[erlang-questions] Onboarding programmers who are new to Erlang

Juan Facorro <>
Thu Aug 28 20:14:36 CEST 2014


Hi Leonard,

I've been working at Inaka for the past three months as an Erlang developer and it was the first time I had any contact with the language, although I am far from "fresh out of college" and I had some previous practice with other functional languages (Common Lisp, Clojure and some Haskell), you might find my experience still useful.

Fred Hébert's "Learn you some Erlang" was a really good resource to get me started with the basics of the language. The first few chapters are mostly about functional programming concepts, which serves as good practice if the person does not have that much experience with FP. Later on the subjects of concurrency, OTP and releases are explained, which is where the real meat is IMO, although in all fairness I still haven't read the chapters about distributed Erlang systems, sockets, ETS and other subjects. Some of these last topics I learned by doing, like common test, maps and such.

Another thing which was pretty cool was that I got to work on an open source project [1] (a tiny one but still) the same week I started working with Erlang. It got me started with things such as behaviors, unit testing, make &  Makefiles, rebar, etc. I learned a lot from just having a project to work on, plus I felt like I was not only learning but doing something useful.

The Erlang team at Inaka had a list of stuff that needed to be done, so after I finished with the tiny project, we voted on what I would do next. The project that we voted turned out to be a little more ambitious (technically speaking) than my previous one, but it was lots of fun [2]. It was really cool to have a say on what my next project would be. This project lasted around a month or so, after which I started working on a client project :D.

I guess the learning approach should be adapted to the learner, in my case I'm more of a hands-on person with a keen interest in knowing how stuff works, so having a friendly reference book (Learn you some...) while working on different projects was pretty awesome for me and I think I turned out a pretty decent Erlang developer, only time will tell :P

Hope it helps,

Juan

[1]: https://github.com/inaka/lasse
[2]: https://github.com/inaka/elvis

On Thursday, August 28, 2014 1:48:08 PM UTC-3, Leonard Boyce wrote:
> I'd like to tap the collective wisdom of the group for their
> 
> experiences in onboarding fresh-out-of-college programmers who are new
> 
> to Erlang. This is assuming the new programmer has mostly imperative
> 
> experience (C/C++/Java) and have had a fleeting glimpse of functional
> 
> through Haskell.
> 
> 
> 
> I'm of the mindset to have them work through a book or two over the
> 
> 1st couple of weeks with plenty of rubber ducking and/or pairing on
> 
> simple exercises.
> 
> 
> 
> After that maybe have them work on a simple feature or two in some
> 
> prototypical work we're doing on the side, and of course sending them
> 
> off to the first available 'bootcamp'/training session available.
> 
> 
> 
> What have you found is the best way to introduce them to the language
> 
> and bring them up to a level where they can start standing on their
> 
> own feet?
> 
> 
> 
> Are there any specific resources (books/sessions/tutorials etc) you've
> 
> found useful in the past?
> 
> 
> 
> Any other recommendations?
> 
> 
> 
> Thanks,
> 
> 
> 
> Leonard
> 
> ---
> 
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