Eweek’s 10 Programming Languages You Should Learn

I’ve had this argument a few times before. Maybe you have too. It tends to go like this:

“We’ve standardized on the Wuton language for all application development.”
“But….it’s so much better to use this other thing for this task. All the experts say so. I can produce reams of documentation and real-world results to that effect.”
“Wuton. Standard.”
“By using one tool for all the things we do, we can use that synergy to facilitate code re-use, communication, training, lots of things. Good things. Standard things.”
“That’s great, but what if Wuton isn’t the best tool for the job?”

Here’s where I come down on this debate.

On the one hand, you don’t want a bunch of cowboy coders. Cowboy coders are coders that randomly pick languages, tools, and standards, jump on their horse, and ride off into the sunset. If you are managing a collection of cowboy coders, you’re in trouble.

On the other hand, programming languages are tools. No one tool fits every job. If you pick out one “hammer” programming tool to use for everything, no matter if the project or task is a “nail”, “screw”, or “pink bunny rabbit”, you will ultimately meet with limited success. While there are extra costs associated with using multiple tools, be they software, training, or other, the cost of using the wrong tool for the job will always exceed the cost of using the best tools for different types of jobs. Always.

eWeek seems to agree in this interesting article, where their experts conclude, “Don’t get fixated on one or two languages.” It sites ten languages recommended by developers and IT recruiters.

You can read the whole list on their site, but the most interesting thing I found was that 7 of the 10 languages it recommends are open source/open standards (PHP, AJAX, JavaScript, Perl, C, Ruby and Ruby on Rails, and Python). 7 out of 10.

Incidentally, #1 on their list is PHP.