Meet The Champion: January 2021

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2021| Tags: Perl, Raku

Get to know about Stuart Little

Welcome to the monthly series Meet The Champion.

Last month we spoke to Niels van Dijke, the winner of December 2020.

Today we are talking to Stuart Little, the winner of January 2021 of The Weekly Challenge. I hope you are going to enjoy the interview.

Mohammad: Tell us about your technical background?

Stuart: I don’t work in IT or make a living as a programmer, so on that front I consider myself an amateur.

Mohammad: How/When did you start using Perl/Raku?

Stuart: Not sure about Perl/Raku specifically, but sometime before 2014 (not long before though) I had to move away from Windows XP and installed Ubuntu on a rickety netbook. Everything followed more or less naturally:

  • some clumsy bash to automate basic tasks
  • plus sed/awk/whatever
  • then Perl
  • by that stage programming languages were interesting to me in their own right, so I got to watch much of the Perl6-to-Raku saga.

Mohammad: How did you come to know about The Weekly Challenge?

Stuart: I honestly can’t remember!

When I become interested in a language curiosity drives me to seek out resources: manuals, blogs, youtube, etc. I’ll venture a guess some blog must have introduced me to PWC, but recalling which one seems hopeless.

I will note, though, that this goes to show how important the blog posts our PWC colleagues write are!

Mohammad: What do you like the most about The Weekly Challenge?

Stuart: That it was, for me, an excellent motivator to learn.

While I’d written Perl/Raku scripts for personal use before joining PWC, I’d never written a line of Haskell. I knew of it and was curious, but having very specific, beginner-friendly problems to guide one through a deep dive is priceless.

Mohammad: How much time you dedicate every week to The Weekly Challenge?

Stuart: I’ll usually work on challenges sporadically over the day they come out, in between other tasks.

The engagement was more intense as I was going through the past challenges systematically in Raku/Haskell, but it’s toned down now.

Mohammad: Do you checkout others solutions and who is your favorite?

Stuart: I have, on occasion: when going through past challenges, I found a few just the teeniest bit unclear and looked up others’ solutions for clarification.

So I don’t do it often, but find it instructive when I do!

Mohammad: What do you suggest someone just started The Weekly Challenge?

Stuart: Just jump in! The community is very welcoming.

Mohammad: Anything else you would to like to share with us?

Stuart: Only to say thank you (to everyone involved): for initiating this in the first place, for hosting and promoting PWC so consistently and tenaciously, and for providing an enjoyable motivation to learn and grow.

That brings the end of the conversation with Stuart Little. Please do let us know your view. We will come back next month with another champion.


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