13 Replies - 1446 Views - Last Post: 10 January 2012 - 05:14 AM

#1 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:30 PM

I've been programming for only 7 months (decided to major in CS last Summer) and I have about 3 more years of college ahead of me.

I'm just curious, how much programming is a recent graduate expected to know?

Give me an example of a project that I should be able to handle with ease by then.

This post has been edited by carnivroar: 08 January 2012 - 09:31 PM

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#2 mostyfriedman  Icon User is offline

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Re: How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 08 January 2012 - 10:46 PM

The market is pretty competitive, so you have to have excellent problem solving and programming skills. Also don't expect that school will teach you everything, schools merely teach the basics so you can teach yourself whatever you need later on. So I suppose you should have great understanding of programming concepts regardless of any programming language. You should also be proficient in at least one language, and of course have good problem solving skills (in my opinion that's more important than focusing on learning a lot of languages).
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#3 Cocker081288  Icon User is offline

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Re: How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 04:24 AM

I am currently graduation this year from a sandwich course in software engineering and I agree with mostyfriedman.

I've learnt a lot about coding and programming at university, until this year most of what I had learnt had been the basics, however this year is a bit different but that's mainly because I've chosen effective C++.

I also know people on the course who avoid as many programming languages as they can and end up not being able to programme.

My placement year however gave me a lot of extra knowledge and more depth so I would recommend doing that! It's also got me a guaranteed job should I get a first or a 2 1.
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#4 Shane Hudson  Icon User is offline

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Re: How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:38 AM

How good should you be? As good as you possibly can be!
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#5 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:40 AM

If you cant make an Operating System after graduating then you failed.
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#6 Shane Hudson  Icon User is offline

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Re: How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 06:38 AM

View Postdarek9576, on 09 January 2012 - 12:40 PM, said:

If you cant make an Operating System after graduating then you failed.


I really hope your joking...
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#7 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:28 AM

indeed.
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#8 tarmizi_adam2005  Icon User is offline

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Re: How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 08:36 AM

View Postdarek9576, on 09 January 2012 - 05:40 AM, said:

If you cant make an Operating System after graduating then you failed.



And, If you ever think that you've become an expert in something after college, that means you are actually no expert at all... Learning is a lifelong process.
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#9 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 08:47 AM

Who said anything about being an expert? Whats your point?

This post has been edited by darek9576: 09 January 2012 - 08:48 AM

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#10 codeprada  Icon User is offline

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Re: How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:17 AM

You should be at the very least good enough to pass the courses comfortably. Most of what you'll learn at programming will be self taught in my opinion so don't limit yourself to 'when you graduate' or wait on school to teach you anything. There are literally tons of resources on here and the internet free of charge that can take you pass the level of what your college would teach you.

As mostyfriedman said the market is very competitive and there are always a lot of graduates looking for work. If you are on the same level as the rest then why should you get hired over the other guy/girl? Determine what you want to do and who you want to work for, whether a large company or freelance. This will help you decide what areas you need to target more than others.
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#11 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:03 AM

*
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Argh. A CS program is not a trade school, and only a fool expects it to be. You will not be a great programmer when you finish, and you're not meant to be. You will be ready to become a great programmer.

Picture two kids, interested in computers since they were about thirteen, both programming throughout high school. One of them goes off to college and gets a CS degree, the other lands a job in industry and programs for four years. Now they're both twenty-two. Where are they?

One of them has four years of industry experience, and this is nothing to sneeze at. Assuming he's a smart guy, he's figured out a lot of useful stuff, and he knows how to make a lot of stuff happen. The other guy is you. You're not going to have the programming experience that your counterpart has, period. What you're banking on here is not that you'll spend a lot of money getting the experience that he got paid to get. What you're banking on is that what you do in school will put you in a position to overtake him, now that you're both out and running.

Let that guide you. Learn how to learn fast and well. Learn fundamentals - program all of the basic data structures, write parsers and library code. Reinvent wheels. Learn math. Get smart on all that stuff, and keep in mind that you're still going to be dumb as a rock when you sit down in a cubicle. because the guy who went straight in has been passing harder exams than you for the last four years. He's been putting code into production, you've been putting code into your professor's inbox.

Your career is going to be a long one. Over time, it's absolutely worth spending the time at the beginning to move faster from the start. That should be your goal.

That being said, any good fundamentals course should require you to write a ball-breaking amount of code. This is a good thing. Do not be the whining little turd in the back of the class complaining about how much work is assigned - be the guy who does it first and asks for more. Otherwise you're wasting your money and everyone's time.
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#12 carnivroar  Icon User is offline

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Re: How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 09 January 2012 - 12:36 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 09 January 2012 - 10:03 AM, said:

Argh. A CS program is not a trade school, and only a fool expects it to be. You will not be a great programmer when you finish, and you're not meant to be. You will be ready to become a great programmer.

Picture two kids, interested in computers since they were about thirteen, both programming throughout high school. One of them goes off to college and gets a CS degree, the other lands a job in industry and programs for four years. Now they're both twenty-two. Where are they?

One of them has four years of industry experience, and this is nothing to sneeze at. Assuming he's a smart guy, he's figured out a lot of useful stuff, and he knows how to make a lot of stuff happen. The other guy is you. You're not going to have the programming experience that your counterpart has, period. What you're banking on here is not that you'll spend a lot of money getting the experience that he got paid to get. What you're banking on is that what you do in school will put you in a position to overtake him, now that you're both out and running.

Let that guide you. Learn how to learn fast and well. Learn fundamentals - program all of the basic data structures, write parsers and library code. Reinvent wheels. Learn math. Get smart on all that stuff, and keep in mind that you're still going to be dumb as a rock when you sit down in a cubicle. because the guy who went straight in has been passing harder exams than you for the last four years. He's been putting code into production, you've been putting code into your professor's inbox.

Your career is going to be a long one. Over time, it's absolutely worth spending the time at the beginning to move faster from the start. That should be your goal.

That being said, any good fundamentals course should require you to write a ball-breaking amount of code. This is a good thing. Do not be the whining little turd in the back of the class complaining about how much work is assigned - be the guy who does it first and asks for more. Otherwise you're wasting your money and everyone's time.


Great reply. Thank you. And thanks to everyone that posted, too.

I'm asking because I love programming and I study a lot beyond my course materials. But sometimes I get intimidated when something I try studying is beyond my current skills. Then I think to myself, "maybe I should just stick to the basics for now", but I hope I'm not retarding myself.
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#13 111027  Icon User is offline

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Re: How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:59 AM

There is a time and place for everything, and when it comes to college, it's the time to study. Some have said that it's not meant to teach you everything - and that is true. However, the professors are usually helpful, and will probably be able to help you on independent studies when you get stuck. So learn a lot - master whatever they're teaching you there, and go over it. Program a lot - and i can't stress this enough - and then program some more. Rewrite libraries. Study algorithms. Optimize your rewritten code. Make it the best you can. And whenever you see a new program or function in a library, ask yourself: "How'd they to that? It is the best way to learn in my experience.
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#14 time4f5  Icon User is offline

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Re: How good should I be at programming when I graduate?

Posted 10 January 2012 - 05:14 AM

View Postcarnivroar, on 09 January 2012 - 12:36 PM, said:

Great reply. Thank you. And thanks to everyone that posted, too.

I'm asking because I love programming and I study a lot beyond my course materials. But sometimes I get intimidated when something I try studying is beyond my current skills. Then I think to myself, "maybe I should just stick to the basics for now", but I hope I'm not retarding myself.


I think it is a great question. I'm currently about half way through my masters in CS. We don't code hardly at all, at least not like I did during my undergrad classes. It is all theory and abstract topics. It is expected that you have the basic understanding of coding from your undergrad. I'm focusing on topics like Regular expressions, chomsky notation, intelligent design, distributed systems and multithreading, just to give an idea. I guess if you were going for a software engineering masters it would focus more of coding. Every one in the classes are doing their own projects outside of the classes. As mentioned above, much of learning will happen on your own. your professors will teach you the definitions and give mini assignments (battleship games) but I would encourage you to find a group of friends and brainstorm some cool projects to work on. then as a team develop it. you'll learn so much from each other and the process.

to answer your original question, after graduating if you just learn from the classes (classroom learning, not OO) you'll have a lot to learn at your first job. but it is a lot of fun. it is important to think about the future and jobs and stuff, but you'll get more from hacking out a bunch of stuff.
-my two cents
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