on multilingualism

sep 25 2020 | 3 mins

Some friends of mine remarked that I wouldn't necessarily have a hard time picking up computer programming because of my proficiency in four human languages.

I took their comment as part of my arsenal for self-motivation, since it did help me muster up the courage to tackle an endeavour I had not previously had the confidence to confront.

The more I become immersed in coding, the more I come to accept that their remark can be both accurate and misplaced, depending on context.

To touch on how it's misplaced, I don't believe that I have really been able to reap the benefits of my training in multilingualism along this journey of mine.

At least not yet.

This is because, so far, I have been learning how computers work, how software architecture is designed, and how to use various technologies synchronously for collective problem solving.

To this end, I would even say that it has been more helpful to practice logical thinking, which would otherwise come from a training in critical reasoning.

With that said, I'm excited to believe that my multilingual proficiency will help me grow as an agile programmer who will adapt to the ever-changing paradigms of the programming landscape.

Computer programming is one of the most rapidly evolving fields of all times, and I am aware that different programming languages are used to tackle different problems.

For example, Marc, a family-friend of mine who used to work as a programmer at UBS for some 20 years, almost exclusively coded in COBOL, which was the hot language at the time for large financial institutions that processed a lot of transaction data.

COBOL is still used today, though Java has come into play as a modern alternative.

Now for an anedoctal reference, I have mainly been coding in Python.

Choosing Python as my introductory language was almost a no-brainer for me, given the pseudocode-like syntax and the prevalence of Python practitioners in the global community (just look up PyCon).

The latter meaning that, if I ever come across a problem while programming in Python, I would most likely be able to find an answer immediately, through a quick search on Stackoverflow.

Now, I'm quite confident that I'd like to move onto JavaScript, since I am amazed by the ability to program in-browser, and to make a web application more interactive (the potential to use this functionality is pretty much limitless).

Overall, I think JavaScript is a much more versatile language, with the emerging ability to construct fully-functional back-end servers through platforms like nodeJS.

I've had a great run with Python, and I will most certainly be coding in the language for interview preparation and for implementing my growing knowledge in data structures and algorithms.

With the switch to JS, though, I cannot be more excited to finally test out my multilingual capability in switching to a language with a whole new syntax;

and essentially a whole new means of communicating and expressing my logic to the computer. :)

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