Advice to a Junior in High School?

Jacek Generowicz jacek.generowicz at
Tue Aug 26 09:40:20 CEST 2003

Howard, I fully agree with the suggestion that you should learn as
broad a range of languages as possible. Awareness and appreciation of
other styles of programming can make you a better programmer, even in
languages which do not provide direct support for the styles you
learned in other languages, and whose communities are not familiar the
lessons learned in other communities.

It seems to be extremely popular in the field of Information
Technology (and by association, in the field of Computer Science), to
avoid learning the lessons learned by others in the past, an re-invent
the wheel repeatedly, usually making many mistakes on the way.

Try to study the evolution of different families of languages, and try
to observe what lessons were learned in the family's history. That
way, you are less likely to be blinded by the hype that accompanies
the latest fad language that comes along, but will be able to assess
its worth.

Remember that popularity and quality are very weakly correlated.

I don't wish to suggest that populatrity is not important, but it's
not all there is.

The popularity of a given idea waxes and wanes; its inherent quality
remains constant.

"Sean Ross" <sross at> writes:

> (Lisp, Dylan, Haskell, ocaml, or some other functional programming
> language).

As an added bonus, studying many langugas reduces the chances of you
misclassifying them, as has been done above :-)

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