But somewhere, deep down, I’m still a HyperCard programmer.

The connection between languages and identity doesn’t stop at natural, human languages. Ask a software developer who they are or what they do, and often you’ll hear them describe themselves by the language they use most often.

“A C programmer,” one might say. “A Java Engineer,” another could murmur. “A Rubyist!” someone declares with an idealogical gleam in their eye.

These self-professed labels aren’t limiting unless we let them be, unless we decide that’s good enough, unless we stop learning. While it’s easy to pick up our favorite tool every time we need to build something, we need to make sure the tool is well-suited to the task, too. If it’s not, we should use something that is (even learning it in the process). Just imagine what you could build if you were using the right tool for the job and you even knew how to use it?

Don’t disregard perception. While it’s dangerous to see yourself as just a member of a language community, it’s even worse if people presume that self-professed skill is the only thing you can bring to bear on a problem. Be mindful of the labels you give yourself and what those labels will mean to others.

 
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