Programming: Talent or Science?

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64 Replies - 8782 Views - Last Post: 20 February 2010 - 11:01 PM

#16 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:02 PM

Percentage is usually used in a corny "give a 120%" speech.


Programming is one? that doesn't make any sense.
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#17 SwiftStriker00  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:04 PM

Give 110% and you'll get your 1 program? Idk, he was kinda weird.
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#18 nmeans73  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:04 PM

I have found that those who are musically inclined tend to make good programmers. There is a skill gained from singing/playing an instrument that transfers well to the world of programming. Musicians have to pay attention to minute detail such as accidental notes and rhythms. Programming tends to involve a lot of little details which must be right for the program to run properly so the skills gained from music are utilized when it comes to programming.

Personally, I am musically inclined (not a prodigy but music is something that I am talented at) and I have always found programming easy. I am also good at theory when it comes to mathematics so it is easy for me to grasp programming theory as well. The implementation is what tends to get me in trouble when it comes to math/programming which just goes to show that we all have strengths and weakness' and that applies to programming as well.
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#19 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:05 PM

Give 110% or the Matrix becomes a reality. Programming is the One

Professor Nostradamus. :o
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#20 Guest_Matt*


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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:10 PM

View PostMajor Ocelot, on 11 February 2010 - 06:23 AM, said:

I am good at mathematics and other physical sciences but my programming is just bad. Is computer programming like any other science or is it a natural talent? Because I think I am a smart student but Im not just good at this thing.


It is a bit of both but the best way to learn it is to code things that are of interest to you. This site has a great implementation of Dijkstra's Shunting Yard Algorithm. If you like math, write up your own version. Try to write a physics app that takes in values and computes maximum velocity, buoyancy etc. Make it fun and you will learn it. Right now, your professors are more concerned with jamming a bunch of facts in your head about how-to. At some point, it will click.

Also, my college had free tutoring. If your college has resources like this, take advantage of them.

Good luck and don't be afraid to switch majors. Just dont do it too soon. I switched from pharmacy to computer science my second semester of my junior year. Keep trying but do what is right for you :-)

Matt
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#21 YoYo-Pete  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:15 PM

I cant remember anything. Cant spell. Can do algebra well, but crazy math is... well crazy.

What I can do is figure out how things work.

Programming is that. The functions are like gears, levers, and pulleys. You just have to put everything in the right order to get your Rube Goldberg creation to work.

Usually, first time no. But with some tinkering you get it to work.

Now with some work, you can figure out what all those items do and how to use them.

Presto. You have made a program.

Once you start understanding how the language works, then your creations become less Rube Goldberg and start to look more like a sports car.

The biggest secret is....

"Be tenatious, dont give in/up"

You know what you want the program to do, so keep at it till you get there. Take the item you are struggling with and break it into tiny pieces and then work on understanding each one.

Dont start with the advanced app that does everything... start with the simple piece.

"Hello World" is my first in any new language. Why? Cause it's funny for one. And two it actually gives you a base line to start. Can I get item to compile in the environment? Can I get basic syntext right? Can I get it to print "Hello World" onto the screen?
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#22 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:17 PM

I believe that programming is more of a craft than a science. We call it computer science but it is unlike most sciences. In most sciences you postulate theories and prove them experiments that others can verify the results with. There is some science involved of course, but I would say it works the same as physics, chemistry, and other phsical sciences. There are few laws of programming, like Newton's three laws. It is pretty much left up to the individual to figure it out for themselves. That is why it is believed it is impossible to take two programs from two different people and determine if they will produce the same results, in non-trivial cases of course. My programming style is different from everybodyelse's programming style. I admire PsychoCoder's style for example but I don't use the same style. I am a unique individual and have my own way of arriving at a solution.

I find programming is more of a craft, you use your knowledge to craft solutions. You don't follow laws that say you must do it this way and this way only. Like Newton's Law: A body in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an external force. There have been design patterns, algorithms, and such that are good to follow but that doesn't mean they are the only way to accomplish a task.
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#23 NickDMax  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:18 PM

Totally off topic here, but I have never understood the 110% argument -- if one says that a person working 40hrs a week is doing 100% of what is asked of them, then the guy work 44hrs a week is giving 110%.

even if you look at 100% as "full capacity" like a cup that can only hold 8oz of water, so 16oz is 200% the capacity of the cup.

As far as I am concerned someone CAN give 110% because nobody expect 100% to be the total capacity of what a human is capable of, but what is expected. So that argument about "there is no 110%" is just stupidity masked as being clever.

I dunno, maybe I am the stupid one but I have never understood that argument (not that I care to get into it here).
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#24 Martyn.Rae  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:23 PM

I once got 101% in music at school in an exam, I told the Music Master something he didn't know!

Oh was I a nerd or what. rofl.
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#25 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:25 PM

You are right Nick. There was the theory of "man hours" when it came to creating projects. It was disproved because adding more people to project, while it added more "man hours" to a project, did not always help the project finish any faster, and in some cases it even delayed a project farther as the people new to the project had to catch up and use the time of others in the project.

Even in a day to day job we perform at different levels. One day we might get an entire complex class finished, if you are using OOP, and others you may barely scratch the surface. It is something variable that can not be measured, in my opinion.

View PostMartyn.Rae, on 11 February 2010 - 03:23 PM, said:

I once got 101% in music at school in an exam, I told the Music Master something he didn't know!

Oh was I a nerd or what. rofl.


I got 110% on a programming assignment for adding in cool features that went above what the program required, adding in animation, an editor, etc. We are all different individuals and perceive the world in different ways. Measuring one person against another is a hard thing to do.
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#26 NickDMax  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:35 PM

Unfortunately when you say:

Quote

There was the theory of "man hours" when it came to creating projects. It was disproved because...
you seem to assume that the theory has been abandoned. Even with "The Mythical Man Month" being quite old the "man hours" measure is still applied to projects. As a team lead I often have to fight with this idea that adding more developers will get things done faster.

I may be leading a large developer team in a couple of months and have been looking at how to balance "talent" with productivity... I have a strict time line, a moderate task, and a huge pool of developers... I have not confronted this problem in development yet and have been rolling over in my mind how I will approach it. Personally I would like to just find 3-4 developers I have confidence in and just use those... but if I don't utilize everyone and we fall behind, I will get pinged for it.
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#27 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:45 PM

You may be right with that, I have never had to lead a project for a corporation. You do have to justify the cost of the project, in terms of work preformed by your team. You will have to justify bringing additional members into the project if you get behind. I was more trying to say that you are right, you can't measure each person's productivity the same. You might be more productive than other team members you work at a different rate, get more accomplished, etc. Others could be far more productive than you. It is hard to rate a person's productivity in terms of percentages.
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#28 Martyn.Rae  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:47 PM

Quote

I may be leading a large developer team in a couple of months and have been looking at how to balance "talent" with productivity... I have a strict time line, a moderate task, and a huge pool of developers... I have not confronted this problem in development yet and have been rolling over in my mind how I will approach it. Personally I would like to just find 3-4 developers I have confidence in and just use those... but if I don't utilize everyone and we fall behind, I will get pinged for it.


Start off with a few good ones and see how you get on. You do need to monitor progress very carefully though. Call upon 'not quite so good ones' to do periphery or mudane mundane tasks such as make the coffee, get a sandwich etc!

EDIT: Besides you have a team of experts here to help ...

This post has been edited by Martyn.Rae: 11 February 2010 - 01:49 PM

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#29 NickDMax  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 02:04 PM

Trying to tie this back to the original topic-ish:

As a team lead I generally find that some of my programmers are not very "good" at programming. Great at coding though -- if I tell them exactly what to do they can do it beautifully, but programming is SO much more than implementation. A good programmer only needs to be given a high level view and will fill in the steps needed to get from point A to point G. A jr. developer (or poor developer) needs you to map out A goes to B, then you do C, copy D from this last project, write a little glue we will call E, wrap those last two into an interface we will call F and tada -- there is G right there!

Now these Jr/Poor developers are developers -- they know how to program. But they don't know how to solve complex problems using the available tools.
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#30 mostyfriedman  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming: Talent or Science?

Posted 11 February 2010 - 02:08 PM

I believe that programming is a mixture of both talent and science. but like any other craft, it needs A LOT of practice, dedication, and discipline. One cannot just rely on their intelligence and talent, you must always work hard to become better and better.

Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety nine percent perspiration - Thomas Edison
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