Programming Experience

This is a discussion on Programming Experience within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; I was noticing that many of you here are very knowledgable about many aspects of programming. I am interested in ...

  1. #1
    Why am I a programmer? shoutatchickens's Avatar
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    Programming Experience

    I was noticing that many of you here are very knowledgable about many aspects of programming. I am interested in knowing how much experience you all have and what formal education if any.

    I have been programming on and off--mostly off--for about 6 or 7 years. I have had some classes on programming but they pretty much consisted of copying visual basic code out of a book and did not provide any real understanding of programming.

    I had an account here on this forum back when I first started programming and learned a lot through asking questions here.

    Now I am at a point where, even thogugh I am programming and getting paid for it, I read these forums and realize just how little I actually know.

    So rises the question: How much experience do you guys have?

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    Bachelor's degree in computer science and 8 years experience as a developer, but most of the answers and advice I provide is based on what I've learned reading and answering questions in forums like this.

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    Jack of many languages Dino's Avatar
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    I wrote my first line of code in 1984.
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    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    About 8 years of C++... No education. Mostly self taught.
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    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post
    Bachelor's degree in computer science and 8 years experience as a developer, but most of the answers and advice I provide is based on what I've learned reading and answering questions in forums like this.
    Apparently, I am a clone of Daved. 8 years pro experience, but I've been programming far longer than that: 23 years.

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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    I don't want to say that people here aren't extremely knowledgable, but please don't underestimate the amount that people tend to look up references as they post to ensure complete accuracy of their statements. It's one thing to have a general idea about many aspects of programming and quite a different thing to be able to explain everything in full detail right off the top of your head. Everyone has their expertises and usually they learn the rest from reading, studying, and working with other people and their expertises. Honestly, professionally, I have learned much more about tax and finance (none of which you'll hear on this forum), but where I'm learning about that, others are learning about programming. School teaches relatively slowly compared to work experience. If you just started out working in programming, I'm sure you'll find yourself much, much more knowledgable in a year.

    Anyway, I started really programming back in highschool. (2004... search my threads to see a really disappointing looking series of events) It was only a hobby. I went into college as an art major, changed to Comp Sci after a year. Dropped out cause I needed money to work... went back for evenings only (where I had to drop Comp Sci and switch to Computer Information Systems). Since then, I've dabbled in C, C++, Perl, Java, Visual Basic, and various web languages... do to the fact that I work primarily in Visual Basic, I'd say I'm most proficient in that, now. I'd like to eventually get my masters in Computer Science and get a C or C++ job.

    I should mention that I stopped talking about programming on this forum a very long time ago and when I used to, it was never very exciting. I really have to will to start up, again, right now... but maybe some day when I start programming in C or C++ again.
    Last edited by SlyMaelstrom; 04-02-2008 at 11:43 AM.
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    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlyMaelstrom View Post
    I don't want to say that people here aren't extremely knowledgable, but please don't underestimate the amount that people tend to look up references as they post to insure complete accuracy of their statements.
    I think Google has completely transformed the meaning of "intelligence." You can't tell anymore if the person you're talking with online is actually clueful, or is just taking everything from a reference. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but the key is that the references themselves are created by people who are genuinely knowledable -- if we lose those people, we lose the references, and possibly everything.

    Having massive resources at your fingertips is great but also potentially dangerous if the resource suddenly evaporates.

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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewbuck View Post
    I think Google has completely transformed the meaning of "intelligence." You can't tell anymore if the person you're talking with online is actually clueful, or is just taking everything from a reference. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but the key is that the references themselves are created by people who are genuinely knowledable -- if we lose those people, we lose the references, and possibly everything.

    Having massive resources at your fingertips is great but also potentially dangerous if the resource suddenly evaporates.
    Well of course... and I don't want to name names, but we've had several people on this forum that don't know the first thing about programming pretending they're great game programmers cause they can find code off the internet and modify a few variables. It's usually not too hard to tell the fakers from the real thing. You can't find the good references unless you know the buzzwords to look for and you don't generally learn the buzzwords unless you've studied the topic. Yes, I agree, though that it is very dangerous... you want to see a whole load of bad information, go to Yahoo! Answers.
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    Of course, then you have the people that regurgitate references who decide to create a wiki FAQ that others then use as a reference and eventually create their own references from, until the original sources of the genuine knowledge are far removed from the resource created.

    (Note: That was not intended as insult, I am making a commentary on myself as much as anybody else.)

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    Dr Dipshi++ mike_g's Avatar
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    I started programming 2 and a half years ago. Most of what I did back then was in Blitz Basic, but through my college I have covered the basics of C, C++, Javascript, Java, and PHP. I wouldent say I was very experieced with any of the languages I keep learning new stuff all the time, but I enjoy it.

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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post
    Of course, then you have the people that regurgitate references who decide to create a wiki FAQ that others then use as a reference and eventually create their own references from, until the original sources of the genuine knowledge are far removed from the resource created.
    *points at dwks*

    Hehe, just kidding. DWKS is certainly the real thing in my opinion, I just thought I'd be topical. Anyway, what you said, Daved, is a natual aspect of life. It's been this way forever... things change as word spreads... we were taught this as children when they asked us to play telephone.
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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Most of what I did on these forums in terms of trying to help somebody was definitely the result of a quick look at a book or internet reference. Most of what I learned on this forums was definitely almost certainly (i like this construction) the result of that too.

    There's very little of C++ I can say I have on my mind. The general language rules, semantics and some patterns. That's it. Everything else I have to lookup even when programming. However I have years and years of Visual Basic and SQL experience. That didn't stop me from the exact same thing.

    I don't consider myself particularly intelligent. I'm certain I'm not that much intelligent in fact. And it never hurt me to say that. Being intelligent, knowledgeable and smart are all three very distinct things. What I know is that programming, for me, was always a struggle. I always had to work hard and painfully to learn programming languages. However that didn't stop me from a most enjoyable and rewarding career.

    So... Sly is absolutely correct. A lot of us use references. I use them... a lot! One of the reasons actually I stopped posting on the C++ forums and delegated myself to this forum. I don't feel I fit in there. Only if I'm on the question side. However, by means of using references and buying books I was able to learn how to program in C++ enough to become productive in 2 years (look at my join date) and I no more feel the need to post a question. So... I must be doing something right.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 04-02-2008 at 12:03 PM.
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    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.

  13. #13
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    29 years experience here, started in 1979. Self taught mostly, except a class in C/C++ in my 4th year of college. First I learned BASIC on the VIC-20, then assembly on the same machine, both by the age of 10. Now I'm a senior engineer at a software R&D firm. Some of my algorithm's and code are probably going into one of the mars missions in the next decade or so.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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    Frequently Quite Prolix dwks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlyMaelstrom View Post
    *points at dwks*

    Hehe, just kidding. DWKS is certainly the real thing in my opinion [...]
    Glad to hear it.

    [edit] So I am "that Wiki FAQ guy"? Sigh . . . . [/edit]

    Personally, I actually have access to the internet rather rarely. (Semi-astute members may have noticed that I tend to post lots of posts at one time at regular intervals.) That doesn't mean I don't have access to references -- "man 3 printf", for example -- but it does mean that I appreciate Google when I have it, and tend to save webpages a lot . . . which is one reason that I had several CBoard threads about codeform saved that I was able to put onto my website when CBoard crashed. (Semi-astute members will remember this, too.)

    It's hard to measure programming aptitude. I could tell you that xuni, one of my projects, is 11,837 lines long. I could claim that I could look at any function and tell you whether it is a standard C function or not. (Which is probably true).

    But I think general programming knowledge is more important: I was able to pick up Python, which I had never used before, in a few minutes in time to help debug some Python code. (Keep in mind that reading code is a lot easier than writing it.)

    Once you understand how programming works, the language doesn't matter so much. I think that's the best way to measure experience -- how much you understand about programming in general.

    (Having said that, of course, I prefer C because I know many of its nuances very well . . . .)

    [edit] Wow, congratulations, abachler! It sounds like you're the most experienced of all of us, number-wise.

    No, I don't feel like calculating how long I've been programming for. [/edit]
    Last edited by dwks; 04-02-2008 at 01:00 PM.
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  15. #15
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    [decrepit old fogey voice] Now if I could just remember half the things ive done over the years. [/decrepit old fogey voice]

    I agree that work experience makes you learn faster. I didn't really start programming for win32 until about 2 years ago. Before that it was mostly microcontrollers and PLC's. I programmed computers for my personal research in cryptography, but nothing like I do now.

    Knowing several languages is good, but you really need strong problem solving skills and a good memory. I have to look stuff up all the time because if I tried to remember everything it just wouldnt fit, so I just remember where I can find the information when I need it. A few things that I work on extensively I know by heart. Some things that are almost useless I still have memorized, like the fact the 6502 uses A B X and Y as its registers, completely useless trivia. The point is, don;t get bogged down tryign to remember every little detail about some system that in 10 or 20 years will just be collecting dust.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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