Productivity of higher level languages

I recently had an experience where I was given the same programming problem as a handful of other software developers.  My advantage was that I was using Python while the other people were forced to write their solution in Java or C.

The difference in the amount of time it took to solve the same problem with a different language was striking.  Most other people completed in about the 45 minute mark whereas I had finished in just 15 minutes.  An average of 3x less time.  That’s a massively significant difference in developer performance that comes primarily from using languages that aim to be readable and focused on developer productivity.

I’d always known that Python was a productive language but that was the first time that I had experienced first hand just how beneficial it can be to switch from one platform to another.

Imagine taking a 3 month project and complete it in just 1.  That’s a massive savings; enough to change a business idea from impractical to highly lucrative.

One thing I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that with the right approach and the right tools you can make difficult application development accessible to even small budgets.  Sometimes it requires creative thinking and accepting unconventional solutions.

I’ve worked on $1M projects that could have been MVP’d for 20 cents on the dollar by choosing different technology and different developers. It’s quite shocking to see just how variable it can be to develop the same software with different tools.

If there’s a lesson in this it’s: Take care when choosing the people and technology.  The right choice can save you a tremendous amount of time and money.