a different question: can you earn a living with *just* python?

Ramon Diaz-Uriarte rdiaz02 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 26 22:50:20 CEST 2006

On 9/26/06, John Salerno <johnjsal at nospamgmail.com> wrote:
> It's a nice thought that a person can earn a living programming with
> Python, which is fun enough to use just for its own sake. But for
> someone like me (i.e. no programming experience) it's always a little
> disheartening to see that most (if not all) job descriptions that ask
> for Python still require some C/C++ or other language knowledge. I
> suppose this isn't an issue if you studied CS in college, because you
> would have been exposed to many languages.
> But what if you are an expert Python program and have zero clue about
> other languages? Can you still earn a living that way, or do most/all
> companies require multiple language proficiency?
> (I suppose this isn't exactly a Python problem, either. I'm sure even
> companies that don't use Python still use multiple languages. Maybe it
> isn't a good idea to focus entirely on a single language, depending on
> the job at hand.)

I am not really a programmer by training (though I spend most of my
working time programmer, doing stats and bioinformatics), but when I
look at a CV, I do not like to see just a single language, because
that means your perspective and views of programming can be very
narrow (I know a few bioinformaticians, who only know Perl, who think
that hash tables are "a Perl thing"). It could also mean that some
classic books in programming (such as Programming Pearls, or The
practice of programming) could sound completely foreingn. And I think
it is unlikely that Python will really solve _all_ of your programming
needs. (I mean, don't you ever find the solution is easier to obtain
with a one line awk or sed call than with Python? Or, if you do stats,
would you reprogram a whole glm in Python instead of just using R? Or
...) If I remember correctly, "The pragmatic programmers" book
recommended that a programmer learn a new program each year.

The piece "Teach yourself programming in ten years"
(http://www.norvig.com/21-days.html)  has some very interesting
comments, further references, and comments on other languages.



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Ramon Diaz-Uriarte
Bioinformatics Unit
Spanish National Cancer Centre (CNIO)

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