The Education of a Programmer (Me)

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Month: September, 2012

Interesting email from Packt Publishing

Over the weekend, I received a really interesting email from Packt Publishing telling me that I should get all of my tech friends to register on their site by the 30th of September for a big deal and surprise gift!

Ok, I am usually skeptical, but I’ve dealt with the sender of the email before and he’s a pretty good guy and a lot of help when I’ve had questions, etc. They even sent out a copy of a press release. I have a feeling it will be pretty cool so I think it’s worth checking out!

I’m throwing in the contents of the press release because I can and because they are ok with it so it will spotlight their promotion.

The following text is their press release:

Birmingham-based IT publisher Packt Publishing is about to publish its 1000th title. Packt books are renowned among developers for being uniquely practical and focused.  Packt books cover highly specific tools and technologies which IT professionals might not expect to see a high quality book on.

Packt would like you to join them in celebrating this milestone with a surprise gift – to get involved you just need to have already registered, or sign up for a free Packt account before 30th September 2012.

Packt published their first book in April 2004. One of the most prolific and fastest growing tech book publishers in the world, they now have books on everything from web development to web graphics, e-learning to e-commerce, IT architecture to games, and app development.

Packt supports many of the Open Source projects covered by its books through a project royalty donation, which has contributed over £300,000 to Open Source projects up to now. As part of the celebration Packt is allocating $30,000 to share between projects and authors in a genuinely unique way, soon to be disclosed on their website.

Dave Maclean, founder of Packt Publishing explains, “At Packt we set out 8 years ago to bring practical, up to date and easy to use technical books to the specialist tools and technologies that had been largely overlooked by IT publishers. Today, I am really proud that with our authors and partners we have been able to make useful books available on over 1000 topics and make our contribution to the development community.”

For more information about Packt, the kind of books they publish, and to sign-up for a free account before the 30th of September, 2012, please visit their website:


Thinking about my place in IT

Even though I’m a programmer by trade and I’m continuing my education, I still have never answered the final question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I think that I have avoided it because I never quite feel at home in most of the worlds in which I walk. That’s a long story for another blog though.

Last night before class started, I was speaking with one of my classmates and we got into various discussions about different languages and how we’re both interested in learning as much as we can about various languages. I never asked him his reasons for this, but I did notice that mine started making sense in a different way.

My original college degree, way back when, is in Linguistics. I entered that field because I was fascinated by language, what it could do, what it does do, and how it works in general. At one point, I wanted to return to college and complete a PhD in Linguistics and become a professor. Life seems to have gotten in the way of that, but I may have a way to stay involved in two fields I love and eventually find a way to make a living at it.

Enter the notion of a “Compu-linguist”; a linguist who specializes in studying computer programming languages, their syntax, morphology, etc. and also studies how languages are acquired by programmers, how languages relate to one another, etc. In effect, treating programming languages no different from other constructed languages or “conlangs” such as Esperanto, Loglan, Klingon, etc.

The reality is that even though programmers from around the world may have challenges in communication through natural human languages, they all certainly can communicate through their code in those languages they choose to use.  There are so many avenues and I know that I can’t be the first to have thought of it, but maybe I can start making it a specialty by taking the linguistics training I’ve had for years and applying it to the world in which I am currently living.

I may have found my niche after all and maybe just answered the last question about what I want to be when I grow up…..