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Hmm, not sure I can match Herveus' list of 28 languages .. I graduated high school in '75 so you'd think I'd learned a few along the way ..

  1. BASIC
  2. Some exposure to APL, my Dad's favourite language
  3. COBOL at university. Y2K was still over 20 years away. Who knew?
  4. Assembler in various flavours (bit-slice, 6809, 68000). Fun, fun stuff. And fast.
  5. C -- still have the K&R I bought in November 1981. Almost like writing in assembler.
  6. DOS batch files -- ugh, clumsy.
  7. Pascal -- ugh, I hate over-typed languages. And feeble pointer support, too.
  8. REXX -- ugh, almost incomprehensible.
  9. awk -- pretty handy little tool.
  10. Perl -- wow. Wow.
  11. SQL -- various flavours.
  12. bash scripting -- way better than REXX or DOS batch files, still not my favourite way to get things done.
  13. Ruby -- only very recent experiments.
So only 13 languages on my list. That works out to be about two per year.

Actually, my test of whether or not you know a language is whether you can teach someone else the language. I did that with C, and consider myself a (past) master of that language. I'm still learning Perl .. there are dark OO corners that I really just don't get, and I still haven't mastered regular expressions. I get AUTOLOAD now, and I even get MethodMaker (cool craziness). Nothing on CPAN yet.

What I take away from the Pragmatic Programmer is that you've always got to be learning, explanding your mind. If you let yourself get stale, then you're not exercising your brain. One way to keep the brain active is to learn a new launguage. One a year is impossible -- I don't have time for that, but I do have time to try new SysAdmin things on my Linux box, try a few things with Ruby, follow up on some of the programming ideas that have been percolating for a while.

Conclusion? If you're in shape, you can reel off the latest technical book you've read, or the cool feature you've found and used recently. If you're not in shape, you just go in to work, stumble through your eight hours and wish for the weekend. Your choice.

Alex / talexb / Toronto

"Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

Update: Good grief, I forgot FORTRAN, my highest mark at university (yay). That would show up as 2a.


In reply to Re: (OT) "Learn one new language every year"? Yeah, right. by talexb
in thread (OT) "Learn one new language every year"? Yeah, right. by FoxtrotUniform

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