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

Arthur Collé arthurcolle@REDACTED
Thu Aug 28 19:42:19 CEST 2014

I am in my last year as a CS major at the University of Maryland. I
interned at Goldman this summer where I had heard that Erlang was used in
production but I didn't work on it at all, and it was this as well as
hearing that Facebook used it initially and also that its last
acquisition Whatsapp used it for its backend, these various anecdotes
contributed to my desire to begin learning it.

In my coursework we covered OCaml and Prolog, and Erlang has a number of
features that are very similar to both. (pattern matching from both, and
the syntax and "rules-based" logic of Prolog). Message passing seemed like
a model of concurrent programming that was very different than the
semaphore/mutex/lock based model of threading so I was curious about it and
bought "Programming Erlang" 2nd edition by Joe Armstrong (have to admit its
a real trip seeing your name come up on emails the day after I signed onto
the email list!), "Erlang" by Simon St. Laurent, and those have been my
primary sources, as well as the documentation. Learning OTP/Rebar is
proving to be more difficult but there are a number of online sources
(usually blog posts/tutorials) that make it easier.

Not really what you were looking for I suppose but I'm almost fresh out of
college and that was my background for wanting to learn Erlang. Maybe
describe its important use cases and how they apply to your situation. The
syntax can be off putting to newcomers so you really want to highlight its
strengths. Like setting up a gen_server and hot swapping code is
ridiculously easy in Erlang and in other languages it would be such a pain.

Just some thoughts!


On Thursday, August 28, 2014, Leonard Boyce <leonard.boyce@REDACTED>

> 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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