Becoming better at programming

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15 Replies - 1724 Views - Last Post: 05 May 2008 - 04:12 PM

#1 Nihilated  Icon User is offline

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Becoming better at programming

Posted 24 April 2008 - 02:54 PM

Hi, I'm relatively new to programming, I've been doing it for around six months and wish to get better. I find that the students in my class tend to solve problems faster than I do and sometimes I get very depressed about it. How can I improve my programming skills? Basically, I want to get to the point where one starts to "dream in code." :)

Thank you.

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Replies To: Becoming better at programming

#2 Sonic88  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 24 April 2008 - 03:01 PM

Well, this is a good place to start. Also, get some books outside of your school textbooks (which I find to be more of reference type books in my experience.) Alot of these non-school books will walk you through the thought process and design of building an app and not just give you a bunch of syntax. Also, use google if you run into probs and as always you can post your code here and someone will help you. Put in the time and you'll be leaving those other kids in the dust in no time. Learning to program takes time but once you pick up the thought process your golden. From then out its just practice and more new syntax, but the overall idea stays the same. Which language are you learning BTW?

This post has been edited by Sonic88: 24 April 2008 - 03:02 PM

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#3 girasquid  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 24 April 2008 - 03:15 PM

Start some projects, to fulfill needs you currently have. That's how I've learned everything I know now - by working on things that interest me.
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#4 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 24 April 2008 - 03:17 PM

Experience. Really, that's the key. If you want to be good at something, you want to do it a lot.

My junior programmers are often disheartened when I immediately solve a problem they've been struggling with for hours. I have to remind them, I once fought a similar problem for days. No magic. Just, once you've struggled through something it sticks with you. I still fight problems that take a long time to solve, they're just different problems.

Everything you find in a beginners class, and most stuff on this board, are not difficult problems; once you've seen them before! The only thing that can stop you is your own frustration. Just stick with it and have fun.
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#5 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 25 April 2008 - 03:00 AM

I also recommend getting books other then assigned ones. All my CMIS course books have been awful.
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#6 Sonic88  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 25 April 2008 - 06:50 AM

Try the Head First Book Series. I have their Java book and they are really very fun books. They actaully did a lot of research on learning theory and implemented their finding into their books. They are very fun reads too with little jokes and games here and there. While being fun they also teach you very well and put things into very understandable wordings.
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#7 myra  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 25 April 2008 - 11:05 PM

View PostSonic88, on 25 Apr, 2008 - 06:50 AM, said:

Try the Head First Book Series. I have their Java book and they are really very fun books. They actaully did a lot of research on learning theory and implemented their finding into their books. They are very fun reads too with little jokes and games here and there. While being fun they also teach you very well and put things into very understandable wordings.


I agree with that! I'm relatively new to Java programming and Head First's Java book has given me a wonderful start on this subject :)
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#8 Mikhail  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 28 April 2008 - 09:13 PM

Anything by O'Reilly did it for me I mean the publisher most of my books are O'Reilly programming series.
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#9 LogicCrusher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 29 April 2008 - 11:57 AM

Suffering pays off, I would suggest instead of editing code out of books, you need to write it your self and use your own ideas. It might not be the most efficient code in the world but you can improve it later. It takes a long time to finish the assignment this way but people learn from their mistakes easier than from the books.
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#10 sam_benne  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 30 April 2008 - 07:53 AM

i just found that making stuff that isn't too hard at first to build my confidence and it has worked really well for me as I am leaving the people in my class behind me as my project that I am doing in vb6 is that good it even talks lol.
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#11 devilchild  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 30 April 2008 - 08:11 AM

Basically, if u want to learn to be a better programmer u must have a passion and a lot of Patience with it. There are a lot of books u could use, like the other have listed above. I used some of them and also In Easy Step, these books are good too.

Also i learn to program by doing all the stuff on paper then typing it in the computer. To me i learn more in that way since i kinda being my own complier and also i remember a lot also. Cause most errors in programmin are very closely related.

Also when u have problem u could always post your code here and someone will help and the use of googel is there too. Cause there will also be someone out there that may have the same problem as you and post their solution online too.

Good luck in becoming better programmer.
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#12 JasonMcAuley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 03 May 2008 - 07:49 AM

Also; identifying your own weaknesses and making your own projects that focus heavily on your areas of weakness will force you to practice them.
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#13 mikeblas  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 03 May 2008 - 09:41 AM

View PostJasonMcAuley, on 3 May, 2008 - 07:49 AM, said:

Also; identifying your own weaknesses and making your own projects that focus heavily on your areas of weakness will force you to practice them.
I think this is great advice. While many developers are self-taught, I think it's far easier to make progress by working with someone else--either an instructor or a mentor. The developers I've known who thought they were very special, were misunderstood geniuses, and didn't need to listen to any feedback are generally the ones who haven't been very successful. Finding a mentor to give you feedback about your work, and then actually working to apply that feedback as you face new challenges, is something that will give you a great deal of opportunity for growth.
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#14 PsychoCoder  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 03 May 2008 - 10:12 AM

I agree with the last poster. Ill use me as an example, Ive been doing this for 20 years (school & professional) and I still take advice from others, no matter how long they've been at it. If a programmer ever reaches the point where they think they don't have to take any advice, or that they know everything about a language, that is the beginning of the end for them, they no longer have the ability to get better.

To become a better programmer always listen to advice. Listening to it doesn't necessarily mean that you are admitting that you are wrong, it means you are open to new and different ways of accomplishing a task. Find yourself a mentor, I personally am a mentor to the programmers I work for. Since I'm the one who hired them (yeah a whole 2 of them) they always come to me for advice.

Experience is another factor, the more you do it the better you get. Always save code snippets for various tasks, that way in time you have a nice repository of code to accomplish tasks, thus shortening the time it takes to develop something. Also, dont try and reinvent the wheel, if your language/framework has built in classes/functions to solve a problem use it.

Just my 2
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#15 Mikhail  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming better at programming

Posted 03 May 2008 - 05:12 PM

I agree with PsychoCoder, Always listed to critiques of your programming, this is how you get better and better, it shouldn't matter whether it is veteran programmer, or a beginner. Listening to advice gives you more ideas sometimes, and also tells you how to improve, or add what is lacking.
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