I don't know that it may even make a difference, and I reckon if it did the differences would be cultural rather than technical, but if one were going to set out today (2011) to learn a language, and specifically wanted to telecommute (so they could live in two different places during the year), are there any languages whose culture looks more favorably upon telecommuting than other languages / cultures?

For example, I get the impression (and I am probably completely wrong) that in the Ruby community, you are more likely to be expected to be on-site and doing pair programming (though I suppose you can do pairing remotely too).

As a corollary question, are there languages / communities where pair programming is less important, for people who wanted to program in part because they aren't social butterflies?

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    I'd say learn Hindi or Chinese. – Abe Miessler Feb 2 '11 at 23:13

Pair programming is relatively rare in the grand scheme of things. You may have the idea about Ruby being more pair-friendly simply because it is favored by web startups and many design-oriented developers like it's ease of use over the more highly structured and organized Java/C# experience.

I don't think it makes any difference. Find shops that allow you to telecommute, see what technology they use, and learn to use the ones that are most frequently cited, or featured in the shops you wish to work within.

Honestly, though, some languages are much more prevalent in quantity of jobs, such as Java, C#, PHP, C, C++, etc... If you learn one or two of those languages, chances are you will find more shops that allow you to telecommute.

Stats: http://langpop.com/

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It's not about the language, it is about the process

The benefits of pair programming are that you have (imho):

  • instant review
  • a fast knowledge transfer
  • fewer hidden disagreements ('awww, comeon, curly braces on the same line?!'),
  • and more (meaningful) communication.

All these points target the way you work and how the team interacts.

Which may be why you perceive the ruby culture as more prone to pair programming: the community has some very strong voices talking about teams.

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There are a large number of factors that should be considered before choosing a language to learn, and a language appropriate for a particular project. These factors are often overlooked, and it is good that you are trying to consider some of them.

But, relax. The desire to telecommute is not one of them.

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