MadSci Network: Computer Science

Re: how important is programming to me??

Date: Mon Nov 12 13:26:43 2001
Posted By: Mike Westerfield, Staff, Computer Science, Byte Works, Inc.
Area of science: Computer Science
ID: 1005301988.Cs

I think your fears are completely justified, but for the wrong reasons.

While I donít regret learning and using the skills I used ten to fifteen 
years ago to program, they are not the skills I use today. In the mid 80ís 
most of my programming was in assembly language or Pascal. Frankly, I 
Pascal. There are a lot of things about that language that are sorely 
missing in C++, but Pascal is not an adequate language for the kinds of 
programming we do today.

Ten to fifteen years from now, the tools and languages we are using now 
will, I hope, be a fading memory invoking a little nostalgia. I also expect 
weíll issue a collective sigh of relief that we still donít have to do some 
of the truly hideous things todayís tools require. In short, I sincerely 
hope that your particular skills in C++ will be virtually worthless by then 
for real-world programming.

Does that mean you should stop programming? Heck no. Learn C++ to 
the best 
of your ability. Write code until your fingers get callused. But stay on 
the lookout for emerging technologies, like Java, that will certainly earn 
a place in the skill set of a good programmer, and for the technologies we 
canít name yet that will eventually replace C++.

While youíre doing that, keep in mind that fifteen years ago C++ was a tiny 
blip on the screen for most programmers. It was not very popular yet, and 
there was no clear indication it would win out over many of the other 
promising technologies of the day.

As for your fear that a kid will someday write the same programs you 
struggle with today, again, I think youíre right. I hope you are. Todayís 
kids have tools that allow them to write programs that required skilled and 
gifted programmers just a few years ago. The doesnít mean there is less 
need for skilled and gifted programmers today, just that they are writing 
even more complex programs!

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