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samantha Permalink
March 01, 2013, 00:21

Well, I am considered a quite good hacker. But I frankly consider having to learn a bunch of different languages to do my work with little or no commonality a waste of brainpower. There is a sweet spot between a tool/process in a pipeline on series of commands and another language. I don't think our profession will advance until there is one core language and everything else expressible in that. But maybe I got warped playing with a Symbolics machine in my formative years. :)

That you even have to dig out a cheat sheet for X may be a sign that X just isn't good enough and perhaps shouldn't live as a separate thing.

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Drew Marold Permalink
July 18, 2013, 13:56

Until that one grand unified thing comes along though you've got to work with what's out there. I'm a release engineer, so I have to know a wide variety of tools because you never know what you're going to encounter. I can write scripts in shell, sed, awk, perl, python, expect, dabble in C, and read & understand a couple more languages. That breadth of knowledge makes me very in demand. But I still keep cheat sheets & O'Reilly books on hand because I don't use them all every day, and sometimes it's hard to remember the exact specifics. It's kind of the opposite of the old saying "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." I have a well stocked toolbox that lets me solve problems with a tool that matches the problem space.

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