Why Learning Assembly Language Is Still a Good Idea
Subject:   Low level programming ?
Date:   2004-05-08 19:17:34
From:   hutch--
Just think back a while when we used to have people saying "I have a blazingly fast 16 megahertz 286 with 4 mem of memory, you don't need to write great code with all of this computing power.". The proponent of this view today has the same problem as it had back then, the scale of the task changes with the capacity of the hardware and absorbing the capacity of the hardware with bloated sloppily written code limits the size and complexity of the task that can be performed.

Much of what passes for programming these days is little better than manipulating someone elses pre-packed software in much the same way as the ever maligned "end user" is supposed to do. The difference between the end user and the programmmer is the capacity to do things that can't be taken out of a box ready to run and somewhere along the line, it means actually knowing how to code an algorithm and do all of those messy complicated things like manage memory, handle pointers and the like.

There is an old joke that does make the point about learning something useful instead of treading the wide easy path to oblivion.

Q. What does a C programmer say to an ADA[tm] programmer ?

A. I will have onions with my french fries please.

Programmer who learn the hard stuff like assembler, C, Pascal or any of the well known languages have a skill they can adapt to a changing market over time. When the alternative is standing in a qeue trying to get a job pumping gas, is treading down the wide easy path worth the effort ?