Here We Go Again: Why Is It Difficult for Developers to Learn Another Programming Language?
Once a programmer knows one language, they can leverage concepts and knowledge already learned, and easily pick up another programming language. But is that always the case? To understand if programmers have difficulty learning additional programming languages, we conducted an empirical study of Stack Overflow questions across 18 different programming languages. We hypothesized that previous knowledge could potentially interfere with learning a new programming language. From our inspection of 450 Stack Overflow questions, we found 276 instances of interference that occurred due to faulty assumptions originating from knowledge about a different language. To understand why these difficulties occurred, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 16 professional programmers. The interviews revealed that programmers make failed attempts to relate a new programming language with what they already know. Our findings inform design implications for technical authors, toolsmiths, and language designers, such as designing documentation and automated tools that reduce interference, anticipating uncommon language transitions during language design, and welcoming programmers not just into a language, but its entire ecosystem.
Fri 10 Jul Times are displayed in time zone: (UTC) Coordinated Universal Time change
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Daniela GirardiUniversity of Bari, Nicole NovielliUniversity of Bari, Davide FucciBlekinge Institute of Technology, Filippo LanubileUniversity of BariDOI Pre-print
|15:12 - 15:24|
Ryan KruegerUniversity of Michigan, Yu HuangUniversity of Michigan, Xinyu LiuUniversity of Michigan, Tyler SantanderUniversity of California at Santa Barbara, Westley WeimerUniversity of Michigan, USA, Kevin LeachUniversity of MichiganPre-print
|15:24 - 15:36|
|Pre-print Media Attached|
|15:36 - 15:48|
Here We Go Again: Why Is It Difficult for Developers to Learn Another Programming Language?Technical
Nischal ShresthaNorth Carolina State University, Colton BottaNorth Carolina State University, Titus BarikMicrosoft, Chris ParninNorth Carolina State UniversityPre-print
|15:48 - 15:54|