This article reviews the low level (or functional) versus high level (or object-oriented) programming especially in the area of software engineering and gives readers enough insights on picking a right programming method. Low level coding languages like C and Assembly interact directly with machine like PC motherboards, whereas Java and Python use an intermediate compiler to interact with machine. As such, low level languages are normally run much faster than its high level counterparts.
Software Engineers often have a large knowledge of several coding languages. However, in order to excel in the field, there are certain integral languages that one must know. The issue is distinguishing which languages you should learn: object-oriented programming languages like C++, java and python, or general purpose languages like C. In order to make an educated decision on which language to dive into, we need to further understand each type of programming language. There are pros and cons of both Functional Programming (FP) and Object-Oriented Programming (OOP).
Functional Programming for Software Engineers
Functional programming is dependent on structure building and relies heavily on computational formulas, ignoring mutable data. In functional programming, data and the actions performed on the data are two distinct concepts and therefore should be separate. Additionally, all of the objects created in FP are immutable, ie. Can not be changed. It’s heavily dependent on functions that have return values dependant only on the input values. Furthermore the data that is passed into these functions is left unchanged, as the return value only demonstrates the result of a possible change. Conclusively, this results in predictable, small-scale programming that is easy to unit test.
Object-Oriented Programming for Software Engineers
Object-oriented programming, on the other hand, is based on objects and the behavior associated with those objects, which often represent components in the real world. Alternatively to FP’s immutable data, OOP objects can modify the data fields of said object through its methods. Moreover, the objects are instances of classes, which can interact with each other, once again through functions. An object, in object-oriented programming, encapsulate data and its functions. This data is hidden from other objects, and therefore can only be altered through a method or function. A class is sort of template for making objects of itself, ie. instances.
Functional Programming- Pros and Cons
There are several pros and cons of each type of programming language, let’s being with functional programming. The benefits of FP include more predictable code and compressed programming. It has high-level abstractions which hide the much smaller operations, demonstrating less tolerable errors. Additionally it provides the groundwork for debugging and code testing. On the downside, you are unable to mutate existing data, which inherently leads to data-copying (creating new objects with updates values, instead of changing an existing object). This issue of data copying can lead to performance issues, like evaluation speed and usage of random access memory.
Object-Oriented Programming- Pros and Cons
Now let’s look into the pros and cons of object oriented programming. Since the classes are modular, one benefit of OOP is that once these classes have been created, they can be reused and repurposed over and over again. Additionally, it supports parallel development which essentially allows programmers to collaborate without having to be dependent on each others’ code. Diversely, OOP can be quite inefficient with its CPU allocation as well as its creation of unnecessary code, which in turn takes up unnecessary space.
Summary and Additional Notes
With all of the knowledge surrounding both functional programming and object-oriented programming, we are able to come to a decision in terms of which type of language is integral to learn. It seems for real-world applications and jobs in the workforce, high-end programming like OOP is high in demand as it is a perfect entry point into programming real world. Here is a good article about how to program Python in both OOP and non-OOP methods.
Now that you understand differences between OOP and FP, you need to have a basic knowledge about the following topics related to programming: 1- Website development, 2- Mobile App development, 3- Professional certifications for programmers, and 4- System admin roles. Indeed, there are lots of commonalities among most of programming languages in terms of logic of coding and algorithm design. Thus, it is easy to move from software engineering roles to other related programming roles as briefly explained here.
Programmers and non-programmers can sharpen their skills by obtaining professional certifications that are recognized in their industry. Such well-established certifications are a measure of distinction that employers use to evaluate prospective employees. The following certifications are currently in high demand: Amazon Web Services- Solution Architect, Amazon Web Services- Developer Associate, Oracle Database SQL Fundamentals, Oracle Database 11g, Zend Certified PHP Engineer, Google Cloud Certifications, Linux Professional Institute exam 101 and 102 for system admin, Red Hat Certified System Admin, Red Hat Certified Engineer, CompTIA Linux+, Microsoft Certifications, and other exams.
Lastly, system admin jobs around cybersecuity, database design, cloud service management and Linux operating systems are growing. For example, learning Linux and bash programming is very easy for software engineers who know how to code. Also, software engineers can apply the principals of safe coding known by cybersecurity professionals in their daily programming tasks.
It is advisable to consult with an IT career counselor to understand what career options best fits your skills. For instance, if you want to be a software engineer, learning HTML and CSS might not fit the bill. Here is an excellent article for learning more on coding and technology career roadmap. Once you know what career path you wish to pursue, you can make a plan on what, when, and how to learn. There are lots of online resources for learning coding and technology in general. For teenagers and high school students, High School Technology Services offers variety of hands-on training. For adults and professionals, Coding Bootcamps and DC Web Makers Companies offer basic to advance project-based programming and technology classes.