As a developer, chances are you’ll spend a good deal of time working with a fancy IDE or code editor. However, also knowing how to get things done at the command line could occasionally make your life easier.
“Sometimes you find yourself on a machine where stuff has to be done right now and tools are very limited,” one 20-year veteran programmer, who wished to remain anonymous, told me. “Know the shell like you know how to breath. Tools like find, comm, diff, vi/vim, sed, awk. How to write little scripts right on the command line to find the file that needs to change right f’ing now because production is broken and Joe who fat fingered a URL in said unknown file is on vacation in Fiji.”
Bull, who started using Microsoft tools, then slowly moved to Linux, agreed, saying, “I would have learned the ins and outs of the command line and all of the useful utilities that are available on a *nix system. I can actually recall code that I wrote years ago, and probably spent days or weeks working on, that probably could have been done better in a grep + awk one-liner.”