Brand new to programming
Hello. I am completely brand new to programming. I am not in college, currently, but plan to try to get back to college next spring or next fall. I have worked construction for the past fourteen years, which doesn't appear to be a usual precursor to deciding to get into computer science and programming. I am sick of construction and have always had an interest in programming. I was supposed to be the kid that went to college right after high school and get a high paying job doing something, but I took to the party route and the rest just fell into place. I have kids now, feel like I have wasted any intellectual capacity that I may have and want to start from scratch at thirty-two years old.
Sorry for all of that, but I wanted to give a base as to where I am coming from. I found this website and it seems to have a plethora of information and live sources of information. I do have a C programming book. It is the C Programming Language from Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie. It seems like a very good book or at least I seem to be able to follow the concepts with some sense of understanding.
I have just a few questions to start.
How should I begin trying to learn to program? What should I be attempting to put together at first for a simple program?
I do have a compiler. I downloaded the Bloodshed Dev compiler and have tested it out on some simple examples from the book I am working out of.
Thanks for your time. Please be patient with me...without a knowledgeable instructor backing me up this could be slow and painful...LOL.
You're on the right track. That book is considered a sort of standard to learning C programming by many (the first edition was the defacto C standard prior to the ANSI standard coming out and the 2nd edition of the book being released). Also, getting a handle on the language prior to actually taking a course, imo, is very smart, and will help you get through any courses on C by allowing you to focus on more important aspects of the language.
For now, I would recommend you keep up with exercises in the book, google for college/university level assignments and practice them. What you could also do is stick around these forums and see if you can do some of the homework assignments that invariably get posted here. Lastly, turn up the warning level of your compiler to the maximum. Many C compilers allow you to get away with doing things that are not allowed by the C standard, and you may end up learning very bad habits that will cause weird bugs, and much lost time. By learning how to write proper code early, you'll save yourself a lot of trouble.
Welcome to cboard, and enjoy your stay.
Okay. Sounds good and thank you. Wasn't sure if anyone would answer. I figured I might be looked upon as a lost cause and left for dead. :)
Most of programming is about mastering concepts, some of which are really about managing your resources most effectively for a given situation. It's not something too difficult to get into, but it's something that requires lots of work. If you're motivated and/or a diligent worker, then it's probably not impossible to pick up, provided you approach it at the right angle.
Therefore, all things considering, I wouldn't be concerned about being past a given age, especially only in your thirties. The only downside to learning C is that it takes years to be very proficient at it. Give it five years or so, though, and you'll be able to look like an expert. ;)
You could learn a lot by solving other people's homework problems. They are posted here quite often.
Thank you. I'll take that into consideration.
Dogmasur: If you havent already tried it you could have a go at reversing a string, or finding a substring within a string. Strings are a good starting point to get your head around poiinters if you havent done this stuff yet.
Just like to give you some words of encouragement, b/c like you i decided to go to college about two years ago, and i am 32 years old now and have a few little ones of my own. I must admit that when i first started it was challenging. Just stick to it and if you need any c programming problems, let me know and i'll give you a site from my school.
I would probably avoid strings until pointers are covered, and I would avoid pointers until arrays are covered.
Originally Posted by mike_g
Other than that, yeah, practicing with strings is very good.
Write a calculator. :) It's very extensible, and you can just keep adding things to it . . . .
Random number guessing is always fun, too.
Thank you all. It's good to know there are plenty of people willing to help out there. The calculator sounds good, then I can see something that I can relate to in working function ( hopefully).
I love K&R (aka, The C Programming Language). You never feel like you're just writing some crap or a toy program in it. You begin writing really useful programs from page 15 on. If you have Linux, Mac, or some other variant of UNIX, chapter 8 is an awesome reward for finishing the first 7.
Aside from C, there's also C++, if you want to give yourself another challenge.
C++ is a somewhat more modern language that follows modern programming paradigms.
Regardless, both C and C++ are both very hard to master and will take you quite some time. Good luck :)