Becoming a Professional Programmer

This is a discussion on Becoming a Professional Programmer within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; [Mod Note: Just because a thread is inactive doesn't mean you can hijack it for your own, slightly related question. ...

  1. #1
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    [Mod Note: Just because a thread is inactive doesn't mean you can hijack it for your own, slightly related question. Create a new thread, like everyone else.]

    If I want to become a professional programmer, what is the best approach? I get decent books, but they always seem to bore me because I already understand the concepts. Yet I have problems retaining the syntax (sort of like, "oh crap, how did the parentheses go again for the function pointer?"). I can quickly look up the syntax and even fake it on a programming board like this one, but I really am not much farther than a "beginner"; if I were to take a look at the "Learn to program C++" tutorials on this site, the stuff I don't know is basically trees and little details with the STL. Obviously I should learn that, but where to go from there? To be frank, I don't even know of a project that I can undertake that won't have me losing interest in a few months (the projects that I do always seem to take way longer than I think they will, and I guess that's the problem...)

    In other words, how far do I have to go before I can write a program that other people will want to use? What about getting a job as a paid programmer?
    Last edited by CornedBee; 06-28-2007 at 06:29 PM.

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    If you're not looking something up, then you're not learning something. If you're a programmer and you're not learning something, you'll fall behind.

    Personally, I don't think knowing every nook and cranny of STL makes you a better programmer. Knowing how to put the pieces together to solve a problem makes you a better programmer. Learning more abstract concepts makes you a better programmer.

    If you're a bit shaky on trees, you should work on it; learning about abstract data types is always useful. (If I had a nickel for every programmer that's applied for a job here that didn't understand how a tree worked...well, I could at least get some fast food.) If you're still lacking a project after that, try a totally different programming language to learn to look at a problem from a different angle. I'd suggest Lisp, but that's just me.
    If I did your homework for you, then you might pass your class without learning how to write a program like this. Then you might graduate and get your degree without learning how to write a program like this. You might become a professional programmer without knowing how to write a program like this. Someday you might work on a project with me without knowing how to write a program like this. Then I would have to do you serious bodily harm. - Jack Klein

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    Hmm... thanks for that, pianorain. It's good to be reassured that because I'm learning stuff I'm not falling behind. :-) I think I will definitely try to learn another programming language. I've heard a lot about Lisp, maybe I'll look into it. Thanks!

    [edit] It looks like my post was deleted, I guess I was breaking the rules. Sorry. :-( [/edit]

    Mod Note: Not deleted, just moved.
    Last edited by CornedBee; 06-28-2007 at 06:40 PM.

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