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#1 Core  Icon User is offline

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[Programming Languages/Technology] Learning Curve

Post icon  Posted 01 July 2009 - 10:41 AM

All the time developers have to learn new technologies. This is a permanent process that nobody can stop - only adapt to it. As you see, the programming languages and techniques are updated almost weekly. New languages arise while others disappear and are forgotten.

Still, we all have to update our knowledge according to the new developments. How easy is for you guys, developers or future developers, to understand the new concepts and apply the new knowledge? How long does it take you to learn a new programming language or technology, for example?

From my own experience I can say that I always easily grasped the new concepts. When I started programming I got into it pretty easy and now when it comes to new programming languages or computer technologies, it takes me probably 2 or 3 weeks to learn the main concepts and fundamentals and then it goes fairly fast into advanced classes and libraries.

What about you?

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Replies To: [Programming Languages/Technology] Learning Curve

#2 PsychoCoder  Icon User is offline

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Re: [Programming Languages/Technology] Learning Curve

Posted 01 July 2009 - 10:47 AM

Fortunately for developers, at least in my experience, once you have a firm grasp of the concepts of a language (or programming in general) it's relatively easy to learn new things. Languages may change but the core concepts haven't changed all that much over the years.

I find it rather easy for me to learn new languages and technologies because I look at it from the perspective that the language/technology may be new but the underlying concepts are still the same, it's just the wrapper that houses the concepts has changed. When I first started programming (many eons ago) I was always terrified when it came to learning a new language, but after a while I realized that all languages are designed to accomplish the same task. The syntax's may vary but the underlying logic remains the same.

Just my 2 :)
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#3 Smurphy  Icon User is offline

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Re: [Programming Languages/Technology] Learning Curve

Posted 01 July 2009 - 12:15 PM

While I am not near as experienced as either of you. Nor do I have as many languages under my belt. I have found that it is indeed easier to grasp new languages. Also I have found that without even fully knowing a language IE. Visual Basic I have still helped people solve problems in it.
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#4 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: [Programming Languages/Technology] Learning Curve

Posted 01 July 2009 - 03:07 PM

Programming has changed a lot since I first started but many of the fundamental concepts have remained the same. I started with the BASIC programming language, not the visual version. In BASIC there were no classes, no real procedures or functions. There were line numbers that you had to embed into your code. There are few basic things that all langauges I've looked at since have: variables, looping structures and decision branching and arrays.

The first language I looked at with functions and procedures was Pascal. Since then almost every language that I've looked at is basically the same. The fundamental concepts are the same: variables, functions, data structures, looping, conditional branching.

Then object-oriented programming came onto the scene. I started with C++. All languages since then have been pretty much the same. The only real difference is the syntax and the libraries that go with it.

There was a big difference moving from console programming to windowed programming. When you are doing console programming you are basically in control of the program. You tell the user what to do and when to do it. In windowed programming you respond the user.
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#5 toshiro  Icon User is offline

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Re: [Programming Languages/Technology] Learning Curve

Posted 02 July 2009 - 08:59 AM

View PostSixOfEleven, on 1 Jul, 2009 - 02:07 PM, said:

Programming has changed a lot since I first started but many of the fundamental concepts have remained the same. I started with the BASIC programming language, not the visual version. In BASIC there were no classes, no real procedures or functions. There were line numbers that you had to embed into your code. There are few basic things that all langauges I've looked at since have: variables, looping structures and decision branching and arrays.

The first language I looked at with functions and procedures was Pascal. Since then almost every language that I've looked at is basically the same. The fundamental concepts are the same: variables, functions, data structures, looping, conditional branching.

Then object-oriented programming came onto the scene. I started with C++. All languages since then have been pretty much the same. The only real difference is the syntax and the libraries that go with it.

There was a big difference moving from console programming to windowed programming. When you are doing console programming you are basically in control of the program. You tell the user what to do and when to do it. In windowed programming you respond the user.


I've had a similar experience. While I've only been exposed to variants of O-O languages (primarily Java, playing with Python), my big shock came when I went to GUI in java. I had to go for a more robust form of coding, and omit any assumptions I may have about what the user might input. When learning a language, I've become fond of the 'dive into ' series, as this was the vehicle I used to approch Python. In my humble opinion, the core structure of an O-O language is the same, the only changes are in syntax, function construction, and variable declaration/visibility/static vs dynamic.

Cheers
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#6 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: [Programming Languages/Technology] Learning Curve

Posted 02 July 2009 - 09:03 AM

View PostSixOfEleven, on 1 Jul, 2009 - 06:07 PM, said:

Programming has changed a lot since I first started but many of the fundamental concepts have remained the same. I started with the BASIC programming language, not the visual version. In BASIC there were no classes, no real procedures or functions. There were line numbers that you had to embed into your code. There are few basic things that all langauges I've looked at since have: variables, looping structures and decision branching and arrays.

The first language I looked at with functions and procedures was Pascal. Since then almost every language that I've looked at is basically the same. The fundamental concepts are the same: variables, functions, data structures, looping, conditional branching.

Then object-oriented programming came onto the scene. I started with C++. All languages since then have been pretty much the same. The only real difference is the syntax and the libraries that go with it.

There was a big difference moving from console programming to windowed programming. When you are doing console programming you are basically in control of the program. You tell the user what to do and when to do it. In windowed programming you respond the user.


We started very similarly! I started with QuickBASIC in high school. It was hell, until my instructor introduced subroutines. Then we did some Pascal, which was pretty awesome. After that, we did Java, which was a short leap from Pascal. I also agree heavily that the divide isn't among languages (although paradigm shifts can be jarring) but that going from console programming to event driven windowed programming is quite a leap at first.
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#7 robob686  Icon User is offline

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Re: [Programming Languages/Technology] Learning Curve

Posted 13 July 2009 - 09:33 AM

It was pretty difficult for me to learn programming languages and concepts when I first started. I really didn't do too much in the way of programming until I got to college three years ago (still in it by the way). They started me out with Java, my least favorite language to date. I have since learned C++, PHP, Visual Basic, Ruby, and am in the process of learning Perl for an internship I have. Since the preverbial hump of the first language, it has been relatively easy to pick up syntax and concepts for new languages. Usually, depending on how hard I try and how motivated I am, I can pick up a new language in about a month to the point where I can do some really cool stuff with it. Practice, Practice, Practice is the key to learning (for me anyway).
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#8 mono15591  Icon User is offline

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Re: [Programming Languages/Technology] Learning Curve

Posted 22 July 2009 - 10:44 PM

View PostSixOfEleven, on 1 Jul, 2009 - 02:07 PM, said:

Programming has changed a lot since I first started but many of the fundamental concepts have remained the same. I started with the BASIC programming language, not the visual version. In BASIC there were no classes, no real procedures or functions. There were line numbers that you had to embed into your code. There are few basic things that all langauges I've looked at since have: variables, looping structures and decision branching and arrays.

The first language I looked at with functions and procedures was Pascal. Since then almost every language that I've looked at is basically the same. The fundamental concepts are the same: variables, functions, data structures, looping, conditional branching.

Then object-oriented programming came onto the scene. I started with C++. All languages since then have been pretty much the same. The only real difference is the syntax and the libraries that go with it.

There was a big difference moving from console programming to windowed programming. When you are doing console programming you are basically in control of the program. You tell the user what to do and when to do it. In windowed programming you respond the user.


Well I programed in RealBasic my senior year in high school which was all window programs
now I'm am working with C++ and got my feet wet with SDL but do you think me starting with a basic language where everything was event driven will make it easier for me when moving to Windowed projects in C++?

This post has been edited by mono15591: 22 July 2009 - 10:45 PM

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#9 smacdav  Icon User is offline

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Re: [Programming Languages/Technology] Learning Curve

Posted 06 August 2009 - 09:13 PM

I started with BASIC in high school, then FORTRAN 77 in college. I then took a 20 year hiatus from doing any programming. My first modern language was Java. I took to O-O programming pretty easily, unlike most of my classmates at the time. I was even teaching the Java class starting about a year after I took it.

The first time I tried programming a GUI, it took a day of reading the concepts in texts and online, then I understood the idea and I was off. I still don't have much experience with GUIs, but that should change soon. (I'm taking a class this fall on human-computer interfaces.)

Learning new languages is pretty easy for me. It always has been, and the more I learn the easier it is to learn others. This is because, as has been noted before, the basic idea behind any language is pretty much the same. It's just a matter of learning the new vocabulary and syntax.

The only thing I find daunting about keeping up (or catching up, as is really the case for me right now) is just how many different languages there are. Clearly, you can't know them all, but part of me really wants to. :)
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#10 mocker  Icon User is offline

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Re: [Programming Languages/Technology] Learning Curve

Posted 06 August 2009 - 11:20 PM

The language itself is a shallow way to look at programming. Focus on learning new methods, new design, and more about what is going on underneath the language instead. If you've been doing all OO languages, try a functional one. If you've been using all Visual languages, build a server, or a daemon . If you've been building all desktop apps, try working with a web framework. Counting how many languages you can put under your resume is pretty meaningless if they are all just variations on the same theme.
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#11 SpeedisaVirus  Icon User is offline

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Re: [Programming Languages/Technology] Learning Curve

Posted 09 August 2009 - 08:18 AM

View Postmocker, on 6 Aug, 2009 - 10:20 PM, said:

Counting how many languages you can put under your resume is pretty meaningless if they are all just variations on the same theme.


I think I agree with this for the most part. My first language was Java. I had taken 3 classes using Java and using a little Python on my own. Then I took a class using C++. Understanding the principles of OOP I was able to easily come up with solutions to the coursework problems, the most challenging part was dealing with the nuances of the language. A challenge? A little bit but if you know what you are trying to do you can use resources (web, quick guides, books) to figure out how it's done in that particular language. You really need the base knowledge to solve the problems more than detailed language knowledge.

On the other hand I felt that learning a functional language was a bit eye openning. It gave me an entirely new view to look at solving problems. Some of it even helps looking at clean solutions in OO languages ;)
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