Should I Learn Mandarin

Tue Feb 08 2022

Should I learn C#? Should I learn Lua? Should I learn Mandarin? I like to spend time dabbling in a new programming language each year. This year I am focusing on re-learning C# and .NET. However, the process of deciding which language to focus on got me thinking. Do I need to learn a new real-world language?

As a huge Vue.js fan I find myself running into projects where the documentation is in Mandarin. Flutter too has a ton of Mandarin resources. Just yesterday I was researching Pocket Network. What is that "CN" in their menu bar?

Then there is the matter of a job I am trying to help recruit for. The majority of our interviews have been with native Mandarin speakers where the language gap is too large for them to be able to fill the role. Maybe I should help fill that gap by learning their language instead of expecting them to learn mine?

So, yes, I have just started learning Mandarin. I think other US based developers should do the same! Here are some things I've found so far that might help:

I tried several language learning apps and landed on Mango Languages as by far the best. Their program is highly repetitive which has made it easy for my not-so-plastic-anymore brain to pick up the new sounds and tones. The app follows a very clever path to help you get started and see some success right away.

One thing Mango is missing is a way to look up words in a dictionary so that you can practice and confirm memory of words. Yabla has been relly helpful for me to do that :

I haven't found a good app yet for practicing writing out characters. That brings me to another question. How in the world do you even type Chinese characters on a PC? We'll have to settle for copy and paste for now: