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#1 ryjosch  Icon User is offline

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How to start in Computer Science or Computer Programming

Posted 15 March 2012 - 08:59 PM

More than 30 years ago I had my one and only computer science course, Introduction to Computer Programming, mostly using BASIC. No other computer science courses (except one brief, short course. We had no Windows operating system. We used a keyboard and the monitor only showed us a place onscreen using a symbol, "....>", with a blinking underscore just to the right side of it. When we wrote our programs, we would make stuff which looked like,

10 REM sample
20 print "Sample Program"
30 print "first ten whole numbers"
40 for i = 1 to 10
50 print i
60 next i
70 print
80 Print "Thanks for Running"
90 end


During that one and only course, we learned (or tried hard to learn) about decisions, arrays, string and numeric variables, loops, subroutines, programmer-defined functions. We created flow diagrams to help develop our code/programs.
Since then, after graduating (not in computers or such), I later learned basic computer literacy such as word processing, a little of desktop publishing (like making greeting cards with Print Artist), a little about simple things in spreadsheets, all this and a few other things in Windows (version 98 through Vista). I also know how to use email. Also, I learned some more of BASIC programming using some free and low cost form which works in Windows but I'm sure it is not what most programmers use. I used a couple of personal computers for this.

Note as well, I found that Introductory Programming course to be really, really hard.

So how do I restart learning Computer Science and Programming? So much has changed over 30 years. I'm not good at using tutorials, having never made any progress with them. I've relied on books and only very few forums help for the low cost type of BASIC during the last few years. When I was earlier a student, I attended a class formally with a textbook, lecture, laboratory, and homework.
Advice! Advice! Advice!
Thanks

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Replies To: How to start in Computer Science or Computer Programming

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: How to start in Computer Science or Computer Programming

Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:10 PM

Well pick a language, find a book, and crack it. If cheap is what you are going for a used college textboox place like Abe's books would be helpful.. If you are looking for a solid basic language java's not bad.

If you are looking for more computer theory that's a different story.

The question back at you - what are you looking to learn?
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#3 ryjosch  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to start in Computer Science or Computer Programming

Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:12 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 15 March 2012 - 09:10 PM, said:

Well pick a language, find a book, and crack it. If cheap is what you are going for a used college textboox place like Abe's books would be helpful.. If you are looking for a solid basic language java's not bad.

If you are looking for more computer theory that's a different story.

The question back at you - what are you looking to learn?


Your question back to me seems so simple, but it is not easy since I do not know as much about computer science and programming. I'll try to answer.

I would like to learn what a typical beginning programming student would learn these days. I would like to learn two or so of the most important programming languages which a beginning programming student should currently learn. I might like to create useful and practical programs to help people process information, usually number and text but not necessarily limited to those, in a variety of situations of fields. Possibly I might like to learn how, when, and why to create programs with code which use functions outside the main calling program. Possibly I would like to learn how to arrange interfacing between a computer and electrical instruments and create programs to take in and process information from/to those instruments.

I have written, as representative examples of my skill within the last decade, a simple linear interpolation program, a temperature scale conversion program, and a loan payment calculator; all of my programs have been written in BASIC designed for Windows (but not VB nor Visual BASIC).
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#4 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: How to start in Computer Science or Computer Programming

Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:15 PM

I see.. so you want the "freshman experience"? Just a thought - most universities will let you sit in on a class to "audit" it.. no tests or homework graded but if there's space they'll let you hang
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#5 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: How to start in Computer Science or Computer Programming

Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:41 AM

Auditing a course is a good suggestion. You can also grab the syllabus from most university courses from the course web site and review the material that way. Many universities today are offering "open courseware" - course materials and sometimes video feeds of lectures. Sussman and Abelson's Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs course is probably the most famous of these, but it's pretty high-level stuff.

I'm mostly a java guy, but I tend to steer self-starters towards python, because it's easier and because I don't have to deal with the newbie questions. :) There's a lot of material available on the web for beginners using python. It's a good language for the lazy and impatient, which seems to be most of the beginners out there.
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#6 peace_fixation  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to start in Computer Science or Computer Programming

Posted 24 March 2012 - 02:33 AM

Have a look at this. :)

http://www.udacity.com

I've just taken CS101, and they are offering another course simultaneously (a more advanced one) and another four courses starting April 16th.

I'm studying CS at uni, and this is all the stuff we learn, languages, architecture, data structures and algorithms, some maths, etc. It's revision, plus some new and interesting things for me. Python programming was what drew me to the course as I haven't done any before. I'm going to do the Crypto and Web Application courses next cycle!
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