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Discussion on: What to learn first

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isaacdlyman profile image
Isaac Lyman Author

True! Not a lot of people gunning for that ALGOL role any more. But I've heard you can make big money if you're the person that gets hired.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

Fun fact: on my running list of things to learn is my "Mothertongue" project - a goal to gain basic proficiency in twelve of the foundational languages from whence we get nearly all modern programming: Ada, ALGOL, ASM, BASIC, C, COBOL, FORTRAN, Lisp, Pascal, Prolog, Smalltalk, and TeX.

(Presently debating whether to include SNOBOL in that mix...)

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isaacdlyman profile image
Isaac Lyman Author

Did a bit of Googling, shocked to learn that some of those languages are still actively maintained and coming out with new versions.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

Rather amazing, isn't it? This is why I've said languages rarely die...

P.S. Here's something of a family tree of programming languages if you're interested.

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gypsydave5 profile image
David Wickes

Ada, ALGOL, ASM, BASIC, C, COBOL, FORTRAN, Lisp, Pascal, Prolog, Smalltalk, and TeX.

Fun idea - mind if I chip in?

Skip COBOL. Skip TeX too (even typesetting by Knuth is still typesetting). Add in APL - now there's an artisinal language. Should add a stack based language too - Forth or Factor.

And start with Lisp - Common Lisp. Get that under your belt and you may be hooked for life, then Scheme.

Common Lisp is having something of a renaissance at the moment - no better time to try it.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

After I posted, I was doing more research, and already decided to add APL and Forth (the predecessor to Factor, IIRC), as well as SNOBOL. So, I'm now up to 15 languages on that list. :)

However, I have no intention of skipping COBOL, simply because being able to read COBOL source can be incredibly useful in maintaining or upgrading legacy systems.

As to TeX, I know it's for typesetting, and not coding...but I also happen to be a typesetter as well. ;)

At any rate, I'll make sure Lisp is high on the priorities!