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Near Miss
2015-08-03 23:14:12 -0400
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ruby career

In my third year of college, I took a Programming Languages course that pretty much defined my career.

The class was broken up into groups of four or five people, and each group had to pick a different programming language to study. (Presumably, we reported on that language back to the rest of the class. I don't remember, but it's probably what happened...)

I joined a group that would study Perl. This was 1996/1997. Perl would have been fairly popular at that point, being the tool the web ran on after basic HTML.

I fell in love with Perl. Of course, having previously studied languages like Scheme and C and Pascal, of course Perl would look and sound beautiful. It was powerful and easy to read, with lots of creative opportunities for a programmer.

For Christmas that year, I got the Perl Black Book and a CD with a Linux distribution on it. (I think it was Slackware, the world's worst version of Linux to attempt to put on a computer for a newbie.) Even after the class was over, I could play with Perl on my own.

Years later, I found an opportunity to insert Perl into some client work I was doing and it quickly became my thing at the company.

Looking back, I don't remember much else about that programming course, aside from the professor being a temporary prof who put all her notes on one long HTML slide that she'd share with the class... eventually. But I do remember that one of the other languages I could have chosen to study that semester had a ridiculous sounding name.

SmallTalk.

Part of me looks back now and wonders if I had chosen a different group in that class back in 1996/1997, would I have glommed onto Ruby earlier and been a Rails programmer, instead?

Missed opportunity?

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