Why You Should Seriously Consider Learning Scala

The tools available to you in the tech industry are constantly evolving, and good software developers are always on the lookout for new and better ways of doing things. Scala, short for "Scalable Language", is a programming language that aims to improve on the Java experience while also incorporating aspects of functional programming, minus the arcane syntax. Scala runs in the JVM and makes use of all Java classes and libraries, so the switch for a developer familiar with Java would be fairly simple and you can easily migrate already existing Java projects. You're probably wondering why you would even want to pick up Scala, so below we'll cover a few of the main benefits as I see them.

Concise Syntax

One of the primary goals in developing Scala was removing the more verbose aspects of Java. Less time writing boilerplate code equals more time solving actual problems. You can see the syntactical improvements best when making use of the functional properties of Scala, for example converting a list of numbers stored as strings to integers or creating classes. Scala is eminently more understandable, and therefore more desirable, to a software engineer working in a team. Another benefit to a tighter syntax is that more errors are caught during compile time, leading to a less error prone shipped product.

Functional Capabilities

You saw a small example of what functional programming can do above, but the capabilities extend far beyond simply making things easier to read. One of the core tenets of the functional paradigm is immutability. once you've created your objects their state cannot be changed. Deadlocks and race conditions are a thing of the past in functional programming, and this leads to more optimized multi-threaded code and an easier time with concurrency in general. Considering the future is in distributed processing and cloud software, Scala is only going to get more useful as time goes on. The best thing about the functional properties of Scala is that they can exist seamlessly beside the imperative properties. There's no need to switch to a purely functional mindset right away, you can ease yourself into it or continue to make use of imperative properties that you like. A language this flexible doesn't come along too often and it leads to better code and happier developers.

With these things in mind, you can probably see why Scala is a hot topic right now, Even if you don't stick with it you'll have learned some valuable lessons about functional programming, which is currently on an upswing in popularity. and it's interoperability with Java means that there aren't any reason's not to give it a shot if you're currently a Java developer looking to branch out.


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