Experiences/guidance on teaching Python as a first programming language

Chris Angelico rosuav at gmail.com
Wed Dec 11 17:25:57 CET 2013


On Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 3:18 AM, Mark Lawrence <breamoreboy at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> On 11/12/2013 16:04, Chris Angelico wrote:
>>
>> I strongly believe that a career
>> programmer should learn as many languages and styles as possible, but
>> most of them can wait.
>
>
> I chuckle every time I read this one.  Five years per language, ten
> languages, that's 50 years I think.  Or do I rewrite my diary for next week,
> so I learn Smalltalk Monday morning, Ruby Monday afternoon, Julia Tuesday
> morning ...

Well, I went exploring the Wikipedia list of languages [1] one day,
and found I had at least broad familiarity with about one in five. I'd
like to get that up to one in four, if only because four's a power of
two.

More seriously: Once you've learned five of very different styles, it
won't take you five years to learn a sixth language. I picked up Pike
in about a weekend by realizing that it was "Python semantics meets C
syntax", and then went on to spend the next few years getting to know
its own idioms. I'd say anyone who knows a dozen languages should be
able to pick up any non-esoteric language in a weekend, at least to a
level of broad familiarity of being able to read and comprehend code
and make moderate changes to it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_programming_languages

ChrisA



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