There Is No Best Programming Language

Alfred Thompson, Computer Science Teacher, Dec 11, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

There is no best programming language, writes Alfred Thompson. But of course there is: it's Perl! Just kidding. Actually, this post should serve as a cautionary note to those who believe there is an idea path or certain foundational core materials in education. There are no such things. There's no one programming language everyone should start with and no particular programming language everyone should master. I studied Pascal, taught myself Basic, moved to Fortran, mastered C, moved to LPC, and then settled on Perl and Javascript. Most programmers I know haven't touched any of these, working from PHP to Ruby to Python. Others begin and end with Java. All of knowledge is like that. It might seem like everyone must start with Basic, but in different contexts you should maybe start with Scratch, Pascal, or even Assembler. It depends on what you're trying to do. And just so with math and English - do you mean people should start with number lines or times tables or basic axioms? English literature or grammar, phonics or the trivium? There's no one path, there's no one core. People who say there is are pushing a political agenda,. not an educational agenda.

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