Programming skills

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#1 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Programming skills

Posted 06 June 2013 - 10:49 PM

So, I have read this article http://www.codinghor...rogramming.html and it made me think about whether I have any chance if becoming a good programmer some day.

So, what I want to ask you, since I know that there are many great programmers in this community, is that when in your life did you think you become really good ( I mean College, workplace, etc. ). And do you think the ability to become a great programmer is native or is it just hunger for knowledge and hard work ?

I have my doubts at the moment because I'm not really good with algorithms but I want to become better, so I began to read Introduction to Algorithms by CLR, is that the right way to start or should have I choosed Sedgewick's Algorithms book.

EDIT: If it matters to anything, next year I'll go to college and this is why I'm asking, I love coding but I'm aware that what I've done so far doesn't even reach the complexity of real projects, but am I making a mistake trying to follow this path if I'm not good at algorithms yet ?

This post has been edited by TwoOfDiamonds: 06 June 2013 - 10:52 PM


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Replies To: Programming skills

#2 Flukeshot  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:28 PM

There is no skill ceiling and everyone is different. Programming is sub-divided.

There are those who are math-geniuses who can put together complex physics algorithms.
There are those who innovate and find better solutions for old problems, or new solutions to new problems.
There are those who have divine foresight that can imagine a program's implementation - then just do it.

There are probably more besides..

There's one important rule for everything in life, though. Never give up.
You'll never get worse at anything until your brain starts to wither, that means you can only get better. So no matter how many times you fall down, get up more.

Are you making a mistake to try to become a coder? The fact that you have at least some rep on this site means that there's some potential in there. If a programmer is what you want to be, then trying is not a mistake.

This, brought to you by a cynic who also hasn't made it yet. Chin up dude. :P
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#3 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:35 PM

And what is your main target when you want to improve as a programmer : algorithms, programming languages, exercises that involve problem solving or starting new projects ?
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#4 Flukeshot  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 06 June 2013 - 11:44 PM

At the moment... I'm a sponge.

I spend most of my free time on D.I.C reading problems and answers, giving some answers when I'm pretty confident about them.
In other words learning from the mistakes of others. I also read plenty of Java eBooks, tutorials and snippets, as well as attempting my own projects based on things I've read.

Soaking up as much knowledge as possible from those who are better than me allows me to make logical leaps that would otherwise take months, maybe years, to make by myself. It's a nice technique to use in any walk of life. I think it's called education. :P

College would certainly boost your speed of learning because it consists purely of handing you the logical leaps that humanity as a whole has taken decades to develop.
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#5 andrewsw  Icon User is online

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 07 June 2013 - 04:16 AM

That link you referenced comes to two very useful conclusions:

  • Unless you truly enjoy programming you should seek another profession.
  • If you're reading this blog (and by this blog, I mean any programming blog at all), the above almost certainly does not apply to you.

The fact that you read that blog, and created this thread, suggests that you have the interest. However, you also need patience, as you cannot expect to become proficient overnight. Becoming a good programmer, or perhaps even an expert, will take even longer.

I've been programming for a long time and it still fascinates. Frequently I still encounter things and say "Gosh! I didn't know that was possible!". But I don't always use the word "Gosh!" ;)
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#6 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 07 June 2013 - 06:56 AM

View PostTwoOfDiamonds, on 07 June 2013 - 02:35 AM, said:

And what is your main target when you want to improve as a programmer : algorithms, programming languages, exercises that involve problem solving or starting new projects ?

I love algorithms. I really do. A lot of what you do with algorithms and data structures in a book like Sedgewick is math and proof writing, though. New languages are great, and I highly encourage picking up new technologies. However, at the end of the day, languages are still just tools. If you can write a loop in Java, I'm sure you can figure it out in PHP, for example.

If you want to be a better programmer, pick up new projects. In the workplace, it's about design and software engineering. In academia, it's more about challenging problems. Both will help you grow, but they both target different aspects. Do you have the endurance and design abilities to work on large projects? Can you define requirements? Can you adhere to good programming practices?
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#7 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 07 June 2013 - 07:07 AM

I myself am not a good programmer. That's my own assessment, and it comes without any metrics or standards attached. I don't think I'd ever really considered letting this stop me from pursuing something that interests me, and learning about it, arguing about it, and otherwise becoming better at it, or even from getting paid to do it. In doing these things, I've become a better programmer, which is nice, and I certainly feel like the people who hire me get their money's worth, but I mostly see the ways in which I am not up to the standards I set for myself.

This is probably a good thing, because I'm incorrigibly lazy, and if I thought I were good, or even "close enough" then I'd probably stop pursuing and learning and arguing and getting better.

It might be helpful to think of your improvement of your skills not as a hurdle to be passed - "now I'm a good programmer" - but as a constant - "now I am learning the next thing". Done right, learning is like eating: you will do it every day from now until you die, and you will never be done, and it will always be fun. And if you take that attitude I think it's certain that you will always be able to find tasks that you enjoy, and find challenging, and are suited to. And those tasks will become more difficult and more interesting over time, which is nice.

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 07 June 2013 - 09:04 AM, said:

Done right, learning is like eating: you will do it every day from now until you die, and you will never be done, and it will always be fun.



Hm. Also, nobody can do it for you, and you alone are responsible for your choices, and their consequences. And also, it works best if you combine it with exercise.
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#8 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 07 June 2013 - 08:04 AM

Thank you very much for your advice guys !

As soon as I will get into college ( that should be around 22 July if everything will be ok with the exams) I'll start working on my first game :D It should be a snake with some extra features and some more interesting gameplay than the classic version and finish reading Introduction to algorithms :)

And as most of you said :) I won't stop learning ^_^
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#9 Flukeshot  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 07 June 2013 - 08:10 AM

View Postandrewsw, on 07 June 2013 - 08:16 PM, said:

However, you also need patience, as you cannot expect to become proficient overnight. Becoming a good programmer, or perhaps even an expert, will take even longer.


View PostTwoOfDiamonds, on 08 June 2013 - 12:04 AM, said:

I'll start working on my first game :D/>


This is the common problem among beginner programmers. The fundamentals are extremely important. If you don't have the patience to build up to it, you won't make it to your first game. Keep your mind on what is important. Coding is the game.
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#10 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 07 June 2013 - 08:34 AM

I consider I get a decent grasp of the basics ... and I want to take a look at C# ... so I'll make a simple game with MonoGame. Furthermore, I hope making this game will teach me a thing or two and I don't expect it to be some great hit or anything like that, just a project from which I'll learn more :D

And also, I want to see some results from my work :P even it they are tiny. And having a project will just make me stumble across some tehniques, algorithms and things like that (or at least hope so) so I will have to look up a solution for the or find one myself :)

I don't really know what should I learn next if I don't need it for something I'm working on.

This post has been edited by TwoOfDiamonds: 07 June 2013 - 08:38 AM

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#11 peace_fixation  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 12 June 2013 - 04:17 AM

I like this:

Quote

"Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible." - Richard Feynman


Study hard!

Just pick something and learn all about it. Even when it gets hard and confusing, just keep going. Make all kinds of things, but finish them. Aim small at first. Work on designing your programs well as they get bigger. Every time your run into something you don't know, look it up at Wikipedia (or Google or whatever). At the very least know what it is. Even better, learn a bit about it. Add it to your kit. Document what you do. Use a wiki. Make a website. Make a web application that makes cat memes (there's a shortage). MAKE A ROBOT.

Have fun!
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#12 Flukeshot  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 12 June 2013 - 04:21 AM

Head First Java is a nice book for a beginner. You can find it free online.
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#13 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 12 June 2013 - 02:25 PM

There is a bottomless pit of stuff to learn and an endless supply of people who know more than you. Don't measure yourself by some impossible target. Instead, choose a realistic goal as the next step and work towards it. It can be encouraging to look back at old work sometimes to see how far you have come.
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#14 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 12 June 2013 - 07:15 PM

View PostFlukeshot, on 12 June 2013 - 06:21 AM, said:

Head First Java is a nice book for a beginner. You can find it free online.


Probably not legally. I'm pretty sure the author is still getting royalties from O'Reilly - if you like the book, buy a copy, so the author knows to make more books and O'Reilly knows to publish more like it.
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#15 TwoOfDiamonds  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming skills

Posted 12 June 2013 - 10:22 PM

Jon ^_^ I'm all for "Like it buy it" but for example my country you don't find most of the books and if you find them they are either 2-3 editions behind or they are very expensive (like half of my mom's salary <and here I'm talking about CLRS 1 edition, when it was still on stock, now you can't find it anywhere>) and for me to buy it from amazon it's pretty expensive and I don't really afford it ... so sometimes you got to put on your eyepatch and hook.
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