You are not logged in.

#1 2008-02-19 13:41:39

kensai
Member
From: Puerto Rico
Registered: 2005-06-03
Posts: 2,475
Website

Do I have what it takes?

Hey guys, I have blogged about this. Please read this and comment in my blog if you like, or here.

In short : I want to learn programming, but I ask you, What is your motivation? Is there any recommendations you can give to help me become a programmer? Any comments will be greatly appreciated.

My Blog post will give you a better understanding of what I'm talking about, if you feel is easier to comment in here, please do.

- Thanks


Follow me in: Identi.ca, Twitter, Google+

Offline

#2 2008-02-19 14:06:27

Ashren
Member
From: Denmark
Registered: 2007-06-13
Posts: 1,221
Website

Re: Do I have what it takes?

I feel the exact same way kensai. I really want to learn program and have been dabbling with both java and python lately. I have come to the conclusion I need to find a reason to program i.e. a problem I can solve only by writing some code myself. I have some candidates and I've been thinking about writing a small app that can search a specific database at work - this wouldn't be too hard - would it?

Offline

#3 2008-02-19 14:11:04

ornitorrincos
Forum Fellow
From: Bilbao, spain
Registered: 2006-11-20
Posts: 198

Re: Do I have what it takes?

Maybe, some time ago I tried to learn programming, but I also got bored of it pretty quickly, then one day I started to learn python, I wasn't really encouraged to learn it until I made a simple script(it downloaded an image and uploaded to a ftp server) for automating one task that I had to do every day.

My motivation was to have the ability of "controlling" better the computer, to make it do exactly what I want.
Another motivation is the C programming course of the university, but that's different.


-$: file /dev/zero
/dev/zero: symbolic link to '/dev/brain'

Offline

#4 2008-02-19 14:16:20

Cerebral
Forum Fellow
From: Waterloo, ON, CA
Registered: 2005-04-08
Posts: 3,108
Website

Re: Do I have what it takes?

For me, it's oddly enough the love of programming that keeps me doing it.  There's an enjoyment for me in writing code, compiling it, and seeing it do what I told it to that I really can't explain.  I also love logic puzzles, and programming is essentially one huge logic puzzle waiting to be solved.

Now, from what I understand, not everybody feels the same way I do about it, and yet there are still lots of programmers.  What's their secret?  I dunno... in general, if you want to learn programming because you think you should, then don't worry about it.   If you want to because you're genuinely interested, then that's a good start.

I'd suggest finding a language and a pre-existing project you're already interested in, then simultaneously read a tutorial or two on the language and go through the code for the project you have some interest in.  As you read through the tutorial, you'll be able to make more sense of the project's code, and the project's code will likely give more context to the tutorial's info, giving you a 'bigger picture' look.

Offline

#5 2008-02-19 14:17:21

kensai
Member
From: Puerto Rico
Registered: 2005-06-03
Posts: 2,475
Website

Re: Do I have what it takes?

Well, I am in fact contemplating ruby as my programming language. I have had more fun learning it than python. I just don't know why, maybe because it looks pretty, and I like the word puts better than print. But, yeah, I see, so making a little application is the motive, sometimes. What do you think of the age? is 24 years old still young to learn a programming language? well programming as a whole, in fact.

@ cerebral, I see, thats why you like Final Fantasy on the NES, because of the puzzles. big_smile Well, I think I will start digging at ruby some more. I do have a genuine interest, it really looks like fun to me now, but I just don't seem to keep at it. I think this is mainly because of not having a project in which I'm working on to put my skills to the test.

Last edited by kensai (2008-02-19 14:20:48)


Follow me in: Identi.ca, Twitter, Google+

Offline

#6 2008-02-19 14:58:59

Mr Green
Forum Fellow
From: U.K.
Registered: 2003-12-21
Posts: 5,750

Re: Do I have what it takes?

Emm tough one... I like Ruby syntax better than Python [damn those indents!!!] each to me like chess easy to learn but take forever to master

Both were ok until trying to figure out builtins those _what_the_hell_ stuff!!

Again not having any real task to do with them I lost interest

Yeah you have to have a use for it unless work related or being part of a project then you tend not to keep it going and lose interest

More of a hardware freak,  taking a pile of pieces and creating something

MrG


Mr Green

Offline

#7 2008-02-19 15:09:23

wuischke
Member
From: Suisse Romande
Registered: 2007-01-06
Posts: 630

Re: Do I have what it takes?

Allow me to give you a homework:
Create a program, which takes a number from 1 to 365 as input and tells you which month and which day of month this number represents.
E.g. 87 -> 28.03. or 256 -> 13.08. [I hope I got these numbers right, I calculated it manually]

You need to know how to get an input and how to ouput something, which I think you'll already have learned. Then you need to think of an algorithm to get the month and day of month - this is the hardest part of programming.

If you like puzzles, you'll enjoy thinking about algorithms for such small problems. I bet any of the experienced programmers here will have solved this in an instant, because they got the necessary mindset to solve such problems.

Such puzzles are a great way to learn, because they only take a limited amount of time, you can always chose a puzzle which requires you to learn about new things like e.g. arrays or control structures.

----

I think - at least as long as we are talking about imperative languages - that it doesn't matter which language you learn, unless it encourages writing really bad code. If you like Ruby, use Ruby and don't force any other language upon you because people say it's great.
I personally started programming with a Basic dialect available in our calculators - to write games of course.
The age shouldn't matter.

Offline

#8 2008-02-19 15:39:45

kensai
Member
From: Puerto Rico
Registered: 2005-06-03
Posts: 2,475
Website

Re: Do I have what it takes?

wuischke wrote:

Allow me to give you a homework:
Create a program, which takes a number from 1 to 365 as input and tells you which month and which day of month this number represents.
E.g. 87 -> 28.03. or 256 -> 13.08. [I hope I got these numbers right, I calculated it manually]

HEHE, Thanks, I'll look into these and see how much I suck at programming. big_smile


Follow me in: Identi.ca, Twitter, Google+

Offline

#9 2008-02-19 18:30:33

lloeki
Member
From: France
Registered: 2007-02-20
Posts: 456
Website

Re: Do I have what it takes?

wuischke, I suppose a strftime/strptime (& their pendant in non-C languages) ban is mandatory in this eexercise wink

kensai, aside the above ironic joke, this raises an interesting point in programming learning: know when to reinvent the wheel, and when not to (depending on both your objectives, and the context in which you develop the piece of code)

Last edited by lloeki (2008-02-19 18:34:34)


To know recursion, you must first know recursion.

Offline

#10 2008-02-19 19:49:18

cu3edweb
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2007-10-07
Posts: 291

Re: Do I have what it takes?

kensai wrote:

is 24 years old still young to learn a programming language? well programming as a whole, in fact.

I hope you really don't think that. I am just now starting to learn and I am 27  smile

Offline

#11 2008-02-19 19:52:31

kensai
Member
From: Puerto Rico
Registered: 2005-06-03
Posts: 2,475
Website

Re: Do I have what it takes?

cu3edweb wrote:
kensai wrote:

is 24 years old still young to learn a programming language? well programming as a whole, in fact.

I hope you really don't think that. I am just now starting to learn and I am 27  smile

You know what, your post brings inspiration to me, such an old guy is trying to learn programming, and I can't? lol Joking.


Follow me in: Identi.ca, Twitter, Google+

Offline

#12 2008-02-19 20:19:57

peets
Member
From: Montreal
Registered: 2007-01-11
Posts: 936
Website

Re: Do I have what it takes?

lloeki wrote:

an interesting point in programming learning: know when to reinvent the wheel, and when not to (depending on both your objectives, and the context in which you develop the piece of code)

I'd even say: never re-invent the wheel, unless you're trying to learn how it works --but then you'll end up using the original wheel anyway. There is a wealth of free software available that has had time to mature: make good use of it.

Of course, if the wheel has a whole bunch of limitations that you know how to surpass, then please re-invent it!

Offline

#13 2008-02-19 20:33:38

kensai
Member
From: Puerto Rico
Registered: 2005-06-03
Posts: 2,475
Website

Re: Do I have what it takes?

I think I will take Ruby as my language of choice for learning to program. Is true that python can be easier because, the "one way to do one thing" approach against the "a lot of ways to do one thing" approach by Ruby. But in the end, I don't know why, Ruby appeals to me, it looks elegant and professional, it looks like it has life, like I'm writing in pure English. lets see how this all fairs, one week with Ruby.

Maybe, I can take on the project of writing the Linux kernel in Ruby. lol another one of my jokes.

Last edited by kensai (2008-02-19 20:34:03)


Follow me in: Identi.ca, Twitter, Google+

Offline

#14 2008-02-19 21:19:04

cu3edweb
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2007-10-07
Posts: 291

Re: Do I have what it takes?

kensai wrote:

You know what, your post brings inspiration to me, such an old guy is trying to learn programming, and I can't? lol Joking.

I am glad an old man such as myself can bring inspiration lol

Offline

#15 2008-02-19 22:24:08

buttons
Member
From: NJ, USA
Registered: 2007-08-04
Posts: 618

Re: Do I have what it takes?

lloeki wrote:

kensai, aside the above ironic joke, this raises an interesting point in programming learning: know when to reinvent the wheel, and when not to (depending on both your objectives, and the context in which you develop the piece of code)

It sounds like you do this sort of thing for a living.

Unless it bores you, reinvent every wheel-like object you come across.

You don't need to go and code a TCP/IP stack when a simple webserver is one line with the python standard libs, but don't use someone else's code to parse a text file, either.  By far the best way to learn is to research the problem, maybe look through someone else's code, and do it yourself, anyway.

It's honestly not difficult to "learn to program" (just loops and conditionals, in ANY language), the trouble is finding problems.  Implementing a word search given a set of seven SCRABBLE letters is dead easy, but would you have thought of it while you played the game?


Cthulhu For President!

Offline

#16 2008-02-22 05:16:43

Canute
Member
From: Norway
Registered: 2007-04-23
Posts: 21

Re: Do I have what it takes?

If you want some programming "assignments", I'd recommend Project Euler. It's basicly just a collection of math problems which can be solved by programming. E.g. The first assignment is "Add all the natural numbers below 1000 that are multiples of 3 or 5.". Now, after you're done you enter the solution, and then you after you can discuss what the best solution is.

I find it very intriguing when people post how you'd do it in a _completely_ different way. You can be damn sure that even though you think you've written the best possible program to do it, someone else has done a better job. Also it's kinda funny when people post a program in assembly, because personally I don't understand anything of it.

Last edited by Canute (2008-02-22 05:20:42)

Offline

#17 2008-02-23 12:26:56

kensai
Member
From: Puerto Rico
Registered: 2005-06-03
Posts: 2,475
Website

Re: Do I have what it takes?

Well, I don't like math problems that much, thats the part of the book where everything gets boring for me. Even tough I accomplished the exercises of mathematics the book gave me, it just bored me.


Follow me in: Identi.ca, Twitter, Google+

Offline

#18 2008-02-23 14:50:18

Issh
Member
Registered: 2007-12-02
Posts: 58

Re: Do I have what it takes?

I learned Lua as my first language, still learning whilst playing WoW ^^

Offline

#19 2008-02-24 18:51:06

sen
Member
From: .de
Registered: 2007-02-18
Posts: 152
Website

Re: Do I have what it takes?

kensai wrote:

Well, I don't like math problems that much, thats the part of the book where everything gets boring for me. Even tough I accomplished the exercises of mathematics the book gave me, it just bored me.

Yeah, I'm with you here.

I'm a programming newbie as well but this lessons bored me off every time. For me the easiest method to learn programming is to create something that is actually useful. This way you have the feeling that you working on something 'meaningful' and this actually helps to keep you interested and raises your ambition.
You can't start with a big project on the beginning because you need to know the basics first but when you have them and start a project you're programming skills will evolve with it (you'll automatically see the need to look at tutorials and so on). At least this is the easiest way for me... but it probably takes more time than just doing lessons. wink

I started with (bash-)scripting by the way and then 'moved' to programming. It's easy and a good start in my opinion.

Offline

#20 2008-02-24 20:01:29

jacko
Member
Registered: 2007-11-23
Posts: 840

Re: Do I have what it takes?

I started with (bash-)scripting

I started with 'basic' on an old ass pc in high school. I found scripting languages to be more approachable for me when first learning. I was the kid who finished the course halfway through the year and was given free rein to do as I so chose to for the other half of the year. My nitch was graphical drawing. Amazing how much you could do with a scripting language like 'basic', as basic as it was.

One of the best ways to learn programming is to see how it is used. Read, read, and read all the code u can get your hands on. The best way to learn is by example.

BTW, math is a very intricate part of programming, u are really powerless with out it. Especially when u wanna get more in depth with your programming, u will almost always have to use math to solve a problem. Think graphics...

the date problem wuiscke posted above is a very simple program but hinges purely on math to deduce the answer!

Offline

#21 2008-02-24 21:43:30

Borosai
Member
From: Sandy Appendix, U.S.A.
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 227

Re: Do I have what it takes?

I'm in a similar situation. I'm 27 (practically 28) and I only recently decided to seriously try my hand at programming. I chose to start with Java for various reasons, and I've been learning for approximately 7 weeks (mainly with a book, but also with some tutorials from the Java site). I feel that I'm learning (and retaining) most of the things I have studied, but nothing can replace practice (just like any language, including spoken languages). But I also wonder whether or not I have what it takes. I have always done well in math courses, but it has been a while since I've taken any, so I would have to review a lot to understand/implement more advanced problem-solving strategies common in programming. In addition to that, I'm also uncertain about my attention span (I tend to jump from one interest to another). However, at this point I've decided to not worry about that - I will finish studying and at some point I'll decide whether or not to continue (working with Java or learning another language down the line).

My motivation for learning is simple: to create. I want to be able to produce programs on my own - to solve my own problems. Is it necessary? Probably not, since there are so many talented programmers out there. But if I can learn, why not? I also like learning languages (specifically spoken languages) so this is just an extension of that desire to communicate effectively. Anyway, the only way to know for certain is to do it. You'll figure it out at some point.

Offline

#22 2008-02-26 11:50:25

rossm
Member
From: Australia/Melbourne
Registered: 2006-09-25
Posts: 15

Re: Do I have what it takes?

Whoa guys! Too old in your twenties?? I started to learn bash scripting in my late 40's when I found myself almost accidentally administering a small ISP. Since then I have progressed to Perl and PHP which has turned out to be my forte. Never too old.

It may be that as you get older you need to find different ways to learn. For some people the solution may be, as Jacko says, and

"Read, read, and read all the code u can get your hands on."

or to set yourself tasks that are part of larger projects that you would like to be able to do and sit down with the manuals until you find the way for yourself. Read forum's and tutorial's. Ask people questions. Go do a course. Whatever it takes for you.

But "too old"? Nah! Who was it said that "to stop learning is to die".

Offline

#23 2008-02-26 13:15:14

foxbunny
Member
From: Serbia
Registered: 2006-10-31
Posts: 759
Website

Re: Do I have what it takes?

@rossm

You just need to take a look at what 'kids' are doing. Can hardly call them kids after that. big_smile

Anyway, @kensai, I tried to get started in Ruby on Rails three times before. It's important to have an important project to work on. Important for you, that is. No point in experimenting on a paid job and sacrificing reputation. big_smile But if you want to create something like your own blog or a simple todo list (something you will use every day) it can be both fun and rewarding when you are done.

Just going through a tutorial for e-commerce website didn't inspire me, because I don't do e-commerce and have nothing to sell. So I started with a blog system to replace my current Drupal install.

Anyway, good luck, man. If you need any help at all from a total noob, just e-mail me. big_smile

Offline

#24 2008-02-28 17:37:23

SiC
Member
From: Liverpool, England
Registered: 2008-01-10
Posts: 429

Re: Do I have what it takes?

jacko wrote:

BTW, math is a very intricate part of programming, u are really powerless with out it. Especially when u wanna get more in depth with your programming, u will almost always have to use math to solve a problem. Think graphics...

the date problem wuiscke posted above is a very simple program but hinges purely on math to deduce the answer!

I have worked for a number of years as a software developer. My university degree is in Mathematics and Statistics. My PHD neural networks. Which incidentally are entirely math based, despite being computational systems.

Go figure. If you can't grasp math, you will have problems becoming a good developer. I'm not saying that you won't be able to write code, but the best developers are good mathematicians too.

Offline

#25 2008-02-28 22:22:37

lloeki
Member
From: France
Registered: 2007-02-20
Posts: 456
Website

Re: Do I have what it takes?

Go figure.

this sums it up nicely. you won't go anywhere near real software developping without some of this background.

programming is not only about 'writing code', it's also, and mainly in fact, about creating the conceptual backbone behind the code you will write. you have a problem, you find a solution to it. finding the way from point A to point B is like finding the way to prove a mathematical theorem. this is exactly the same reasoning pattern (notably following "le discours de la méthode").

Last edited by lloeki (2008-02-28 22:29:34)


To know recursion, you must first know recursion.

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB