Sunday, May 24, 2015

LabVIEW thoughts, part 5: A Little-Known Language

A couple of weeks ago I commented on an article about "little-known" programming languages and how it didn't mention LabVIEW at all.  Well, Dice posted a follow-up article of sorts on whether someone should learn a little-known language.  Again, LabVIEW is not mentioned.

But I've come to the opinion that it doesn't really matter, for two main reasons.

First, my impression of Dice is a site geared towards pure programmers.  Yes, I like to read specific articles on the site that appeal to my interests, but the majority of their content deals with web-based programming, games, and database/big data concerns.  LabVIEW isn't designed for that.

Second, knowing LabVIEW on its own is too limiting.  LabVIEW is a language, but it is language optimized for specific applications.  Sure, you can write pure database applications with it - I have - or you could write web apps with it.  But if you know LabVIEW and you are an electrical engineer, manufacturing engineer, etc. - then you are an order of magnitude more valuable to a company than if you just know LabVIEW.

Maybe that's why as a language it doesn't get much love from regular programmers.  They recognize that it is as much a tool as a language, so they just skip right past it.  But as my undergrad physics professor told me, it's always good to learn more methods on how to solve problems.  If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.

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