Top Six Programming Languages NOT To Learn

Posted by: Rea Maor In: Programming - Friday, May 11th, 2007

Oh, of course, if it’s your job to work at these, more power to you. But if you’re just joining the ranks of those who spend hours per day explaining in pains-taking detail how to get these idiot machines to do what we want them to do, these languages have some reasons *not* to adopt them as your pet language…

1. Java Java has many strengths, but they are offset by having to code hundreds of lines of pure object code to do every simple thing. Java is based on the idea that object-oriented code is an absolute must, for every single situation, and so everything you write in it will sound like a Congressional legal brief. It is also designed for cubicle-dwellers in code-grinding factories – you can get a job in Java, but only a job as Drone #349012-C. The Borg are programmed in Java, there’s no doubting it.

2. COBOL This language died 30 years ago, and yet the mainframe machines it ran on are so expensive to replace that companies still try to keep them going. The result: a small, aging minority of COBOL coders keep around to patch the old systems. Unless your ambition in life is to gather dust as a museum exhibit in a town nobody visits, stay away from COBOL.

3. BASIC BASIC was fun when we were kids. So was playing with action figures, Tonka trucks, and dollhouses. But after a while, it’s time to move on, and explore languages that aren’t made out of die-cast metal and colorful polystyrene. BASIC has been extended and added on to until the original structure is lost in the maze of bolted-on scaffolding. It’s just as wimpy as it always was, but less fun now that people try to make it do serious work.

4. Shell Scripting Shell scripting languages like DOS, Bash, and zsh are all as handy as a roll of duct tape. The downside is, nobody hires an engineer who builds everything out of duct tape. Shell scripting is a given for most administrative tasks, but if you find yourself reaching for it to solve every problem, your career just fell apart.

5. Perl Sure, Perl is powerful. It can do anything. What can you expect out of a language built by combining every other current language into one big mess? If you combined a Sherman tank, steam shovel, building crane, skateboard, quad, Volkswagon Jetta, Mac truck, and a Hummer into one vehicle, you’d have Perl: able to go everywhere and do everything, but too big to fit into most spaces (including your head), sucking power, and too complicated for any mortal to drive.

6. PHP It’s kind of pointless to say it, because it looks like you’ll have to learn PHP if you want to come within ten feet of a web server for the next five years. But even at that, PHP is to be used like a toilet plunger: when you absolutely have to. Like a toilet plunger, it gets ugly and smelly after repeated use and isn’t the kind of thing you should take to bed and cuddle. And PHP is the number-one language for coding something which you’ll be terrified to run for the first time, because for all you know, a mistake will cause a rift in the space-time continuum.


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5 Responses to “Top Six Programming Languages NOT To Learn”

  1. Top Six Programming Languages NOT To Learn | The GenetiBlog Says:

    […] read more | digg story […]

  2. the other Old Guy Says:

    I don’t know how useful this was –but it was funny!

    Over the years, I watched languages being introduced as the last hope for the survival of Civilization as we know it. Each time I thanked the Unseen Forces because somehow my bosses managed to avoid falling into the tarpit with the giant sloths and Dilbert’s manager. I don’t know how they withstood the lure of hot air & buzz words when it came to languages–because they were never able to resist a sales pitch for hardware or application software. I guess I was saved by the fact that they hated to invest in training their employees–when they could throw money at strangers.

  3. Rea Maor Says:

    You’re very luck, I didn’t had so much luck as my bosses used to like the bleeding edge of technology and always forced me to trial and error with languages…

  4. carlosjhr64 Says:

    Got to disagree on the “not to learn” shell script.
    You are not going to write complex code with it.
    But, for example, bash’s ability to easily script out program sequences and
    assemble pipes of connected programs makes it a powerful tool.
    Think of using Ruby, Bash, and C/C++.
    Now, if you are not using one of the better OS,
    pipes might might not be available,
    but then why are you not using one of the better OS?

  5. HarleyPig Says:

    You should learn COBOL but don’t advertise that you know it. When the last of the “old guys” retire–one way or the other–banks and such will be desperate and possibly converting their code. Lots of money there.

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