Mar 11, 2015

Scala is hot in analytics companies

It is hard to believe it's been six years since I started worrying that Java is obsolete :) We lived long enough to see Java8 in production. A couple of years ago I thought that Scala flat-lined. I remember keynotes on never getting to mainstream and compiler folks leaving. But this year I can see a very different picture. Most of the companies dealing with analytics are writing Scala. A great many are either already running Spark in production or prototyping it. At this point it feels like a very good time to join such a company. There are too few people around with real Scala experience to make it a strict requirement.

It is interesting to observe that some arguments against Scala sound so familiar from good old C++ days. Some companies ban use of a certain feature subset (e.g. implicits). Some folks have trouble with a multi-paradigm language where there is so much choice. Few people are excited about function signatures in the standard library (remember STL? partially specialized template anyone?). I know good engineers are supposed to value simplicity. I must be a bad one, I am attracted to complexity. Scala reminds me C++ in this respect. There is always some language tidbit to pick up every time you read a book. In Java only the j.u.c package could fill one with so much joy for years :)

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