Monday, May 2, 2011

Learning Language Categories

In this blog post I will advocate to learn new language categories instead of new languages.

Every once in a while you find a post on a forum addressing the question which new language should one learn. Notable examples can be found by googling. Here is a sample:

In my opinion, growing as a developer is not about specific languages. If this was the case then why does nobody suggest C# if one knows Java or vice versa? Seldom is such an advice given. But if it is all about learning languages then this advice should surface as often as any other advice.

I think that language categories are more important then languages. One reason to learn a new language is to broaden your horizon. By seeing new solution to old problems your problem solving toolbox grows. Even if it is not possible to apply the language directly it often is possible to adopt the idea. By going beyond a language category barrier, the novelty and creativity with which problems can be solved grow enormously.

So the next time the question "Which language should I learn next" is asked, go ahead and advice to learn a new language category.

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