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#1 bboyzeez  Icon User is offline

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University in UK

Posted 01 January 2013 - 03:24 PM

hi all, so 5 years ago i took a software development course (BND national diploma) and completed the course then i become ill and was unable to continue on to university into games programming. 5 years later and with only 20 odd days left till next years application deadline i decided to bite the bullet and go for it,

my question is does anyone else on here from the UK go to university or went to university?

i applied to my local universitys but the one i want will be nearly a 2 hour drive every day im there but i really wanted that university 5 years ago and i still feel the same compared to the others.

in them 5 years i was roped into working in my family business but i have been worried that id never leave that job and do something i actually enjoy but feel i am going to need to brush up on my skills compared to the others who will be doing the course probably most coming fresh out of college course etc.

thanks

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Replies To: University in UK

#2 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: University in UK

Posted 01 January 2013 - 04:00 PM

Lots of people here comment that what you learn at UNI in 3 years you can teach yourself from books in 6 months. Even though you were working for your family, if you had used your evenings for 5 years you would be well ahead of that UNI course you are considering.
You may not have paper to show for it, but you will have skills you can show by actually creating useful software that you can put up for sale.

Since you have a family business that means you have your first client. You can learn a great deal and build for your business.


My standard beginner resources post - Updated DEC 2012

You can try to learn C# by dismantling snippets and googling terms - basically you can take a hit-n-miss, shotgun approach. Or you could just follow a proper training program whether it be a couple intro books, school, on-line course or series of tutorials like the ones we offer. I'll tell you from experience that just fumbling around in the dark and trying to teach yourself with no guidance doesn't work. Its like stumbling across a Harrier Jump Jet and trying to teach yourself how to fly with no background in piloting: You simply lack any groundwork to start from. How can you lay out your own training course if you don't already know the material? Would you go to a university where the teacher says "I don't know any of this but we'll fumble through it together?"

We have a tutorials section and a learning C# series of articles.

First learn the language by working 2-5 "Learn C# in 30 days" type books cover to cover. Do a couple hundred on-line tutorial projects where you build what you're told to build, the way you are told to build it WITH AN EXPLANATION OF WHY so you can learn.

There are three routes people seem to take when learning programming.
  • Just start trying to create programs
  • Start taking apart other programs and try to figure out the language by reverse engineering
  • Follow a guided learning course (school or self-teaching books)


For the life of me I can't figure out why people try 1 & 2. I strongly suggest taking the guided learning approach. Those book authors go in a certain order for a reason: They know what they're doing and they know the best order to learn the materials.

Quote

Where do I start?


You start by learning a coding language FIRST.
Learn to plan before you type.
THEN you start designing software with a purpose.


If this sounds like you

Newbie/Rookie said:

I have a little programming experience but I need to write ...
read this section
Spoiler


Otherwise, you can just jump to the resources here:
Some of the tutorials below are for C# or Java not C, C++, VB.NET [...]. But the conceptual stuff of classes, object oriented design, events etc. are not language specific and should give you enough guidance in theory of program development for you to be able to look-up specific code example in your chosen coding language.



Resources, references and suggestions for new programmers. - Updated Oct 2012
Spoiler

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#3 bboyzeez  Icon User is offline

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Re: University in UK

Posted 01 January 2013 - 05:11 PM

ye well this was the thing , the last 5 years i have battled to keep my crohns disease in remission by trying new diets etc so as far as concentratiuon over last 5 years i would not have had the right mind for it. saying that last month i brought this book from my local book store, "computing with C# and .net framework" by Art Gittleman and im basically working myself through that currently just finishing multidimensional arrays going onto event driven programming section next.

but i feel if i get into the course not only will i get back into education but could get my sandwich year as my chance of getting into a company within the computing industry. also a uni means you are allowed to pester your lectures and teachers when you need help and they are used to it haha. i noticed i havent been on here long and have posted quite a few threads within the c# subforums.

my advantage i do have is if they accept me into a university in september 2013 it means i have the next few months to get as much advantage as i can , i am looking into brushing up my maths (apart from algebra im not sure what other actual areas need focusing on) i dont know if it helps but i play alot of strategy type games on my phone and computers just to help my logic and problem solving skills and then i am aiming to get as far as i can with the c# but then look into java as a headstart also.
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#4 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: University in UK

Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:09 PM

I'm from the UK. I did my degree there in a non-comp sci subject and am currently doing a PhD in a slightly more comp sci subject. I also demonstrate in labs and run the occasional tutorial.

My programming is largely self-taught and I'll agree that with some motivation you can learn faster from books and extensive practising. The practising part is key. Do all the tutorial problems and supplement them with as many of your own projects as you can.

The problem I suffered from going the self-taught route was lack of guidance. By the time I got to uni, I had a good level of skill at throwing code together. I did a few programming classes as electives at uni and the knowledge and guidance I gained from them contributed no end to my ability to complete larger, more efficient pieces of software.

A comp-sci degree will ensure you have a minimum breadth and depth to your knowledge. The ideal route if you are serious is to do the degree and supplement it with your own reading. A lecturer from my first degree told us not to read recommended texts or delve only into what we were being taught, but to read around the subject to catch the things we wouldn't encounter on the degree course. I guess my additional reading was in programming instead of whatever my major was, and it has directly lead to what I do today.

If you have questions specific to uni in the UK, please ask. I'll help answer them if I can.
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#5 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: University in UK

Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:13 PM

Quote

A comp-sci degree will ensure you have a minimum breadth and depth to your knowledge. The ideal route if you are serious is to do the degree and supplement it with your own reading. A lecturer from my first degree told us not to read recommended texts or delve only into what we were being taught, but to read around the subject to catch the things we wouldn't encounter on the degree course.

I agree with this to a large extent. I also feel strongly that Computer Science is very much an Applied discipline, arguably a branch of Applied Mathematics (or at least there is overlap). So the best way to enhance skillset is to incorporate it with another discipline. Mathematical and scientific computing is an obvious answer, as well as discrete math. Bioinformatics is another, and one I believe cfoley is interested in. There are also computational finance and computational economics. I'm sure there are lots of other fields as well you can work in. But if you are learning about a field and can apply a computational solution, it forces you to learn the topic in greater detail, and it helps you learn how to communicate it (as that is what you are doing when translating the topic to code).
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#6 bboyzeez  Icon User is offline

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Re: University in UK

Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:29 PM

thanks huys for replying :) yes i feel while self learning i am spending alot of time sitting here working out "how" something is done where i feel if i was being taught id be getting taught "why" it is being done and maybe how i am doing it now will help me remember it i just feel being surrounded with others in the workplace will be nice to :) (shame about the costs of university courses going up though) i have applied to universities mainly around the west midlands but also to stafford university and university of bedfordshire.

well on alot of presentations and lectures i have watched on youtube from universities they say to now only know a language as your base but to also learn a scripting language am i right in thinking C# is kinda of a base from C/C++ but then a scripting language like java? would i be best to get a headstart and start using XNA to look at actual game programming to at l;east understand game collision and physics of games?

my final options have opted for actual games programming courses compared to comp science courses as i feel i would like to get taught all aspects of game programming then follow in my favorite subjects
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#7 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: University in UK

Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:37 AM

The line between scripting languages and general purpose languages is pretty blurred nowadays. However, I would say C++, Java and C# are firmly classified as GPP languages. Of the three, I would say Java is least convenient for scripting. You can write a computer game in any language but I think the industry standard is still c++ and that's not likely to change for a long time.

If you want a language to do scripting in, Python and Ruby are the two obvious choices these days. That's not to say they are limited to scripting but they certainly make things easy. The language Lua is often embedded in computer games for scripting.
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#8 bboyzeez  Icon User is offline

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Re: University in UK

Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:16 AM

View Postcfoley, on 03 January 2013 - 01:37 AM, said:

The line between scripting languages and general purpose languages is pretty blurred nowadays. However, I would say C++, Java and C# are firmly classified as GPP languages. Of the three, I would say Java is least convenient for scripting. You can write a computer game in any language but I think the industry standard is still c++ and that's not likely to change for a long time.

If you want a language to do scripting in, Python and Ruby are the two obvious choices these days. That's not to say they are limited to scripting but they certainly make things easy. The language Lua is often embedded in computer games for scripting.



Oh ok so I see my c# is my base and ill look into the courses and see what scripting they do... Technically the logic is all the same but they all have different syntax's? Or are python and ruby completely different?
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#9 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: University in UK

Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:52 AM

Quote

Technically the logic is all the same but they all have different syntax's?


More or less, at least for the languages we are talking about here. :)

To expand, all the languages we are talking about here are object orientated*. These are the most common types of languages and among this set, the main differences are in syntax. I've never learned Ruby or Python but with the online documentation and my knowledge of Java, I've never had a problem throwing a quick script together in either.

If you were to switch from an object orientated language to a functional language you would have to alter your way of thinking about the problem you are trying to solve. This is a bigger difference than mere syntax and many seasoned programmers struggle to write efficient functional programs.

I'm sure there are other kinds of programming language too. :)

Going back to your original advice: one base language and one scripting language. That's great advice for giving you tools to get things done. If you were more interested in accelerating your programming and problem solving skills then I recommend one object orientated language and one functional language. Of course, it's silly to think you can only learn two languages.

* True that they are all object orientated but most of them have some features from functional programming. Most modern languages are both functional and object orientated to some extent. It's shades of gray. The syntax of Python in particular makes it quite easy to program in a functional style. Java won't have any functional features until Java 8 and I don't know of any functional languages with no object orientation support.
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#10 bboyzeez  Icon User is offline

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Re: University in UK

Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:03 AM

ok yes so if i find out which functional language they start to teach at the universities i have chosen and then look into that one it will give me my headstart ( i aim to be able to do what you said and use what i know to be able to create scripts in other languages eventually :) )

thanks looks like i beeter start researching :)

oh a random question (if this question could come up) if someone asked me what kind of level do i rate my C# knowledge ?

if you had to break it down to novice / intermediate and advanced what would you say are them inivisible guidlelines? if that kind of question wouldnt come up at a interview for my university then sorry for asking :)
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#11 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: University in UK

Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:48 PM

That's a difficult question to answer but here is a list of skills in Java that macosnerd101 compiled. He has put them in some sort of order ranging from novice to expert. You could argue the toss about the relative positions of the skills but it should give you a general idea of where you are. I assume it will translate to C# reasonably well.

http://www.dreaminco...ogramming-java/

If I were you, I would make sure you are comfortable with C# before tackling another language. You don't need to be an expert. Just make sure you are comfortable with the concepts and are happy with writing code without constantly referring to your textbook.

This post has been edited by cfoley: 03 January 2013 - 01:48 PM

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#12 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: University in UK

Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:51 PM

We have something similar in C# as well: http://www.dreaminco...%23-start-here/
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