Random thoughts about Linux and my job

Knowledge of Linux probably helped me indirectly to get my job -- even if I don't actually need to do any hacking as part of my job. People geekier than me can do the heavyweight php scripting much more efficiently than I can. In addition, I decided to use OS X as main main desktop system at work.

Even as OS X user my Linux background (if using Linux on desktop for more than 10 years qualifies as a background) helps me with some of my daily computing needs.

For example, I'm not very efficient Excel user. Because of this, I very often do some keyword analysis using the OS X command line. For me it is simply easier to export huge Excel files into CSV and to use grep and its friends for finding the spreadsheet lines that contain interesting strings or substrings.

A few oneliners can get me very far when analysing spreadsheets with thousands of lines and I think it is easier than learning to use Excel really well. After all, it was never designed to be a tool for natural language processing.

Unfortunately, I have never had time to learn Perl that certainly would be the best tool for this kind of tasks. Its syntax has always seemed a bit too cryptic for my taste and I have never really needed to do any quantitative analysis of textual data.

Maybe, just maybe, later this year I would have time for learning Perl.

Or should I rather learn to code in Python?

In the late 1980s, I used to code quite a lot with my CBM-64. So algorithmic thinking is nothing new for me, even if the modern languages are completely different from 6510 assembly code.

So any modern language is pretty much completely new to me. I just have to decide which direction I want to take in my career.

I don't have any plans to become a website coder, so I doubt I would never really need Php + Html more than I understand now.

I code my MSc theses in R, but I don't think it is very useful for a marketing consultant.

Perl would be fine for analysing textual data, but I'm not so sure if it would be an overkill for my needs.

Python, on the other hand, would probably be fine for most of my tasks - at least combined with some elementary Unix scripting.

Or should I just forget these languages that are rather unorthodox in the marketing and business world and concentrate on learning Excel and Visual Basic...

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