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#1 RMckelvie  Icon User is offline

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How to start self-learning

Posted 12 June 2010 - 03:34 AM

Hi there. I am a programming student for a couple of years and right now I am finding it very difficult. What I am asking how do I get started into teaching myself programming.

The reason why I am asking this is because whenever I do college projects, I tend to lose focus and lot of it is copy-pasted as well as asking for a lot of help in assessments. Then when I ask for help or look up Internet sources, there are times where I am not given the correct answer to my problems - which makes it increasingly frustrated.

Although I have no real problems with Java, most of my confusion lies with Visual C# and SQL Server Express - expecially when working with LINQ.

Another problem that I have is to come up with basic projects (nothing too fancy) of my own. Any hints?


My expereince is as follows: Oracle SQL, C++, Java, C#

PS: Apologies for my angst, it's just frustrating that there's all these ideas and scraps of knowledge inside me and I can't seem to produce it onto any code that I write and I take it badly if something doesn't run correctly.

This post has been edited by RMckelvie: 12 June 2010 - 03:41 AM


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Replies To: How to start self-learning

#2 janne_panne  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to start self-learning

Posted 12 June 2010 - 09:29 AM

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I'll try to provide some help.

First of all, I know it can be very frustrating when not finding the correct answers on the Internet. But what else can you do except to continue looking. Try different search words and eventually you'll come up with something close to what you are doing and you can take some hints there. Or post a question to a forum like this after you have looked for a few hours without finding the answer. Well that's my guideline, few hours, as I don't like to be a burden to others and it gives me satisfaction to figure things "on my own" (googling things on my own) instead of just being told "hey dumbass, do it this way". The key thing here is to find the right keywords for your search.

Also download lots of samples. If you need some help with databases, download Northwind database samples on MSDN. There are lots of videos which use that database to do some magic around it and it can be your playground when you want to try something new out. You can also download open source projects and just browse their source code. If it is well documented, it can be a valuable source of information and might give you some new hints of what kind of programming patterns or techniques to use to organize your code better.

If you don't have problems with Java, think how you would do the same thing in Java and then do it in C#. They are similar languages with quite similar libraries so it could help to think like Java but program like C#. And once you have enough experience with C#, stop thinking everything in Java as it kinda sucks and C# rules.

Start your college projects early so you have time to lose focus. When you lose the focus, take a day off maybe and every time you go to take a dump, you think about the project and what kind of features it requires and how you should program them. Once you have taken enough turds and thought about the project enough, get to walmart and buy six pack of coke and microwave pizzas, sit infront of your computer and fire up the Visual Studio and voilà. Best ideas come when you are in WC.

If you have problems with LINQ, don't use it. I don't use LINQ either and I'm doing just fine. Though I'm starting to think I might start to use it as it might give better performance than some loops and would look cool. Or at least cooler than some crappy for (int i = 0; i < gazillion; i++). But LINQ is new thing and not all companies use it yet so no need to panic about not handling it. This is of course the case if your college projects don't require it. If they do, then you just have to suck it up and learn it. But I don't think it is that hard seeing you already have database experience with Oracle. After all, it's just like database commands executed in code instead of running them against database directly with SqlCommand classes and stuff.

And about the projects, just find out what you want to do. Look inside of your heart and find the little trapped programmer who is trying to hack his way out but is just lacking the skills to do so. If you have any hobbies, do a program around those hobbies. If you like to watch movies, do a program where you can store information about the movies you have seen and give them a rating. If you are fond to forget things, create a program where you can set up alarms for different events and it would in some very annoying way to remind you of the upcoming event when it is getting closer. Don't think "this has already been done" or "this has been done and I can't do it better than they did it" or "I don't know how to do that". Just do it anyway and keep in mind that it is just practice. If you don't practice, you won't learn to program and you won't get a job, that's the motivator which should thrive you.
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#3 RMckelvie  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to start self-learning

Posted 13 June 2010 - 03:56 PM

Thanks very much for the advice. I feel a lot better :D
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#4 taylorc8  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to start self-learning

Posted 09 July 2010 - 12:45 AM

I think the irl lulz i got from reading that was worth a point.
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