Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

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51 Replies - 4102 Views - Last Post: 27 June 2013 - 12:13 PM

#16 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 10 May 2013 - 12:18 PM

Learn the language that gets you the job you want.
Look at job postings. Find what you would want to do, then learn the skills for that.
Learning some arbitrary set of skills, then looking for work and hoping you find something that matches is just bass-ackwards.
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#17 farrell2k  Icon User is offline

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 10 May 2013 - 02:53 PM

Javascript/HTML5
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#18 Loneski  Icon User is offline

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 10 May 2013 - 04:54 PM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 10 May 2013 - 02:18 PM, said:

Learn the language that gets you the job you want.
Look at job postings. Find what you would want to do, then learn the skills for that.
Learning some arbitrary set of skills, then looking for work and hoping you find something that matches is just bass-ackwards.


Completely agree with this statement. Learn something and mastery it, take a look at jobs that you wouldn't normally apply for, something you might feel that is out of your reach, and learn the skills (i.e. language) associated with it. Frankly master the language to point where you dream about it.
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#19 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 11 May 2013 - 07:36 AM

I think Clojure or Go are both nice. +1 to Scala as well. Go probably isn't going to be a huge paradigm shift, so if you're looking for something entirely new, it's not going to be there.

I would claim (without evidence) that Scala is the language gaining the most traction of those three, mostly because it is often perceived as "a better Java," regardless of how accurate that statement is. They definitely have some interesting ideas.

If I had to guess, I would probably say that Clojure isn't going to become "the next big thing." It's nice, people are building cool things in it, but it's probably not going to get you rich any faster than any other language.
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#20 JackOfAllTrades  Icon User is offline

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 11 May 2013 - 08:03 AM

View PostBenignDesign, on 10 May 2013 - 01:28 PM, said:

You need glasses. Thick, black rimmed glasses. And a moleskin notebook. And maybe a beret.


And when you drink beer, you must drink Dos Equis Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Seriously, PHP sucks. Yeah, that's the code hipster view. But the fact remains the vast majority of dynamic websites use PHP on the back end. If you haven't already -- and I know you've been a Rails guy in the past (when it was hip) -- learn some of the frameworks, like CodeIgniter, Laravel, Cake.

Server-side Javascript is also picking up momentum. Learn node.js, Angular.js, Backbone.js, Knockout.

You'll have no problem finding web development jobs with those technologies.

Of note, the two languages I get the most hits on from recruiters via LinkedIn are Python and C#, especially ASP.NET. Take that for what it's worth.
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#21 Sergio Tapia  Icon User is offline

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 11 May 2013 - 08:11 AM

View PostJackOfAllTrades, on 11 May 2013 - 11:03 AM, said:

Seriously, PHP sucks. Yeah, that's the code hipster view. But the fact remains the vast majority of dynamic websites use PHP on the back end. If you haven't already -- and I know you've been a Rails guy in the past (when it was hip) -- learn some of the frameworks, like CodeIgniter, Laravel, Cake.


Where I work they just used plain old .php files in a completely unorganized fashion. Adding new features to one of the many random 'modules' of the behemoth is a nightmare. Job security for the senior dev I suppose.

When I was tasked with starting out a new PHP project from scratch I researched CodeIgniter, Laravel, Kohana and CakePHP; in the end I chose CakePHP because it had a nice Rails feel to it and let me get to work faster than the others.

Still, it's PHP. I don't want my wrists to hurt from typing $this->set('someViewVariable', $studentsEnrolled);. ;)

I was hounding the internet for something new to satisfy my inner hipster and found Meteor. I think I'm going to be focusing on this for the coming weeks seeing where it takes me. I like Javascript a lot because it's very simple and I like the object literal notation.

http://meteor.com/

What do you guys think?
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#22 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 11 May 2013 - 08:22 AM

I'm not much of a hipster in any sense, but my experience with PHP says the only reason it's so popular is because it had a head start. There's nothing especially good about the language, and a lot of things especially bad about it, but for a long time it was the only game in town, so if you did anything on the web you did PHP.
And this meant, among other things, that people who were good programmers tended to avoid working on web stuff, because it meant PHP. I expect that PHP will be the COBOL of the web in a few years - anyone reading this now will be able to find work for the rest of their life in PHP, because there's just so much of it out there, but nobody's going to be using it for anything new.

That's speculation, of course, but it's what I'm seeing in my crystal ball.
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#23 shezzy  Icon User is offline

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 11 May 2013 - 09:41 AM

I feel like the only reason to learn a new language is to serve or fix a problem that your current language can't, or of course if your looking to get a job with a specific language. Unless it REALLY increases your efficiency , why learn a new language unless it serves a different purpose? I use codeigniter currently but am starting to learn laravel due to its built in REST setup and its ORM database use which codeigniter does not have. I am also starting to learn angular.js as eventually I want to make hybrid phone apps and REST+angular.js will be invaluable. I am only a hobby developer (atm) and work full-time in logistics so maybe my 2-cents isn't as valuable.
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#24 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 11 May 2013 - 01:36 PM

http://www.infoq.com...discover-meteor
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#25 andrewsw  Icon User is online

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 11 May 2013 - 01:50 PM

View Postshezzy, on 11 May 2013 - 04:41 PM, said:

I feel like the only reason to learn a new language is to serve or fix a problem that your current language can't, or of course if your looking to get a job with a specific language.

I find this a little disappointing :(. I appreciate that time may be a limiting factor but I would encourage people to study other languages, and suspect that most would have the interest to do this anyway.

Someone (can't remember who?) suggested learning a new language every year.

The Pragmatic Programmer, David Thomas and Andrew Hunt

http://blog.teamtree...uage-every-year

This post has been edited by andrewsw: 11 May 2013 - 01:52 PM

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#26 kazisami  Icon User is offline

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 11 May 2013 - 02:03 PM

Try out Haskell, good for itching.
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#27 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 11 May 2013 - 02:30 PM

"I only want to learn it if I have to..." Damn, people. It's the joy of programming! Sometimes, after nothing but pie, you want cake. Does it have to be more than that?

Right:

Quote

You should learn a programming language every year, as recommended by The Pragmatic Programmer. But if one per year is good, how about Seven Languages in Seven Weeks? In this book you'll get a hands-on tour of Clojure, Haskell, Io, Prolog, Scala, Erlang, and Ruby. Whether or not your favorite language is on that list, you'll broaden your perspective of programming by examining these languages side-by-side. You'll learn something new from each, and best of all, you'll learn how to learn a language quickly.

- Seven Languages in Seven Weeks
- A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages
- By Bruce A. Tate
- http://shop.oreilly....781934356593.do


Honestly, I can't even remember all the computer languages I've learned over the years. I did a website in Tcl once, don't even ask me what the language looks like. Lua, same. All those Perl scripts, so long ago...

Learn a language for job prospects, sure. Learn a language just to learn something new; why the hell not?!? Every language you learn teaches you something. Even if you never directly monetize that language, familiarity doesn't hurt. Though you can often apply newly learned concepts to stuff you do get paid for.

There have been a number times when my dabbling has given me a serious head start on a new project. "Do you know X? We've never used X before, but..."

Edit: andrewsw beat me while I was typing. +1
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#28 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 11 May 2013 - 02:40 PM

View Postandrewsw, on 11 May 2013 - 03:50 PM, said:

Someone (can't remember who?) suggested learning a new language every year.

The Pragmatic Programmer, David Thomas and Andrew Hunt

http://blog.teamtree...uage-every-year



According to Bob Wilson at UMass Boston, this advice was current in his circles thirty years ago.
Good advice, though, no matter who it came from.

Quote

"I only want to learn it if I have to..." Damn, people. It's the joy of programming! Sometimes, after nothing but pie, you want cake. Does it have to be more than that?


Hear, hear.
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#29 andrewsw  Icon User is online

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 11 May 2013 - 02:47 PM

:offtopic: Completely off topic, but Jon reminded me of one of my favourite computing quotes:

Charles Babbage:

Quote

On two occasions I have been asked, 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

This post has been edited by andrewsw: 11 May 2013 - 02:47 PM

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#30 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Itching to learn a new language. Which one would be a good investment?

Posted 11 May 2013 - 03:27 PM

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@andrewsw Bob's not a spring chicken, but he's not that old! :)

Babbage is an interesting cautionary tale in this context, though. The man was unquestionably a genius, but he never actually accomplished anything in his life - his machines were not built, he did not calculate his tables, and all of his life he continually abandoned one project for the next. Partly, and I think in large part, this was because of an uncontrolled love of learning and trying new things.

There is a passage quoted in the front matter to the Passages, which comes from Lord Moulton. It is a long quote, but it's too well-made to paraphrase, so here it is in full:

Quote

"One of the sad memories of my life is a visit to the celebrated mathematician and inventor, Mr Babbage. He was far advanced in age, but his mind was still as vigorous as ever. He took me through his work-rooms. In the first room I saw parts of the original Calculating Machine, which had been shown in an incomplete state many years before and had even been put to some use. I asked him about its present form. 'I have not finished it because in working at it I came on the idea of my Analytical Machine, which would do all that it was capable of doing and much more. Indeed, the idea was so much simpler that it would have taken more work to complete the Calculating Machine than to design and construct the other in its entirety, so I turned my attention to the Analytical Machine.'"

"After a few minutes' talk, we went into the next work-room, where he showed and explained to me the working of the elements of the Analytical Machine. I asked if I could see it. 'I have never completed it,' he said, 'because I hit upon an idea of doing the same thing by a different and far more effective method, and this rendered it useless to proceed on the old lines.' Then we went into the third room. There lay scattered bits of mechanism, but I saw no trace of any working machine. Very cautiously I approached the subject, and received the dreaded answer, 'It is not constructed yet, but I am working on it, and it will take less time to construct it altogether than it would have token to complete the Analytical Machine from the stage in which I left it.' I took leave of the old man with a heavy heart."

"When he died a few years later, not only had he constructed no machine, but the verdict of a jury of kind and sympathetic scientific men who were deputed to pronounce upon what he had left behind him, either in papers or in mechanism, was that everything was too incomplete of be capable of being put to any useful purpose."

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