I spent four years at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte studying computer science. In that near half decade, I gleaned knowledge from some of the best programmers and engineers I’ve ever known. I learned languages like C++, Java, Ruby, and Android, and systems like Win/Mac/Linux and Rails.

Post-college I’m doing Unix, Hadoop and Python. And while the first is traditional and a solid backbone of computing knowledge to have, it’s the latter two that have lit a new creative fire in me. Even more so with the third, Python. And heck, I’ve been using it a TON lately.

Python is an incredible language — from its structure, natural language tendency, and sheer power and light weight, to massive support from the CS community. A word of caution to up and coming programmers, computer scientists, and engineers though…

Don’t let new, fast, and fluid languages like Python form the entirety of your backbone of computing insight. Do as Python does — learn from the hardships of coding’s past, understand why Python is a programming language by programmers, for programmers who realized that coding doesn’t have to be esoteric and obscure. It can be brilliant, lean and mean.

Again… use Python and all of its strengths. Impress your friends by taking what took them 300 lines in C++ or Java, and coding it in 20 with Python. But as you look forward at programming’s future with innovations like Python and Javascript, also look back at the systems many of us tend to grimace at: C, Unix, Assembly, whatever! Learning even a little about how those languages tick will not only give you appreciation for the powerful tools you have now, but also provide infinite insight into core computing, and why programmers strived for futuristic achievements like Python in the first place.

– Landon

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