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Re: PERL Friendly Colleges

by kirbyk (Friar)
on Jan 05, 2006 at 21:02 UTC ( #521342=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to PERL Friendly Colleges

Oregon State has the Open Source Labs. While when I was there, C and C++ were the default languages for classes, there'd certainly be above average opportunities to explore Perl and get involved in the whole open source community. Looking at the current course catalog, it hasn't changed signficantly in the last decade.

-- Kirby,
Oregon State CS Alumni, class of 1996

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Re^2: PERL Friendly Colleges
by ddebrito (Sexton) on Jan 06, 2006 at 14:27 UTC
    I know a prof at Oregon State. He's teaching Java to undergraduates. I ask him if the students learn anything about hash data structures in his Java class. No is the answer. What type of education is this? What type of useful programs would you expect from a student that doesn't even have experience in using hashes? "Oh, I really like the way you search your arrays..."
      They don't learn about hashes in his class...maybe he's teaching an introductory course? A number of colleges have gone the OO route for their intro classes. This includes my school, and a number of other nearby schools from what I've heard from friends. OO by itself is a load to learn, adding more complex data structures at the same time would probably be overloading a single course.

      As for learning Perl in school, my college never taught Perl. I got a good grounding in Java and C. I took an optional Theory of Languages class, where we learned a little bit about Prolog, Scheme, Python, and Pizza (an enhanced Java). But even this specialized class only mentioned Perl once. The Professor said he didn't like it as much as Python, and that was that :P.

      All that said, I'm really glad that I did not learn Perl formally. Learning the basics of coding and using Perl as your first language could make learning to code in a much more rigid language really painful. Learn pointers in C, and Perl references become a piece of cake. I think it's a lot more difficult to go from references to pointers though. All my past experience has taught me how much easier Perl is for most tasks than many other languages. It has also given me the wisdom to know when not to use Perl, and the ability to pull out Java, C, or any other language when appropriate.

      Also, based on how my college approached teaching Java, I don't think I'd enjoy a Perl class. They'd probably pick some silly Perl textbook, and have the teachers rigidly follow its structure. The teachers probably would have very little practical experience in Perl, but even if they did, they would have to follow the curriculum or the students in their section would be at a disadvantage for the standard multiple-choice quizzes given to all sections. They likely would not teach about the Perl community, or CPAN. All in all, the language I learned probably would have been very different from the language I stumbled upon while self-teaching myself CGI.

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