Is Assembly Language programming an obsolete skill?

Obsolete Skills is a wiki inspired by Scoble’s recent post listing “things we used to know that no longer are very useful to us”.

One of the “obsolete skills” listed on the wiki is assembly language programming. Although most programmers won’t write an entire application in assembly language, it’s still a very useful skill for several reasons.

Being able to understand assembly language is essential for effective debugging. Looking at the generated code in the debugger gives an extra depth of understanding how the application actually works and what’s really happening. Seeing the register contents and the last instruction executed will give important clues about why it crashed.

Even with faster processors, there are still times when it’s important to squeeze out the highest possible performance, such as games or graphics-intensive work. In many cases, the only way to do it is to recode some inner loops or frequently executed code in assembly language.

I don’t think assembly language programming will become obsolete any time soon.

Leave a Comment