Pro programmer

H. S. Teoh hsteoh at
Tue Aug 27 16:32:08 UTC 2019

On Tue, Aug 27, 2019 at 04:01:03PM +0000, GreatSam4sure via Digitalmars-d-learn wrote:
> On Tuesday, 27 August 2019 at 14:51:07 UTC, Ron Tarrant wrote:
> > On Sunday, 25 August 2019 at 21:30:10 UTC, GreatSam4sure wrote:
> > > If I want to be a pro programmer what language must I start with?
> > 
> > If it's deep understanding you want, start with assembly language.
> > Knowing how things are done down at that level—before all the layers
> > of abstraction are added—will give you an edge over 99% of current
> > coders.

To quote Knuth:

	People who are more than casually interested in computers should
	have at least some idea of what the underlying hardware is like.
	Otherwise the programs they write will be pretty weird. -- D.

Learning assembly language will give you an intrinsic understanding of
what actually happens at the machine level, which will guide your
high-level designs later.

But caveat emptor: you don't want to get stuck in the "rut" of thinking
in assembly language, because it can lead to missing the forest for the
trees sometimes.  So to balance that, you want to learn also a very
high-level language that makes you think on a whole different level: I
recommend Haskell or Lisp after you learn assembly language.  They are
very different from "mainstream" imperative languages, but they really
strip away all the frills and lay bare the essentials of algorithms and
computation.  Even if you end up working mainly with an imperative
language later, the experience of learning a functional language like
Haskell or Lisp will help you think about algorithms in a much clearer
and deeper way. You'll be able to identify patterns where others lose
their way in details, and your code will be much better structured and

> > It's the same with basic computer use. Wanna be a true expert user?
> > Get any version of Linux or one of the BSDs and restrict yourself to
> > using just the terminal for about a month.

Only a month? :-D  I've been doing exactly this for the last 20 years,
and now I don't even dream of using a GUI anymore.  The Unix command
line is far more powerful and expressive, and I can get so much more
done without wasting time switching my hand between the rodent and the
keyboard.  It forces me to learn command-line utilities that don't
require ridiculous amounts of RAM and 40 seconds just to start up, and
that has accelerated my productivity by orders of magnitude.  On top of
that, command-line programs are scriptable, meaning once I know how to
use it, I don't ever have to use it again because I'd write a script to
do it for me.  No more aneurysm-inducing clicking through endless nested
menus and carpal tunnel syndrome; it's automation FTW!  Kill the rodent,
and long live the keyboard! :-P


Public parking: euphemism for paid parking. -- Flora

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