Software Development with Linux

Learning a new programming language

TUE, 01 MAR 2011

What are you looking at when learning a new programming language?  The syntax?  How to translate from your current preferred programming language to the new one?  This is not the best way to go.  While this can help you wrote programs in the new language quickly, you programs will be crap.  This is because your are doing "Google Translate"-style translation instead of expressing correctly your thoughts in the new language.

The correct way to really learn a new programming language (actually, even natural language too) is to also learn how its construction are correctly used.  You need to learn how to think in that language instead of translating to it.  True, that is harder.  But if you keep translating, you will miss must of the good things and advantages of that language.

If programming language were simply different by the keywords used, why would we need more than one anyway?  The interesting part of programming languages are not the keywords, but what you can express an how.  This is the true power of the programming languages and what really differentiate each one of them.  That is how you should approach any new programming languages.

Also, learning how things are best done in a particular programming language will help you discover new ways of doing thing, which you can than (adapt and) apply in any programming languages.  Re-using something you have learned in one environment into a different one is a great learning experience.  You can improve yourself a lot doing that.  Once you get used to it, you will be able to learn from a lot more situations/topics/events and know how to apply that knowledge to any of your day-to-day tasks.

But that's only possible if you learn something new, right?