Masters Degree - What Language?

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#1 lseactuary  Icon User is offline

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Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 09:11 AM

Hello world!

I have been debating what language to learn and here is why.

On the business side - knowing SQL, Excel and R is enough. A lot of that stuff can be automated if you know Python. So I was first tempted to pick this up and started on some courses. Python seems to be a key requirement now for technical roles therefore I thought it was a safe bet. It also has a bunch of machine learning things and you can make dashboards etc so can be 'consumer facing'.

I then got into a masters program and the main language seems to be Java. I won't be able to take some courses without learning Java therefore am not sure if I should stuff Python and move to Java?

Then my friend said C++ was the best vs Java and Python. He said if I wanted to move into finance knowing C++ would help me much more. He said that C++ is harder but avoids me having to learn anything else as it does pretty much everything. He also said Python and Java are slow.

I want to avoid overloading my brain lol and get really good at one language this year. What do you ecommend?

Thank you in advance!

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Replies To: Masters Degree - What Language?

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 09:14 AM

What is the actual masters program?
Where do you want to do with it?

C++ and java are similar in syntax and actually require a compile while python is a script that runs..

If your courses require java then it sounds like you'll be picking up java. I would also advocate being familiar with c++ and if you want, python.
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#3 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 10:07 AM

Moved to Student Campus. Note that the Computer Science forum is for questions of a more advanced and theoretical nature.

You're in a Master's program, not an incoming freshman. So the perspective is that languages are tools, right? At the end of the day, you should be able to pick up a new language for a given class or project if needed.

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He said that C++ is harder but avoids me having to learn anything else as it does pretty much everything. He also said Python and Java are slow.


Java is comparable to C++ in performance. Python is fairly expeditious as well, and is widely adopted by the data science community. Beyond syntax, you should look at the tools that are available for each language and pick the one(s) that best suit your needs.
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#4 lseactuary  Icon User is offline

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 12:08 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 19 February 2017 - 09:14 AM, said:

What is the actual masters program?
Where do you want to do with it?

C++ and java are similar in syntax and actually require a compile while python is a script that runs..

If your courses require java then it sounds like you'll be picking up java. I would also advocate being familiar with c++ and if you want, python.


It's the software engineering part time program at Oxford.
Some of their courses e.g. Object orientated programming are based in Java.
I am looking to move into finance in a technical role and it seems C++ is the way to go.
But for my current role Python seems to solve most issues. That said im moving back to windows (Python and R are better on a mac) so maybe C++ is better.
I want to make a decision and stick to it haha.

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 19 February 2017 - 10:07 AM, said:

Moved to Student Campus. Note that the Computer Science forum is for questions of a more advanced and theoretical nature.

You're in a Master's program, not an incoming freshman. So the perspective is that languages are tools, right? At the end of the day, you should be able to pick up a new language for a given class or project if needed.

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He said that C++ is harder but avoids me having to learn anything else as it does pretty much everything. He also said Python and Java are slow.


Java is comparable to C++ in performance. Python is fairly expeditious as well, and is widely adopted by the data science community. Beyond syntax, you should look at the tools that are available for each language and pick the one(s) that best suit your needs.


True but I don't want to get confused by learning different languages and confusing syntax.
Python is definitely preferred in the data science community but I'm kinda looking at this like what will do most things so I just need to learn more of the same language vs a new language. Swapping from a Python book to a Java book to a C++ book is more confusing than trying harder to understand the next chapter in a Python book you already have worked through. :)
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#5 andrewsw  Icon User is offline

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 12:32 PM

You don't want to study C++, Java and Python. Your courses are focused on Java. It seems sensible to me to forget about C++ for the moment and concentrate on Java.

You are aware of how useful Python is so you could put it on the back burner for the moment, until you have a solid foundation of Java.

If your only incentive currently to study C++ is your mates' assertion that it "does pretty much everything" then this can equally well be said of both Java and Python.

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I'm kinda looking at this like what will do most things so

That is not the way to approach this. Use the right tool for the job. Your courses use Java so, for that reason, it is currently the right tool.
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#6 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 12:46 PM

View Postlseactuary, on 19 February 2017 - 11:11 AM, said:

finance knowing C++ would help me much more.

I am extremely dubious of this claim. Finance systems are written in all kinds of languages. It used to be COBOL, but those days are gone. You're more likely to be doing some proprietary reporting system hacking in their preferred script than C++. Actually, C++ seems less likely than most.

View Postlseactuary, on 19 February 2017 - 11:11 AM, said:

He said that C++ is harder but avoids me having to learn anything else

This is 100% wrong. If you want to avoid learning anything else you need to choose another career path. You will have to learn something else, guaranteed. In a few years, you'll have to ditch that and learn new stuff again.
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#7 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 12:54 PM

I would have to agree with baavgai. There are a bit more sensible languages to learn for the world of finance, stats etc than C++. I would stick with learning Java if it is needed for your courses and I would keep Python close as well for any tools or things you might want to build to help you out. As already mentioned, C++ is just a hop skip jump away from Java so after the studies, if you want to learn it then it won't be that difficult to pick it up. It has been around since the 70's, it will be there when you get out of your program rest assured. ;)
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#8 lseactuary  Icon User is offline

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 12:58 PM

View PostMartyr2, on 19 February 2017 - 12:54 PM, said:

I would have to agree with baavgai. There are a bit more sensible languages to learn for the world of finance, stats etc than C++. I would stick with learning Java if it is needed for your courses and I would keep Python close as well for any tools or things you might want to build to help you out. As already mentioned, C++ is just a hop skip jump away from Java so after the studies, if you want to learn it then it won't be that difficult to pick it up. It has been around since the 70's, it will be there when you get out of your program rest assured. ;)/>


Can Java do what I need to do in my day to day job with Python (excel stuff, model building, dashboards, machine learning and so on)?
Any recommendations on Java courses for someone with no Java knowledge? Someone at Oxford told me to learn Python as it's better than Java ... and less complicated :/
I have seen books on this but I'm unsure how much theory helps vs actuallt just programming.
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#9 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 01:03 PM

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Any recommendations on Java courses for someone with no Java knowledge?


You have an undergraduate degree in CS, right? So you should already know how to program, hopefully. If so, why do you need a course to teach you Java? Maybe grab a book and work through exercises in Java to learn the language.

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Can Java do what I need to do in my day to day job with Python (excel stuff, model building, dashboards, machine learning and so on)?


There are libraries to handle these tasks, yes.


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Someone at Oxford told me to learn Python as it's better than Java ... and less complicated


Again, languages are tools. There is no "best" language, a point you will find has been beaten to death if you read through old threads asking for language recommendations.
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#10 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 01:16 PM

View Postlseactuary, on 19 February 2017 - 01:08 PM, said:

[...]
That said im moving back to windows (Python and R are better on a mac) so maybe C++ is better.
[...]

Odd statement. What's the quals for it?
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#11 snoopy11  Icon User is offline

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 01:34 PM

Hmmm,

Well you have to be willing for a career of lifelong learning as Technologies change,

that said Python, Java, Scala and R seem more suited to the financial sector than C++.

although a small amount of C++ knowledge would not hurt if you plan on doing backend services that require speed.

C++ is certainly faster than most other languages but most applications do not require speed

Modern Computer games being the exception.

But I doubt a bank will ever ask you to make a game.

Learn Java and spend some time with Scala, it would be a better use of your time.
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#12 lseactuary  Icon User is offline

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 01:40 PM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 19 February 2017 - 01:03 PM, said:

<snip>



I have a statistics background hence confused.
Java seems like the way to go!

This post has been edited by macosxnerd101: 19 February 2017 - 02:34 PM
Reason for edit:: Please avoid quoting large posts

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#13 lseactuary  Icon User is offline

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 02:10 PM

I was thinking to start with the learn Java in 24 hours book or learn Java in 21 days book.
And then focus on the data analytics implementations (i.e. do what I normally do in excel and SQL but in Java)
And then focus on building web apps for dashboards etc.
Is that the right path?

Also, what is spark?
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#14 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 02:33 PM

View Postandrewsw, on 19 February 2017 - 02:32 PM, said:

You don't want to study C++, Java and Python.


This. You want to study computer science - particular programming languages are just how you communicate the ideas about computer science. None of the courses you're likely to take, with the exception of compilers or some variation on SICP, will involve developing a deep understanding of a particular language and its implementation decisions, so don't get too worked up about one language versus the other. Yeah, it's tricky to switch back and forth until you get used to it - so get used to it.

If you're concerned about it, go on codeeval.com and start working the challenges there in all three languages, one after another. If you spend a couple of evenings writing one small program after another, alternating between C++, Java, and Python, you'll be able to switch back and forth between them pretty quickly.

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I was thinking to start with the learn Java in 24 hours book or learn Java in 21 days book.


I've never been a big fan of this sort of approach, but if those seem like the right way to get your head into Java, then go for it.
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#15 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Masters Degree - What Language?

Posted 19 February 2017 - 02:38 PM

Check out our Java FAQ and Resources thread. It has lots of great links to help you get started, including a book recommendation thread and a Learning Series thread. I would encourage you to check them out.

If you are comfortable with those projects, sure. If you find yourself in over your head, you may want to dial back the scope a little bit. I'd pick smaller projects to familiarize myself with the language first. Project Euler and Rosalind.info both have great problems to attempt!

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I was thinking to start with the learn Java in 24 hours book or learn Java in 21 days book.


I am not familiar with those books personally. Just note that you won't actually have mastered Java in 24 hours or 21 days, despite the titles of these books.
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