compiler writing as a career?

"Brandon J. Van Every" <>
6 Jun 2004 15:29:30 -0400

          From comp.compilers

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From: "Brandon J. Van Every" <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 6 Jun 2004 15:29:30 -0400
Organization: Compilers Central
Keywords: jobs, question
Posted-Date: 06 Jun 2004 15:29:30 EDT

I'd like to ask some career-oriented questions about compiler writing,
to see if this is a good direction for me to go in, given my personal

My background is 11 years of 3D graphics and assembly optimization.
I've always been exceedingly good at ASM code. I'm also an
independent game designer. I'm not interested in the mainstream game
industry; it is too boring, stressful, low-paid, and risk-adverse.
Consequently, I'm trying to figure out other kinds of computer work
that I can stand to do / might actually enjoy doing, that are
lucrative enough to fund my gaming R&D habit. I would wish to be

I don't know beans about compiler desgin. I imagine myself plenty
capable of learning, given my ongoing interest in 'difficult problems'
in 3D graphics and AI. I'm currently learning OCaml to tackle 3D and
AI problems. I'm thinking of adding compiler design, since OCaml gets
used for that a lot, and also isn't quite ideal for 3D graphics as is.

Areas I'm interested in:
- higher level languages that increase programmer productivity
- migrating C++ code to higher level languages
- domain-specific 3D graphics languages
- domain-specific AI languages, although I'm pretty new to AI
- assembly optimization

My prejudices:
- C++ is a regressive language that wastes people's time.
- Java and C# merely clean up some syntax and bring garbage collection to
the masses.
- Java and C# are uninteresting from an optimization standpoint, being
driven by the needs of corporate accounting software.
- all 'grunt coding' is going to be exported to the second and third worlds
over the next decade.
- only those with exceedingly advanced language technology will control
their destiny

I have no interest in working on C++, Java, or C# in any capacity,
besides migrating away from them. I am curious to what degree there's
a market for "more productive, more optimized" higher level language
design and implementation. Who out there has got bucks, and is
willing to fork over money to move on? What does one have to do to
secure such jobs and contracts?

Or is the compiler design market a ghetto of marginally better C++

Brandon Van Every Seattle, WA

"We live in a world of very bright people building
crappy software with total shit for tools and process."
                                                                - Ed Mckenzie

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