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#1 Aaron7  Icon User is offline

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Require some advice

Posted 05 February 2010 - 01:31 PM

Hello DIC,

I would like to learn a new programming language this year that will teach me good programming skills and habits. I have done some work on VB but I have realised that it was teaching me bad programming habits and was not a very scalable language. I would like to learn C#, Java or PHP as I hear that they are ideal to learn. I have also looked at C++, would this be a good language to continue? What language would you suggest for a student to learn who is currently studying in their first year of A levels, hoping to study computer science at a top university? Thanks for the help.


Edit: I actually found some advice from a university's webite:


You might care to try a little programming. However, approach this with care! Teaching yourself to program can lead to your picking up bad habits that will hinder your progress later. As your first programming language, avoid languages like C and C++.

The best bet would be to play with a language such as Python or Smalltalk that will allow you to explore algorithms without getting bogged down in details. Have a look at www.python.org for a free implementation and introductory tutorials. However, the important thing is to find some suitable problems to solve; The New Turing Omnibus, listed above, is a good sources of ideas. It is also worth remembering that programming is best undertaken as a collaborative activity; get together with a friend to discuss problems and to criticise each other's solutions.

I think I will have a go at Python and try and solve some maths problems. :)

This post has been edited by Aaron7: 05 February 2010 - 02:36 PM

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#2 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: Require some advice

Posted 05 February 2010 - 04:08 PM

In truth, learning any language is a good idea. It is more helpful if you find a language who's syntax you like and understand. C and C++ can be cryptic to a beginner and a little hard to understand as you have to take care of a lot of the details involved such as memory management and pointers. A higher level language, like Python, Ruby, Smalltalk(though I haven't seen it used much lately), will allow you to pick up the concepts of programming a little easier, in my opinion, than with C++. They will shield you from the idea of pointers, memory management, and let you focus on concepts.

That said, C# and Java are both good languages to work on as well. The reason I say those two is that their syntax is very similar to C++ and you might eventually end up using C++ in the work place. C# and Java are higher level languages than C/C++ and will introduce you into the theory of object-oriented programming which is probably the most common type of programming used today. Learning OOP is never a bad idea. Learning to use it correctly might be a little more difficult though.
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