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I've done the exact opposite having learned industry standard languages my entire career and only after many years finally gaining a much deeper understanding of computer science (and especially functional programming).

I can say without a doubt that having functional programming knowledge first would have been a phenomenal advantage.




I think the grass is always greener on the other side. I started with SICP in Scheme (Racket) in high school (our teacher had taught at Berkeley over the summer, I think). I don't feel any special reverence for Scheme, and don't particularly feel either way about functional programming. It's just another tool in the toolbox and I don't feel like my smart peers who started with Python are at any disadvantage whatsoever.

I do think that another major advantage for Python is the fact that you can do cooler things with it, faster. CS has a serious funnel problem and the quicker we can get students to do cool things with CS (GUI stuff, web stuff), the better CS education will be.


> do cool things with CS (GUI stuff, web stuff), the better CS education will be

The issue is these skills don't solve serious or interesting problems. GUI and web programming have become easier than ever and requires less programmers on staff to perform. My company can't find enough qualified engineers with a good depth of knowledge in CS.

I've found functional concepts have been incredibly important in shipping maintainable code on the JVM using both Java 8 and Scala.


We're discussing what freshmen in CS should be learning, not what sophomores/juniors/seniors should be learning. Getting people hooked on cool, albeit superficial, things they can build is the right way to get a broader range of people interested in CS (as opposed to just people who started programming before coming to college).




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