4 Replies - 1374 Views - Last Post: 21 April 2013 - 09:41 AM

#1 AnonKing  Icon User is offline

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course career college

Posted 19 April 2013 - 07:04 AM

Hello,

I'm a newbie here and I apologize if my question is basic or irrelevant.I just completed my 12th grade and have a passion for Computer science.So planning to pursue Computer Science Engineering/ IT . So during these holidays I would like to know if there are some courses I can take up to improve. I have a basic knowledge about C/C++ as it was part of our syllabus.

So what would you suggest ??

Thanks in advance!!!

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Replies To: course career college

#2 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: course career college

Posted 19 April 2013 - 07:18 AM

Difficult question, for a number of reasons. We have no real idea of what you'd like to pursue - you've really not narrowed down your interests very much.

If you're interested in becoming a better programmer, the best thing to do is to write lots of programs. I'd suggest you use projecteuler.net and rosalind.info as starting points - solve a problem or two a day from those sites and you'll be improving steadily as a programmer for a while to come.

The next thing to do is to learn new languages. If you know C/C++, think about learning a more "functional" language - something like a lisp (Scheme or Racket are great) or possibly python or Ruby.

You might possibly need more math. Mathematical thinking is pretty critical to good programming. Consider trying to learn some stuff about set theory, number theory, or graph theory. The basic math course for CS is called Discrete Math, and it involves bits of all of that, so that would be a good one to take.

You'll definitely want to take Algorithms and Data Structures at some point. If that's available to you, it's worth doing. If it's taught well, it'll exercise both your math and your programming.

But the main thing you should work on is learning how to express your questions more precisely so that you can get answers more tailored to your specific situation, and not just whatever happens to wander through my mind as I'm typing.
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#3 AnonKing  Icon User is offline

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Re: course career college

Posted 19 April 2013 - 07:24 AM

As of now I really dont know what I'm gonna pursue as I'm an amateur .But I like programming and I think I've being OK so far. So how long will it take to learn and understand "FUNCTIONAL" languages lke Python??

And by the way thanks for your reply!
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#4 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: course career college

Posted 19 April 2013 - 07:55 AM

Depends how much time you put into it and how deep you want to go. With python, you can have a pretty good grasp on the language in a few weeks, and you can have a handle on a lot of the important constructs inside a couple of months. There'll be more to learn, but you'll be able to solve interesting problems.

But python is only functional-ish. (I put the term in scare quotes because it's a pretty vague and useless term, but whatever it means, python isn't that)

You can get a lot of interesting stuff about functional programming by working through FriendMan and Felleisen's book, "The Little Schemer". It'll introduce you to a lot of lisp structures and the basic techniques of using recursion and closures to write programs. That might take you a month more or less, depending how much attention you give to it, and it'd be time well spent. You wouldn't be in a position to write any useful programs in scheme when you finish with that book, but you'd be a much better programmer in any language you use.

Functional programming is really just a set of programming idioms, a bunch of ways of executing certain Good Tricks that all programmers do - encapsulating data, avoiding entanglements and tight couplings, keeping code simple and focused, that sort of thing. There's a whole lot of religion about it, but it's really not that big a deal. That being said, the ideas that get called functional programming are getting deeply embedded in all modern languages, so it's worth looking into it.

Martin Odersky has a useful course on coursera called "Functional Programming in Scala". You could learn some interesting things taking that one. Dan Grossman's course called "Programming Languages" has some very useful material in it as well, but he's just absolutely full of dogma, so be sure to have your BS detector set on high when you do that one. Both of those should be available for you to take any time. Nobody will ever care at all about your grade or credits in a coursera course, so don't wait for the course to be "officially started", just watch the lectures and do the assignments and learn the material. It'll work.
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#5 CSatVTftw  Icon User is offline

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Re: course career college

Posted 21 April 2013 - 09:41 AM

Great site I've found is codecademy.com. It's a lot of scripting languages and server-side stuff (Python, Javascript, PHP, HTML) but it's good to get some good programming habits and walk away knowing the basics of some useful languages. You can work as many lessons as you want and it does a really good job of actually teaching as oppose to the ones that just have you copy down and run.
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