Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

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#1 brep  Icon User is offline

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Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 08:26 AM

Hello everyone.

I am currently self-teaching myself C#, and whenever I come across something that doesn't make sense to me, I always wish that I had a professional instructor, since they will usually be able to explain the concepts of programming much better than if you tried to do it yourself.

I also recognize, however, that being self-taught allows you the flexiblity of managing your own learning schedule (such as I will learn chapter 5 and then I will learn chapter 25 etc.), which can be beneficial in many situations. It also usually helps you learn how to solve problems on your own.

What about all of you? Which do you think is better in the long run?

P.S. I don't know if this is the appropriate place to put this topic. Any necessary moves by the moderators to the appropriate forum would be greatly appreciated

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#2 RetardedGenius  Icon User is offline

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 08:35 AM

What about </dream.in.code>? When you post a question here you receive an answer from an expert in that programming language or field, who actually applies that knowledge on a daily basis in their job. What could be better? :)
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#3 brep  Icon User is offline

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 08:39 AM

True, this website is incredibly awesome. :D

But I'm talking about true self-teaching yourself a language vs. having a true professional instructor, such as those at a university.

I do not mean to down vote any professionals here, for they are very helpful in their areas. :)
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#4 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 08:44 AM

View Postpreb, on 18 September 2011 - 09:26 AM, said:

I will learn chapter 5 and then I will learn chapter 25 etc.


Learning from well written self-teaching books *is* learning from professionals.
Sometimes there is more than one way to describe something, so having a couple books by different authors can be a good thing. Plus the entire internet is at your disposal. How many more professionals could one ask for?

If you are skipping around from chapter 5 to chapter 25 however, you're just making life hard on yourself. There is a reason the author wrote the book in a given sequence. They are trying to teach you the right things in the right order based on years of experience.

If by "professionals" you mean university... Just for reference, our company and everyone we work with won't hire university graduates until they have AT LEAST 5 years of real-world experience because in reality they have far more ego than skill.

It never hurts to have more resources at your disposal. You may have noticed that a couple of the big box book stores are going bankrupt. It could be worth your while to check out the store closing sales for more books at a good price. In the mean time, maybe these resources will help you on your journey.



Don't try to create a useful working program to fit a need of yours (or a for-pay contract) as your introduction to coding project. When you are learning to code you don't know enough to code a program, let alone know how to engineer the architecture of a program. It would be like saying "I don't know how to read sheet music, or play an instrument. I think I'll write a 3act opera as my first learning experience."

I don't say this to be mean. We've seen lots of new coders take this approach and we know it doesn't work. Trying to design your own programs before you understand the basics of the code language you've chosen just leads to problems, frustrations, and 'swiss-cheese' education (lots of holes).


Resources, references and suggestions for new programmers. - Updated Sep 2011
Spoiler

This post has been edited by tlhIn`toq: 18 September 2011 - 08:46 AM

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#5 brep  Icon User is offline

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 08:47 AM

Thanks for the reply.

That is an interesting persepective you gave there. I never realized that reading books is learning from professionals.

I guess there isn't much difference then.

BTW, I only did the chapter reference as an example. I know how crazy that would be to skip 20 chapters at once. :)
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#6 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 08:51 AM

A lot of us here are very much self-taught. Honestly, I'm not enthralled with introductory programming classes, in either high school or college. They're very broken, and the instructors are usually far from great. If I was going to have someone teach me, I'd prefer it to be someone who has worked with the language outside of academia, as either a hobby and done some serious development or professionally.

There have been many times I've come across concepts and tools early on that were frankly above me at that point in my programming career. I simply went back to more of the basics, pushed myself a little more, and as time progressed, I was better able to learn those things.

Also, if you have a question, you are always welcome to open up a thread here. :)
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#7 brep  Icon User is offline

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:22 AM

Thank you all for your replies.

@macosxnerd101 - I have another question. Don't you need a computer programming degree from an academia-based curriculum in order to get a successful job? I do respect your viewpoint, it's just that many employers are very conscientious on your education.

This post has been edited by preb: 18 September 2011 - 09:23 AM

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#8 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:24 AM

Not always, though some employers may require a degree. Many of our members here work in the field without a degree. I am one of them. Just make sure you can show you know your stuff- with or without a degree. :)
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#9 brep  Icon User is offline

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:26 AM

Huh, I didn't know that.

What type of specific computer programming jobs are there that you can get without a degree?
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#10 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:27 AM

I'm an Android developer. There are many Java, C#, PHP, .NET, etc., developers that don't have a degree. There are also many with a degree. Keep in mind that a lot of students also come out of school with a degree, but can't program. So college != come out a programmer.
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#11 brep  Icon User is offline

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:30 AM

I see. Thank you for the advice. :^:
I will consider this option, though I will probably go get a degree if I want to be a programmer, just to be on the safe side. :)

This post has been edited by preb: 18 September 2011 - 09:31 AM

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#12 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:34 AM

Just to back up what macosxnerd is saying, the short answer is no. Companies are not always looking for some kind of degree. They are more concerned with what your skills are, what you have accomplished and what you can actually do for them. While a degree does help occasionally, I have seen many developers land high profile jobs just because they have a portfolio showing work they have done and was able to translate that project into one simple fact.... how it made money or cut costs.

A company will take a self taught hobby programmer over a university student over the mere fact that the hobby programmer created a tool that made their company an additional 200k a year or saved 100 man hours a month. They are proven!

So what should you take from this? One of the most important things you can have, whether a student or not, is to have a portfolio of work and for each example you have in it you have a story about how this item:

1) Solved a problem
2) Made money and how much
3) Cut costs and how much that saved
4) The item can relate to their business and goals.

Bring the portfolio with you every interview. If they don't seem too excited at first, break it out and show them why they should be excited about you and what you can do for them.

:)
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#13 jonesa01  Icon User is offline

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:39 AM

View Postpreb, on 18 September 2011 - 10:26 AM, said:

Huh, I didn't know that.

What type of specific computer programming jobs are there that you can get without a degree?


You should not be limited by not doing a degree, I mean if you have a good portfolio, a variety of experiences and able to make yourself stand out I don't see there will be a problem. I dont have a degree myself and I am doing a degree in something totally different. I started off as a freelancer making money here and there not much and occasionally do stuff for free for friends. Make yourself known and it will pay off in the end. I have got a programming job with a friend (part time) who pays me per project I do, but as I get a constant flow of projects I dont need to work elsewhere. With no degree I just showed my capabilities and its worked fine for me.
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#14 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:43 AM

View Postpreb, on 18 September 2011 - 10:26 AM, said:

What type of specific computer programming jobs are there that you can get without a degree?


<no degree, all self-taught>

I'm a Windows desktop application developer. I work for a company that makes ride-photo systems for amusement parks. You know when you go down a roller coaster, then they sell you your photo of you screaming? That's our fault!!

So I make applications that talk to cameras, scanners, client/server sales systems, multi-monitor displays, greenscreen systems, high-speed/high-resolution specialty stuff, systems that track guests throughout the park in real time, etc.

So I get paid to play with all the latest tech, then travel to destination resorts and install them. I filled my passport in the first 2 years of working for this company and had to add more pages. Not bad for no university.

UPDATE: Yes that means I get to ride everything from zip lines to underground river rafts, over and over, as part of my job. - Oh darn.

This post has been edited by tlhIn`toq: 18 September 2011 - 09:46 AM

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#15 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Self-taught vs. Professional instuructor

Posted 18 September 2011 - 09:53 AM

I think sometimes its an age and generational thing to.
A 25 year old is more expected to have college for this stuff.
For those of us that are 45+ however, there was no college course for this stuff when we were college age. I grew up on paper terminals that connected to BBS systems via an acoustic couple telephone modem.

My Army technology training included equipment that had 8 bytes of memory on a board 2 foot square, by way of electro-magnetic cores.

The 45+ generation invented the technology that today's 20-somethings are now studying. So employers take a little of that into account. How many 20's can say they BUILT their Heathkit computer one component at a time with a soldering iron?
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