I don’t exactly remember the presenter who have been speaking about becoming a polyglot programmer. Let me first define what polyglot means. Poly-is a common work spoken in English, originally from Greek, means many and ‘glot’ means “having a tongue,” “speaking,writing, or written in a language” as defined in http://dictionary.reference.com. Hence, polyglot means speaking multiple languages. I am not going to talk about the human language that we use to communicate, but the computer language that human beings communicate with the computer to instruct what to do.
As I said, though I don’t remember the person who was presenting about polyglot and polypar programmers, I remember what the theme of the presentation was. He tells programmers to become polyglot, speak in different languages to the computer or in general programmable machine. There are different types of high level programming languages that are used in different programming paradigms. Each has its own advantage over the other. I have to be honest at this point that I am a great fan of C# programming language more than any other. I guess there will be a lot of debate if I start to tell why I like it so better not to start that discussion here. You can see this clearly on the blog url, ‘live to code dot net’. Actually I didn’t mean to make it sound like that, I was only planning to make it ‘livetocode.net’.
The whole point of this writing is that, I got a comment on my facebook page from a friend who works at Microsoft last weekend. Last weekend I was at the ice-addis,http://ice-ethiopia.org/, and I loved the event so much. I loved it because it was one of the moments that made me feel like I am learning to become a ‘polyglot’ programmer. I did a little bit of Java while I was in college and at work. I had a chance to work on a big Java based web project which was not functional. I never dreamed of using it to make something usable. Please don’t get mad at me, it’s just what I had in mind. It is not because I felt it’s inferior to C# but because I never seen a senior developer using it close to me.
A week before the event I got the CD which contains all the necessary tools for android development. I had been working on C# since the first release and I am also a certified professional from Microsoft with C# programming. I saw the videos and tried to apply my knowledge of C# on to the android and Java thing and it was a nice experience. I developed a simple application working on my friends android powered Htc desire phone, then I write ‘I love android’ on my facebook account. That’s the situation which made my friend to comment on it. I am sure he is not that mad at me though. I still try to learn new languages coming either from Microsoft, the late Sun …. lol , Google or any one. I want to know ruby, python (which I have seen a little bit), F# (which I look forward to do something secrete with it and write about it in the future), Axum and others.
This last weekend I thought of reviewing the e-books I had collected and I came across one that caught my attention. It is a book ‘Coders at work’ which has a collection of interviews with programmers of our time. Peter Seibel wrote it and I tried to see it in Ethiopian context.
First of all I loved it, I have to be honest. It is not too technical but also it’s some how geeky for those who want to know about the geeks. Most of the questions asked were about their life in relation to programming. The author is also, as presented in the book, a writer turned in to a programmer or programmer turned in to writer. Which ever the case is that is what I want to talk about. It is easy to find top programmers who have not taken programming lessons at school. Most of the programmers who were interviewed tell that same story.
They tell us they started programming in high school, they graduated from college in social fields and so on. If I have to say about myself first, I never took a single computer course when I was in high school. Luckily, I had a PC at home since I freshman, an older brother who showed me how to do simple programing. In addition to this, I took three programing courses in college. I remember that I wrote about Java programing in my second year college English essay, which was too odd for my classmates to write about programing.
I can say almost all programmers I know here in Ethiopia are mostly from computer science, electrical and computer engineering fields or information technology/system graduates. If there is anyone from another field please forgive me for this. Most of us get to it just by chance I can say. It starts from the way we choose our field of specialization in campus. It used to be a random placement which didn’t consider your interest but your grade. I am sure that I would have continued with my education if I were in Civil Engineering department and I would have been a resident engineer at some site or 🙂 …. I think i shouldn’t say more on this; while I was writing this, I heard that there is an exhibition of Construction and related technologies.
Getting back to my point, what I am trying to say is programing as a profession is picked here just by chance. The probability of finding someone from different field coming to programing as a profession is almost null. I can’t explain what I do for elderly exactly, I can only say I work with computers. I can’t tell them that I build a software because they feel that the software is a built in thing that costs nothing, so I make no money out of it.
It is clear that if you buy a pc here, you will find all the things installed on it; Windows, Office may be games and so on. No one feels that each of these would cost an X amount of money, which in turn means that there is some one behind it building it. It would have given for the kids an addition to their wish list of what the want to become when they grow up. It is open for discussion for those of you who are curious about the issue, have your say please.
I was trying to organize a developer event which was planned to be on the 30th of April 2011. Unfortunately things didn’t go well enough. I was so exited to see developers coming to talk about technology and the challenges, opportunities, treats…. while I was there waiting for the developers, it started raining. For a moment I was expecting it was the only reason and was still full of hope that they will arrive at least after the rain is over. But that was not the case, I should say thank you for those who are respectful and willing to come to the event with all the challenges they had.
We waited for more than two hours for people to arrive, of the 51 people confirmed their attendance on facebook, there were only 12 people including me. I even talked to people I know when I went to Cybersoft, the largest software developer company in Ethiopia. They said they are coming but none were around. I discussed the issue with the people there and got many responses from them. One said ‘It is Saturday afternoon and people would have lots of plan so lets change the day’; the other ‘People need something like snack at the event’.
What ever the case is I have to give it a try again. I am planning for another event after two weeks. I hope you will have your say on the issue. I wish we had one day a strong community of developers, specializing in different technologies. If you share my dream, say what you think should be done.
I have always been looking for this time to come. I always wanted to share what I read and hear from friends, the internet, books and so on. I started with an intranet blog that I used to write while I was at Cybersoft, my very first place of work and where I grow professionally, socially and mentally for four years. However, it didn’t last long, I changed my work place. I will do my best to post the best possible resources. if you have any thing to say please email me and if you want to follow updates follow me on twitter @billelove.