The Multilingual Programmer

At the recent SQL Konferenz in Germany, the keynote was from Michael Rhys of Microsoft. His talk was on the evolution and design of the U-SQL language. If you haven’t looked at it, U-SQL is what the Azure Data Lake (ADL) uses, and it’s designed to improve your ability to query various data sources in the ADL. If you want to know more, and begin working with U-SQL, we have a stairway you can go through.

Michael opened his talk by looking at the languages he’d learned in his career. He started with APL and moved on from there. He asked if anyone had used APL, and there were few of us. It was my second language at University, and one I didn’t enjoy. The nature of the language was un-intuitive to me, and I was glad I only suffered for a few months. If you’d like to try it, you can tryapl.

I thought this would make a fun discussion, so I wanted to ask: what languages did you learn for programming and in what order?

For me, I started with BASIC, and a little assembler with early systems. I moved to Pascal in high school, trying to develop fun games and computer assisted homework help for myself. In University, I began with LISP, which caused plenty of people to drop out of computing. I’m not sure if that was a good idea or not, but I enjoyed that. From there, I went to APL, Assembler, Fortran and C before switching away from computers for a bit. When I returned, C++ was all the rage, and I soon found jobs that paid me to write FoxPro/Clipper code, then VB, then a touch of Java before the web became popular and I worked in ASP and ASP.NET. Along the way SQL became more and more of my career, and I’m glad it did.

These days I’m trying to improve my C#, PowerShell, and Python skills, more for fun than anything else, but those are sueful as both languages are useful in data work. I haven’t done much with R, but I have fingers crossed that the sp_execute_external_script call that allows a parameter of @language=N’Python’ gets added to SQL Server before I need to learn any R. After all, most of the R libraries exist in Python, and I find the language much more intuitive.

Let us know today what your journey has been, and if you haven’t been a developer, maybe its time to learn some programming skills. After all, I think that’s important for a DBA.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

Listen to the MP3 Audio ( 5.0MB) podcast or subscribe to the feed at iTunes and Libsyn.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
This entry was posted in Editorial and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Multilingual Programmer

  1. zippy1981 says:

    My evolution
    * Basic on Apple IIEs in K-8.
    * DOS Batch in later grammar school years at home
    * Tried to teach myself Borland C++ in high school. Never thought I got very far because I was always trying to learn Win32 programming.. Wish I found linux and command line power users earlier.
    * Senior year of high school HTML and CSS. A little javascript
    * C++ In College in classes
    * Perl/BASH in college
    * SQL through Microsoft Access PHP for web programming early college drop out years
    * Postgres and MySQL
    * C# and T-SQL in my mid twenties
    * Python and R about 3 years ago

  2. Let’s see…

    FORTRAN 77
    Prime CPL
    6502 Assembly
    Forth
    Apple BASIC
    TRS Basic
    Z80 Assembly
    IBM Business / Compiled BASIC
    DOS Batch
    80xx Assembly
    PL/1
    ADABAS/Natural
    CICS
    COBOL
    Proprietary Languages on Norand & Telxon
    C
    C++
    VB Classic
    Transact-SQL
    VB for Applications
    VB Script
    ASP
    VB .Net
    C#
    ASP .Net
    Powershell
    And more…

  3. Let’s see…

    FORTRAN 77
    Prime CPL
    Pascal
    6502 Assembly
    Forth
    Apple BASIC
    TRS Basic
    Z80 Assembly
    IBM Business / Compiled BASIC
    DOS Batch
    80xx Assembly
    PL/1
    ADABAS/Natural
    CICS
    COBOL
    Proprietary Languages on Norand & Telxon
    C
    C++
    VB Classic
    Transact-SQL
    VB for Applications
    VB Script
    ASP
    VB .Net
    C#
    ASP .Net
    Powershell
    And more…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s