May 9, 2018
Not Loving That Programming Language? When To Move On And Find A New One.

An annual survey was just done by a developer-focused website that offered up a variety of insights to me, but one in particular caught my eye and showed there may be a distinctive gap at times between what programmers like to learn and use what they should want to use.

For example, of the most widely used languages in the programmer community, you see the usual suspects: JavaScript, HTML, SQL, Java, Python, C#, PHP and C++. However, these are not necessarily the languages that developers want to use. Survey the most loved languages based on this survey and you see a very different set of names at or near the top such as Rust, Kotlin, TypeScript, Go and Swift. In fact, of the top 10 listed, only three languages from the most used were the most loved: Python, JavaScript and C#.

One of the reasons languages like C# and Java have been so successful is because they feed off each other as the learning curve from one to another is relatively short. Similarly, migrating to Python or figuring out how to use Python for somebody who has been a C++ or a Java developer is a relatively easy task.

So why would a widely used language not be one of the more well-liked? Take C++, for example. While C++ is one of the most versatile languages, it's also one of the hardest languages to master.The learning curve with C++ is probably one of the longest.

If you find yourself experiencing this type of disconnect between what you’re using and what you love, what’s the best direction from here?

First, in many cases, we have to start with the environment you’re working in: If you’re working in eCommerce, that might be one universe. If you’re working in the medical field, that might be a different universe entirely. If you’re writing code for applications to run on phones, it might be a different one as well. So, different environments could certainly bring new opportunities to work within the language you desire to work with most.

However, we must offer this caveat: There is always a danger of falling in love with a language that never takes off, particularly a new one. Therefore, the best way to approach this dilemma might be to look at the projects you have in front of you.

Ask yourself two things:


1) Can I sell the organization on using a new language?

The challenge with using a more uncommon language is that if you're the only one who knows that language and writes the code for it but then you ultimately leave, what happens?


2)   What’s the learning curve on the new language?

Let’s say you have a project takes off and you can't do all of the work on your own, so you need to add people. That sounds great until you suddenly realize how few people in the company have experience in the uncommon language you’ve been using.


Finding The Fit: The Best Language For Your Next Project

When you have a better sense of a language’s learning curve and the type of project that it’s best for, it may prevent a great deal of the frustration that developers experience. A language might have a relatively short learning curve but what if it can’t do the job and runs into scalability limitations. You may find a language such as Ruby is good for small to medium sized projects and the expertise required to build something in Ruby is fairly light. But what happens if you try to build something very large? In order to get very large projects to live in Ruby, you may run into all kinds of problems and require another expert to make sure that the technology is robust and stable.

Contrast this with another language that might have a longer learning curve – yes, there’s possibly more of an education required, but it may also scale better for the size and scope of the project.



If you find yourself in conflict between the language you’re frequently working with and one you’d much rather work with, talk to Talman first. Roy Talman & Associates can help clarify the best industries that are right for the type of language you’re most passionate about.


Considering diving into a new language? Talman can tell you if a new language is likely to take off or not before you invest a great deal of time learning it – not to mention we’ll talk with you about the big picture of where you want to be in your career too.