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#1 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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I Need A Problem

Posted 23 September 2010 - 10:53 AM

What is the best way to turn ones self into a true Software Engineer?

I have looked over these forums many times, looking for a simple answer to this question; I never found that simple answer. However, what I did come to understand is even better.

I think that, until recently, I have misunderstood the concept of Software Engineering. Somehow I overlooked the fact that entire point of this profession is to take new and innovative ideas and use these ideas to open previously unopened doors. This seems pretty obvious, but it wasn't to me at the time.

I now believe that the best way to become a Software Engineer isn't by learning as many languages and as much theory as possible, by reading countless books, or even by looking at examples laid out by other, more experienced programmers.

Computer Science in university is focused much more on theory than on application, and while this is perfectly respectable, I don't think it would be as beneficial to me as an Engineering degree. I feel that my love for programming will lead me to learn all of the theory that I need. While a degree in Electrical Engineering (or any engineering degree) will give me the ability to think critically about the problems I will face, not only in my career but in everyday life as well, and how to solve these problems effectively.

I feel that the best thing I can do to prepare myself for a career in Software Engineering is to find a problem and solve it. I could easily find a problem that needs to be solved, but I don't want the problem to be my choice. So, I am asking my friends here at Dream.In.Code to help me out. I need a problem. I want everyone here to be my clients. What problems do you need fixed?

(It should be understood that you shouldn't actually expect me to come up with any world class solutions, as I am actually quite the noob when it comes to programming!)

:) Cheers.

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Replies To: I Need A Problem

#2 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: I Need A Problem

Posted 23 September 2010 - 11:03 AM

Nicely put but it still boils down to the same "Someone find me a project" question that has been addressed here at least 20 times in the last 2 months.

I'm sure you could find one of these threads will little difficulty and pick any of the 100-ish projects that have been suggested.
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#3 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: I Need A Problem

Posted 23 September 2010 - 11:12 AM

I have looked at both Martyr's and PsychoCoder's lists. I have even attempted a few of these ideas. That isn't what I am looking for though.

I am looking for someone that is willing to present my with a real problem. It could be something that you had to deal with when at some point in your career, or something that would just make your life a little more convenient. I don't want to pick something myself because that would be too easy.

I know this sounds like I am asking for an idea and I suppose that is what I am doing, but I promise you it isn't because I am too lazy to find one myself.

I want someone to say this is what the problem is, this is what you can and can not do to come up with a solution. See what I am getting at?
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#4 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: I Need A Problem

Posted 23 September 2010 - 11:18 AM

View Post.TheEngineer, on 23 September 2010 - 10:12 AM, said:

I have looked at both Martyr's and PsychoCoder's lists. I have even attempted a few of these ideas. That isn't what I am looking for though.

I am looking for someone that is willing to present my with a real problem. It could be something that you had to deal with when at some point in your career, or something that would just make your life a little more convenient. I don't want to pick something myself because that would be too easy.

I know this sounds like I am asking for an idea and I suppose that is what I am doing, but I promise you it isn't because I am too lazy to find one myself.

I want someone to say this is what the problem is, this is what you can and can not do to come up with a solution. See what I am getting at?


Might I suggest you look at the RentACoder.com job postings? You don't have to bid on the job and get caught in a situation where you can't deliver. Just look at the postings from real-world clients with real-world needs. Then build the solutions.

This is kinda how I got into computer graphics. I shattered my knee and was stuck in a wheel chair for months. I go so bored I started rebuilding newspaper ads against a stopwatch to see how fast I could reproduce them.
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#5 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: I Need A Problem

Posted 23 September 2010 - 11:21 AM

That sounds like a grand idea and is precisely what I am looking for! Thanks! How's your knee nowadays?

EDIT: By the way, RentACoder.com is now vWorker.com! Just thought I would let you know.

This post has been edited by .TheEngineer: 23 September 2010 - 11:21 AM

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#6 AdamSpeight2008  Icon User is offline

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Re: I Need A Problem

Posted 23 September 2010 - 11:26 AM

How do make yourself better at anything.
1. Practice, Practice and a Double Helping of Practice.
2. Actually doing for real. Take on jobs.
3. Fail a few times and learn not to.
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#7 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: I Need A Problem

Posted 23 September 2010 - 11:28 AM

View Post.TheEngineer, on 23 September 2010 - 10:21 AM, said:

How's your knee nowadays?


Do I know you - or did you read my blog? I didn't think anyone actually looked at anything but the travel photos. :detective:

Oh- duh. I just mentioned the knee. Never mind. <more Starbucks>

Knee is no problem All good for years. Thanks for asking
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#8 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: I Need A Problem

Posted 23 September 2010 - 11:37 AM

No worries, post a link to your blog, I'd love to read it.
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#9 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: I Need A Problem

Posted 23 September 2010 - 11:50 AM

It's listed on my profile page.. but here it is for easy click.

http://web.me.com/tl...ld/Welcome.html
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#10 Oler1s  Icon User is offline

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Re: I Need A Problem

Posted 23 September 2010 - 06:49 PM

I'll bite.

Quote

I am looking for someone that is willing to present my with a real problem. It could be something that you had to deal with when at some point in your career, or something that would just make your life a little more convenient. I don't want to pick something myself because that would be too easy.
Here's a real problem I'm tackling now (and I've done it before). Random name generation.

I'm doing this now for a small game I'm making, but I've done it before to give identifiers to procedurally generated resources or agents (e.g. genetic algorithms). It's much nicer than a hash or unique identifier.

One approach is to randomly pick alphabets for some random string length. For more pronounceable names, you can alternate between vowels and consonants. However, this still leads to awkwardly random variations. Sometimes you get a nice name. Often it's just a weird name. It would be nice if you could emulate English or Western naming patterns, but still randomly generate the names. Note, I mean generate, not pick exactly out of a fixed list of names.

So you need to build a library of code that can generate names. This is an exercise, so you can use whatever language(s) you want. Here are some specific requirements.

Ultimately, you want your entire functionality exposed as something like a single function that generates a name. Pick a sane interface. Maybe you just take a length, or maybe you pick a random name length yourself. You have some freedom. But it should be something easy to use. A single function to call is an example of easy to use. Or maybe a bit more complex, but still straightforward.

You can depend on file data. If you want to store some kind of dictionary or something, that's fine. It just can't be enormous (like 10MB) or something ridiculous. Assume ASCII character set.

If you make use of third party text, make sure there are no bad licensing restrictions. For example, you can download English dictionaries of the web. Make sure if you do so, you aren't restricted in annoying ways. What's annoying? No commercial usage, for example.

This is a real problem to solve. If you're stuck fishing for direction, let me know and I'll point out the starting approaches (the mathematical model and how I'm analyzing English text), and you can build on the base theory.
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#11 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: I Need A Problem

Posted 23 September 2010 - 06:55 PM

That sounds like a lot of fun, Oler1s! If I had more free time, I'd take up on that problem as well. :)
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#12 Brewer  Icon User is offline

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Re: I Need A Problem

Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:13 PM

I agree with Macosxnerd101, that sounds like a terrific challenge!

Just to clarify though, I will try to use an example. When creating a character in an MMORPG you have to choose a name for the character; in some games (World of Warcraft for example), there is a button that, when clicked, will generate a random, possible name. Is this what you are looking for?

If it is then I have a suggestion of something else you might want to try. Before the random name is printed, check it against a database of existing usernames to make sure that it isn't already in use. This occurs when using the random name button in World of Warcraft and it is pretty annoying to be honest.

Just a thought. :)
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#13 Oler1s  Icon User is offline

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Re: I Need A Problem

Posted 24 September 2010 - 07:55 AM

Quote

Just to clarify though, I will try to use an example. When creating a character in an MMORPG you have to choose a name for the character; in some games (World of Warcraft for example), there is a button that, when clicked, will generate a random, possible name. Is this what you are looking for?
Sure, something like that. But the point of this exercise is to focus on name generation rather than how that name is exactly used.

Quote

Before the random name is printed, check it against a database of existing usernames to make sure that it isn't already in use.
That's only true if the random name is a username. I never said I'm generating usernames. Again, the particular context is irrelevant. This name generator shouldn't be coupled to a context anyway.
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