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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • by jdavidb (1361) on 2005.06.27 18:01 (#41445) Homepage Journal

    I wouldn't apply the word "academic" to any of those languages, except maybe Java, and there maybe in a negative sense. Clicking on your title, before I read your journal entry, I was thinking "LISP/Scheme." I guess I'm thinking "research language."

    I would rule out VB and COBOL utterly. If you get what you should get from your degree, you should be able to pick those languages or any other up on your own in the future, if and when necessary.

    I would tend to say the answer is Java. There's lots and lots of emphasis on it these days, and it teaches a lot of important concepts. (Personally, I enjoyed picking up most of those concepts from other languages, but Java's not as bad as its detractors want to say.)

    C++ is also a good option. It's much closer to the machine and there's a lot of interesting things to pick up from that interaction. C++ might be a given for you if you already know C and want to get through class with a minimum of effort.

    As I said, I think if you get what you should out of a course of study, you'll come out not thinking of yourself as knowing a list of languages, but of being able to learn any language your future employer throws at you. Given the language selection available, you might prefer to pick whatever class allows you to use a minimum of effort and then devote yourself to picking up another language using a different paradigm, like a LISP. Or to refining your Perl. (You might browse Eric Raymond's "How to Become a Hacker" essay for suggestions.

    I think learning C++ or Java will prepare you more to deal with VB or COBOL than learning VB or COBOL with prepare you to deal with C++ or Java. And even though there's still an enormous amount of COBOL code running in the world, you may go your whole life without seeing it, so I wouldn't work on learning the language other than as a personal interest unless you have a job offer from someone who uses it.

    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers