convince me

Will Ware wware at alum.mit.edu
Tue Aug 6 14:31:54 CEST 2002


Kyle Babich wrote:
> Well, I'm 15 years old looking to have a future in programming.  I've
> been playing around with the basics of a few different languages (C,
> C++, Perl, Python, and Java).  I know I want to learn C, but as far as
> perl and python I'm trying to decide which.

Learn them all. No kidding. Learning a language just isn't that hard.
Your ability to learn should not be viewed as a scarce resource to be
carefully controlled, just go ahead and learn everything.

Java and Perl are popular today. That might change when you're ready to
enter the workforce. You have time now, use it to stay flexible. Learn
underlying principles. Syntax is cheap, anybody can learn it.

Add more languages to your list: Common Lisp, Scheme, Haskell,
Smalltalk.
Play with exotic languages that nobody uses. Even Brainf*ck has
something
to teach you (http://www.muppetlabs.com/~breadbox/bf/) about fundamental
principles of computer science.

If your finances permit, pick up a single-board computer with a hex
keypad where you enter machine language instructions by hand. Make it
do some tricks.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2042778817



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