What should an aspiring "programmer" learn?

by RonHamernik 7 replies
Thanks for the help!
#programming #aspiring #learn #programmer
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce Hearder
    Originally Posted by RonHamernik View Post

    Am I wrong to assume that I'd start out with
    100 - word processing
    101 - html
    102 - ?????
    103 . . . . .
    Hi, and I hate to sound like to "right tosser" but if you have to start at word processing and HTML, then I have to say you are a a LOOONNGG way from learning programing.

    Programming is a number of processes that start with beaking down a complex task into smaller managebel peices, identifing the correct technology to make the pieces work and then putting the pieces together to achiev the desired outcome..

    Nothing really to do with wordprocessing, html etc etc.

    If you really want to learn programming, then start with some of the easy languages to work with, such as Visual Basic etc.
    They come with a nice user interface that helps you through the debugging process, plus there a 1000 and 1 books at any half decent book shop on how to get started with VB.

    Then, if you want to move onto web programming, then its time to go to PHP then JavaScript and so on..

    Just my 2c worth and I hope something here helps

    Take care

    Bruce
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  • Profile picture of the author RonHamernik
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    • Profile picture of the author geek4ever
      Originally Posted by RonHamernik View Post

      Thanks for the post.
      So we have . . .
      101. Visual Basic
      102. Php
      103. Javascript
      104. ???

      Where would CSS, Quartz Composer, Ajax, Adobe AIR, and iphone (don't know the language) fit in the curriculum?

      I know I dumbed it down, but I didn't want to take anything for granted. Also, in the programming world, is it more common for the programmer to specialize in one language or element of the language. Or is it more common for programmers to develop a competency in several languages?

      Thanks for the helpful info.
      First you can't call yourself a programmer if you know only one language. IMO, i'll suggest you start off with an interpreted language like python. It's easier to understand the program flow & will help get your hands dirty. Most applications these days are web based, so learning Java won't be a bad idea.

      A program is either compiled or interpreted so that it can be run on a computer. But the java programming language is both compiled and interpreted, multi-plateform (runs within the JVM) and very robust.

      Armed with a language like Java in your arsenal, other procedural languages like C & C++ should be easier to learn.

      Of all your getting, make sure you get Java (the language of the web) & C (the unix / linux language). That's my advice.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sodaware
    First, you really need to learn the fundamentals of programming. Things like loops, functions, recursion, objects, arrays etc. Find a good programming book or set of tutorials, and work through those things first. It's not very exciting, but the principals you learn can be applied to just about every programming language.

    The key is to get the correct mindset to solve problems.

    After that, try out some of the Visual Studio Express products. They're free and quite powerful, but also simple to learn. Do something simple for your first few programs, like a calculator, and then move onto other things.

    Programming takes time to learn, and the field is constantly changing and evolving. There are a lot of programming languages out there, and new ones pop up all the time. What you need to learn depends on what you want to do. If you just want to program for fun, the choices will be very different from if you want to make professional websites or develop games.

    It's probably best to specialise in one language to start with, and broaden your knowledge once you get comfortable.

    Hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author wayfarer
    First of all, HTML is not programming. If you're interested in programming for the web, however, HTML (and CSS) are inseparable from web-development. Some people call HTML and CSS programming, but that is totally incorrect. They are markup and display languages.

    If you are really interested in programming, one of the best things you can do is take a general programming course. The language you study is not important, as long as it contains all of the standard language constructs (as excellently pointed out by Sodaware above). Understanding language constructs are the key to becoming really proficient in the language of your choice.

    To take things a step further, your should consider your goals; in other words, what can you accomplish by becoming a good programmer? People like me never studied this in school, but I am a natural because I started teaching myself when I was 13-14 years old. For you it is different. You need to understand now where you are going, and separate it from your assumptions about what programming is. Programming today is highly modularized. This is a fancy way of saying everyone on a team has a very specific job to do, but may be good at many things. You need to eventually understand where you fit in, what type of programmer you are, and to start understanding that, you should have some type of goal, of what you'd like to accomplish, so that you can begin to understand this.

    Let's take web development, for example. Web development, for the dynamic web (as opposed to static), is a three-tiered process:
    1. The design and initial layout - sometimes with some HTML markup (not programming).
    2. The front-end development - this is all coding, but not all programming. The programming part happens in the browser, usually in the realm of JavaScript. HTML and CSS are a big part of this stage of development.
    3. Back-end development - this is the engineering stage, the guts of the machine. In other words, almost all programming. These people are usually very good at database design also, which is essential to the modern dynamic web.
    Usually good developers cross over into multiple categories of development, but we all tend to be really good at one or the other. I'm more of #2, but I do a lot of #3 also.

    There you have it. That is a brief overview of web development today. It takes a while to get to the stage where you can call yourself a programmer, or even be ready to get a job, but anyone with a modicum of intelligence and diligence can achieve it if they have the time and capacity to learn the right set of skills.
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  • Profile picture of the author PettyL111
    you have learn the basic before you go to the other languages... if you know the syntax and the logic then you can hooked it up
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  • Profile picture of the author n7 Studios
    Let's approach this in a slightly different way:

    What do you want to be able to do?

    If you're looking to create basic, static web pages, you might need knowledge of:
    HTML
    CSS
    Javascript
    Image formats
    SEO
    Accessibility
    Usability

    For a full blown content managed system, you might want to learn:
    PHP
    MySQL
    Server Setup
    Security

    In other words, there's more than just programming languages to learn. You need to learn the basics, then the programming language(s), techniques, software, and finally the more advanced considerations - ensuring scripts are secure, optimised etc.

    Others will no doubt say that security considerations are key and should be learnt to begin with - but I find from experience the best way to learn something is just to get on with it. Create a web page, it'll look rubbish the first time. Keep trying, read articles on the internet, improve at what you do, set yourself another challenge - and with each challenge you'll learn something new.
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    • Profile picture of the author Neil Morgan
      It's kind of tricky to answer this because software development is more about experience than mechanics.

      What I mean is, you could easily learn a programming language such as PHP or whatever. But creating a useful, secure application with it is a different matter and requires lots of experience to do it right, especially if it's for public consumption.

      I guess it's a bit like saying you need to learn to write before you can pen a novel.

      Or you need to learn to draw before you can create a masterpiece.

      Until you have experience, the tools available today make it very easy to produce something that doesn't scale, isn't secure, is a nightmare to modify and is basically a dogs dinner.

      I guess what I'm saying is that the concepts, best practice are more important than any language. When you understand the underlying concepts, you can pick up any programming language quite easily because they all do the same things in different ways.

      Nothing will teach you more than just getting stuck in. You'll soon be feeling that "if only I had done it this way" feeling we've all felt! But that means your products will only get better and better.

      Good luck,

      Neil
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