At that point you'll most likely want to go with the one that you're most familiar with and which you find the most intuitive to work with.

There's little sense in using a language if you don't fully grasp its idioms and paradigm.

This post has been edited by Dark_Nexus: 08 July 2010 - 09:08 AM

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