Women in Technology

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Article:
  Charming Pythonistas
Subject:   Clarification
Date:   2007-09-11 23:35:37
From:   annaraven

In response to a comment made in another forum regarding this article, I want to clarify something.



I am not proposing Python as the One True Language. I've studied C, Java, C++, Basic, Pascal (and a handful of natural languages as well...) C is useful for close to the metal programs that rely on speed. C++ is useful for memory management. JavaScript is(ubiquitous and therefore) useful on the web... etc. Python is not the only useful language.



What I am suggesting is that the way programming is taught is an obstacle - and that Python is particularly suitable to being taught to beginners. If one has already learned iteration with simple for and while loops and indexing into a list in Python, it's much easier to learn linked lists in C++ and indexing into an array in C. The beauty is that Python does this without dumbing down the programming, or teaching cripplecode. I'm not aware of any other language that is simultaneously so simple, readable and powerful. If there are others, then those would also be very useful languages for beginners to learn (rather than C or Java as is usually taught now.)



In conclusion, Python is not "female-friendly" so much as beginner-friendly. It thereby avoids the gatekeeper problem of most introductory CS classes, makes social programming easier (due to its readability), and provides a launching pad for people (including many women) who are not already hard-core geeks to discover the joy of programming.