Old 07-18-2015, 01:06 AM   #1
whalleydesert
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Default Computer Programming - Advice/Help Please!

(The first paragraph is irrelevant to the question, I won't blame you if you skip it).

All throughout my life I have been very apathetic and laid back. I'm the kind of guy who hasn't done his homework since fifth grade, hasn't participated in the science fair EVER even though it counted a lot as a grade, and quit out of my school's gifted program because I didn't feel like doing the first homework assignment. I felt like if I got 95 - 100's on tests and major tests, I would be allowed to get away with being lazy. It worked, and it is still working, even going into my sophomore year this year. All that being said, of course I regret those decisions. I have always regarded my younger self to be idiotic and irrational, but not until now have I felt that way due to my academic decisions. I have not taken my grades seriously all this time, and I am now worried about my chances of getting into a good college like MIT (I know it's a long shot regardless). This year I am going to try my best to turn it around. I am going to try to do all my classwork, homework, study, ATTEMPT a sport (i'm shy), get back into gifted classes, and most importantly, learn programming, which brings me to why I am composing this thread.

I have been somewhat interested in programming for about two years now, but I have not really attempted to learn it thus far. I enrolled in my high school's class named "intro to digital technology" but we were only instructed in a small amount of HTML towards the end of the course. I am at a crossroad at the moment. I do not know whether I should learn client side, server side, or (if there is another type) another type of programming.. I would like to know of the existence of any articles that explain which one generally makes more income, or about which is used more, and which is more likely to have job openings as well as which is more likely to be innovative in the future. I would also like your opinion on which programming language (or combination of languages) you prefer and why. I would also like to know of any websites or programs that can help me with learning programming. They can be free or cost money.

I would be VERRRRRYYYYYY APPRECIATIVE of anyone who advises me on this, as it may help me find my way in life.
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Old 07-18-2015, 01:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Computer Programming - Advice/Help Please!

man you sound a lot like me except i got away with being lazy and putting zero effort into anything

just like this post where i was going to describe how i taught myself functional coding in R in under a week but im too lazy and also its a language that nobody cares about because matlab is superior and they're both pretty narrowly meant for statistical purposes and not general use like some other more common and universal languages like c++ and other garbage
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Old 07-18-2015, 07:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: Computer Programming - Advice/Help Please!

I'm not a computer science major, it's only a minor in my case, but I can explain to you how it went for me in the two programming courses I've had so far even though I was never interested in programming nor did not have any particular knowledge of any coding until last winter.

Last year around summer when I picked up my new major, the lecture I had the most respect for was Introduction to Software Engineering, which was pretty much a wrap up course into data structures, algorithmics, and an extremely fast paced introduction to Java. They say that once you know a high-level programming language, you can pick up a lot of other languages out there as well (which is true, looking at the open source code of FFR and how I'm somehow able to roughly get the key elements). If you've never heard of object-oriented programming and haven't done any "real" programming language (I wouldn't count HTML as one compared to Java or C), you will have to spend a lot of your free time practising programming for courses like this. Like, I know that some people are talented enough to simply go to classes and know every single thing that was mentioned in the lecture, but in my case I had to do so much revising, writing, and looking at code examples on Google in order to understand what was going on so I could even have a glimpse of a chance to pass the exam.

Continuing on so this doesn't get too long, I did pass the exam, only because I kept revising and doing some self-teaching. I really thought I'm getting the hang of this, until the programming internship this semester started.
Our task for our programming internship was to program a Terraria/2d minecraft clone in Java in groups of 5 (or so it was planned). Keep in mind I only just passed an exam about the BASICS of Java and programming. As a result, it was extremely rough, we did not get any help aside from a tutorial sitting where we presented our weekly milestones for the game, so all of it was mere self-studying.

What I learned is, that if you do not have the will power or endurance to sit through programming sessions where you never know whether they will take long or not, depending on how many errors you will get, or you are not willing to study for yourself, you are probably not going to get very far with your mentioned lazyness. You really have to pick up pace if you want to be good, and I'm pretty sure the competition out there is hardly on a "normal" level.

Short story aside, I cannot completely say for certain which program language to start with. The only advise I can give you is to not start with C or C++, as it requires a more deeper understand of how bits and bytes work inside your computer. What I would recommend (as a computer science minor who has never done anything big) is stepping into the same foot steps of my first lecture and start with Java. Or Python if you want an even "friendlier" language, your choice. You can look up dozens of programming language popularity graphs on the internet and you'll notice that both Java and Python are pretty high up together with all the C-languages.

Unfortunately though, I can't really say much about the use of languages like C, C++, or Java, you'd have to wait for someone more experienced to answer here or try your luck on Google again.

(Google is your very best friend as a beginner programmer btw)

This was only the programming side, there is probably lots of maths that you will be dealing with in College as well. I still hope this helps a bit

Last edited by Xayphon; 07-18-2015 at 07:58 AM..
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: Computer Programming - Advice/Help Please!

Ultimately it depends on what kind of programmer you want to be.

You could be a web developer, you could be a low-level embedded systems programmer (languages like C), a game developer (generally involves Object Oriented Languages such as C++ and Java), a Release Engineer (could involve scripting languages such as Perl, bash, and Python) and so forth.

Python is an intuitive language that's also easy to read, and it is also heavily object oriented along with being very flexible in how it can work with data. My university started with low level languages like C and C++, although I'd say these should wait for a later time.
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Old 07-18-2015, 02:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Computer Programming - Advice/Help Please!

As a start don't feel that starting at a high class University is necessary. Set up some credit transfer paths to numerous universities, from some colleges or technical schools, then dive in somewhere cheap. Take 6 months to a year trying out the different types of programming, as Dossar described, to find out what you're interested in. Focus in on your interests at the same, or another, cheap school to gain the rudimentary skills required to really grasp what it is you'll be starting in on. When you're done with that, if you're still interested, apply for the schools you've set up and transfer your courses in for the electives/filler classes you really don't need for a programming degree.

As for learning to program yourself, I would highly recommend struggling through all of the "impossible challenges of learning programming" now. Crash and burn by yourself, get frustrated by yourself, lack understanding of all of the topics before you go to school. That way when the teacher explains the topic instead of being stuck or confused you'll just laugh at how easy it seems.

There are a lot of resources online to start learning to program.
https://www.khanacademy.org/computin...er-programming
http://c.learncodethehardway.org/book/
https://www.hackerrank.com/
https://www.codecademy.com/

Start somewhere now and fail the easy things early, while it doesn't count.
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Old 07-18-2015, 06:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Computer Programming - Advice/Help Please!

11-hour video teaching the basics of Python:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uq3w6JJS00

I wouldn't be too eager to decide your future so early on. If you keep sitting around and thinking that what language you choose to start with is like the most important decision of your life, you'll never actually do anything.

Necessity is the mother of invention as well. You won't have any fun coding unless you can think of projects you want to try out.

Also, what I've learned from a friend of mine who probably knows about 8 programming languages, learning a particular language is not the destination; there are tons of different ways to accomplish the same thing with different languages, and you probably won't ever have to worry about a "right language to use". Eventually you'll start asking yourself questions like "I know how to do this, but how do you do that in (insert language here)," and then you Google it, and then you'll know how to do that thing.

Side tangent about laziness, I dropped out of high school in tenth grade, got my GED, and just recently got my two-year-degree at a community college with a 3.8 GPA... because... in college, homework isn't always mandatory. In college, if you know all the material, you get an A. At least, that's how it should work, and I'm perfectly fine if people call not wanting to do busy-work laziness.
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Old 07-26-2015, 02:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: Computer Programming - Advice/Help Please!

relevant

http://i.imgur.com/l5qmY90.jpg
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