Anyone purely self-taught?

This is a discussion on Anyone purely self-taught? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Has anyone here taught themselves a programming language or multiple programming languages, all by themselves? Meaning no prior education on ...

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    Anyone purely self-taught?

    Has anyone here taught themselves a programming language or multiple programming languages, all by themselves? Meaning no prior education on the topic, no school/classes in the field...just reading books and using whatever sources you can get from home? Do you think this is a better path or does it take longer to master the language in this way rather than going to school and learning? Especially since school isn't for everyone and sometimes learning at your own pace is good, but the fastest way to become an expert in a certain programming language? What is your idea of the "best" strategy to learn a language or multiple languages?

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    I've been learning on my own for a while, and I think it's completely possible to teach yourself programming without any formal classes or instruction. That said, I can think of more than a few times where I wished I had a mentor (and I still do) to help me understand the more difficult parts of learning something like C++.

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    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarscn View Post
    Has anyone here taught themselves a programming language or multiple programming languages, all by themselves? Meaning no prior education on the topic, no school/classes in the field...just reading books and using whatever sources you can get from home? Do you think this is a better path or does it take longer to master the language in this way rather than going to school and learning? Especially since school isn't for everyone and sometimes learning at your own pace is good, but the fastest way to become an expert in a certain programming language? What is your idea of the "best" strategy to learn a language or multiple languages?
    I was going to tell you my experiences teaching myself, then in school, but I realized they're not relevant. Everyone responds to school, and teaching methods in general, differently. One thing I can say for sure is that you really only learn by writing code. You can read an entire book and understand it but until you can actually put thoughts into real lines of code you're not programming.

    Find the parts which are most intimidating to you and ask somebody about them. Take pieces of code from other people and play with them. It doesn't matter what you're doing as long as you are working with code.

    As far as multiple languages are concerned, there are a few basic facts. First, there are several major superclasses of programming languages, most of which you won't encounter unless you are doing hard-core computer science. Within each of these superclasses are dozens or hundreds of languages which share basic concepts with each other. It's sort of like the genomic tree of life, starting with kingdoms and moving all the way down to species. Just like closely related species, there are closely related languages.

    Some of the most widely used and exposed languages today: C, C++, C#, Java, Perl, JavaScript, and PHP -- share inspiration with each other. Knowing one of them gives you huge leverage with the others.

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    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    I started off Javascript and PHP purely self taught. But that lasted only 2 years, upon which I was given the chance to taking Computing at GCE 'A' level. I took the subject, and that was also my introduction to C++.
    C + C++ Compiler: MinGW port of GCC
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    Look up a C++ Reference and learn How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

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    I learned qbasic (I know...) in 8th grade all by myself. I didn't take C until I was a freshman in college, and I didn't go to class most of the time. The only good thing I can say about the instructor is that he taught the ansi standard to the t. What you said about moving at your own pace is very true. I was bored 90% of the time in the class. Sometimes I would finish the 2-week projects the day they were assigned. Everything I know beyond the class I learned on my own (The last project had to do with strings and file i/o. This was a 14 week course- HA!). So although it's nice to have someone in real life that can help you out, I would say that if you had a good book and he support of C Board, you could definitely learn by yourself.
    I copied it from the last program in which I passed a parameter, which would have been pre-1989 I guess. - esbo

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    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    I started teaching myself ASP at the start of highschool, then moved onto PHP, then C, and a bit of everything else. Wasn't until my last two years of highschool that we were 'taught' how to program (in VisualBasic mind you). So yes I am self taught, I'd say a lot, if not all of the 'pot-avoidance' skills in C come from this forum.

    Now I'm stuck at Uni programming in Java -- I always avoided it for some reason, now I'm being taught it... it seems rather nice. Although I feel I know how to program in Java (oh so similar to C).
    Last edited by zacs7; 03-12-2008 at 01:19 AM.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    I'm completely self-taught. In computer programming languages, that is.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    I'm almost self-taught. I took an evening class for a while, and I took a "extra" course at a university that was supposed to be 4 half-time terms, but I did 2 terms at once [level 1 and level 2 at the same time]. That was helpful, but I knew many of the things before starting the course, and only parts of it that I have little use for in my professional life was "new" [like Simula-67 and Databases].

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    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    I learned first Lingo and later C++, Java and C# all by myself. I later got education in computer science, which undoubtedly has helped me a lot in programming, but the languages are self-taught.
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

    "There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code."
    - Flon's Law

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    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    I'm self taught in a lot of languages also. I learned Visual Basic in college, though.

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    C++まいる!Cをこわせ!
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    I'm pretty much self taught. Have used one book about C++, I think, but the rest is experience writing, finding and asking about it.
    Classes may not always be good, seeing as some teachers teach pure nonsense to students. So classes are not guaranteed to put you on the right path.
    What pretty much is, is writing code and getting experience from doing so.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elysia View Post
    I'm pretty much self taught. Have used one book about C++, I think, but the rest is experience writing, finding and asking about it.
    Classes may not always be good, seeing as some teachers teach pure nonsense to students. So classes are not guaranteed to put you on the right path.
    What pretty much is, is writing code and getting experience from doing so.
    Add to that working with others that have been writing code for longer than you have - that is a VERY good way to learn.

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    Compilers can produce warnings - make the compiler programmers happy: Use them!
    Please don't PM me for help - and no, I don't do help over instant messengers.

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    I'm self-taught in C#. I investigated several languages and that seemed to me personally the easiest one to start off with. Luckily the degree I'm on now concentrates on C#, almost to the point of me having a by on those subjects!
    He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

    The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli

    There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions. Charles Steinmetz

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    Crazy Fool Perspective's Avatar
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    just to add some contrast to the mix, I didn't know a thing about programming until I started university.

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    I'm 100% self-taught in C++, only help i ever got was in here, and in some books from the library and tutorials on the net. But then again, i'm not that good yet..
    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

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