Great article; I felt like the post he is replying to had its heart in the right place but wasn’t really getting at the core of the problem.
I do disagree with this part though:
Making the programming language you write in the sole determiner of your job is an awful idea. I’m not saying the programming language doesn’t matter, but when you compare it to working on good projects with good people for good compensation in a good work environment, it should be obvious that if you’re making it your primary consideration you’re making some really bad life choices.
I’ve found that taking work in less common languages has been correlated with having more knowledgeable co-workers. People who have only worked in one language their whole life are much less likely to take an alternate approach to a problem or be able to recognize patterns that don’t fit nicely into their paradigm of choice. Of course, it’s technically possible to have a team full of Erlang and Forth programmers on a Java project, but in practice this does not seem to happen much. I’ll leave the explanation for this as an exercise to the reader.
Admittedly it is a luxury to work this way, but it’s only “making some really bad life choices” if it is not correlated to other positive outcomes.
it’s only “making some really bad life choices” if it is not correlated to other positive outcomes.
I don’t think these are inconsistent positions. I still think prioritizing programming language over all the rest is a bad idea, but it may be that in some circumstances by filtering on programming language you get a better category of job by these metrics too (I’m a little skeptical. Certainly you get better people, but it seems like 90%+ of the jobs in niche languages are in finance, which I think many people including myself want to avoid).
As you say though, this is a bit of a luxury. It doesn’t work at all for less niche languages, and by the very fact of the language it works for being niche, most people can’t do it.
Guilty as charged. I’ve actually written off working at one of the world’s most successful companies (Facebook) because of my attitude towards PHP.
I have a hard time believing that the success of a company is in any way correlated with the happiness of its employees above a certain level.
Indeed. Apple and Amazon are both good examples.
I don’t think anyone is obliged to take a job for any reason, and “I don’t want to work in this language” is usually a better life choice than “I must work in this language”. All I request is not giving people who make different choices a hard time of it. :-)