Newbie but not really

This is a discussion on Newbie but not really within the C++ Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; Hi everyone. Am I in over my head? I have a pretty decent background in Basic and Pascal but its ...

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    Newbie but not really

    Hi everyone.

    Am I in over my head? I have a pretty decent background in Basic and Pascal but its been a long long time since I've coded, probably over 10 years.

    I recently have started my own company and the research and systems we run are of proprietary nature. I currently do all calcs and procedures through excel which is sooooo tedious.

    So I have taken the challenge to learn C++.

    Am I in over my head to expect to be able to program Windows, programs that search text files, create simple records, do statistical studies and maybe draw a graph (something like excel does)?

    This is just the beginning of the tasks I hope to achieve. I am a fast learner and have been grabbing every tutorial on C++ and Windows programming (<---- looks sooooo difficult) I could find.

    Any suggestions or comments like, "You're dreaming" would be welcome.

    Sincerely, Alvin ____

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    anything is possible. as for how long, it depends on you; how fast you learn, how dedicated you are, etc.

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    Guest Sebastiani's Avatar
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    Salem's got a great point there. I've got an unused copy of Visual Basic if you're interested .

    Personally I would avoid jumping straight into C++ - rather go with C since a) Windows is basically written in it and b) the language is a good primer for C++. Just my 2 cents.



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    Learning C before C++ is probably a bad idea, it will just teach you the wrong way to do things and you will pick up a few (in C++'s context) bad habits.

    That said, from the way you describe your problem domain, you are probably better off using a higher level language like (as mentioned before) Visual Basic or even something like Python (http://www.python.org) which is extremly easy to pickup.

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    This is just the beginning

    I have thought about programming in VISUAL BASIC.

    But it seems to me the standard in my industry is C++. I don't know why but the financial world is littered with C++ programmers and companies looking for them.

    So thats why I've taken up the challenge.

    On a separate note....

    I think I am getting a handle on the major concepts and the programming part of c++ shouldnt be that bad, but the MFC and Windows programming looks a bit tough.

    Does anyone know where I can buy pre-made source code? I'd be especially interested in source where it draws scatter plots, line and bar graphs when I pass the data to the function.

    Thanks for the replies.

  6. #6
    It's full of stars adrianxw's Avatar
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    If you're background is with non-object oriented languages, then it is only natural that you will have a few worries about the ++ of C++. Simply to inform you, Borlands Delphi products are actually based on Object Pascal, which you already know - you would probably get up to speed faster with that, it is a great product.

    If you want to go with C++ then just stick with it. I would always advise learning the raw API functions before using a class library like MFC. Once you understand what is happening at the lower levels, understanding the class wrappers is much easier.

    Give me an idea of the number and range of the points you want on your scatter graph and I, (or someone else - probably several people in fact), will write you a quick demo of how to plot them. You could always try www.rentacoder.com if you want to pay, (or send us money - pm me with your credit card details!).

    If you get into trouble with Windows specific stuff, post your messages on the Windows board, problems with the language, in here.

    Read this before you post any code, you'll get more help that way.

    10 years is a long time, but once you understand the concepts of programming, the rest is just semantics, you'll be fine.
    Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity unto the dream.

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    From a business perspective...

    My first concern is - How is this going to make you money?

    Especially if your new company is a one-man operation... Is this the best use of your time?

    If you simply need a few tools for you own use, then you have a good chance of getting something useful within a couple of months of part-time learning & programming. If you need something impressive to show clients... It's going to take you several months or more.

    Clearly, you want to learn C++ so you should go for it!

    If you need something soon, and you need a real return-on-investment. I agree with the above suggestions to automate your Excel process. Especially if Excel already includes the statistical, financial, and quantiative tools that you need. Excel is a very powerful and flexable program! I'll bet Excel is the tool used most often for one-off research prohects of all types, where there is nethier the time nor budget for a custom program.

    I don't know if MS Access has all the calculation and graphics capability of Excel, but can have a better "user interface".

    There are also more advanced statistical analysis and quantitative analysis programs available. I can't suggest anything, because it's been about 10 years since my quanitative analysis course.

    [EDIT]
    You dont' need to know Visual Basic to start automating Excel. You can create a macro by "recording" your mouse-clicks and keystrokes. I don't remember exactly how to do this, but I used it when I had to create a daily report and it greatly reduced the tedium and increased the fun!
    Last edited by DougDbug; 05-09-2003 at 12:01 PM.

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    Money

    Well now if I told you how we were making money that would be kind of silly now wouldnt it?

    Some of the best edges in the financial market places aren't found by Silicon Valley mathmeticians, Harvard MBA gradutes, or Wharton professors.

    Most of the time theories are just that theories and it takes experience and knowledge to actually know what works.

    As far as the company, we are 6 strong, however, 5 of us are non-programmers. We advise and manage offshore funds with over 50 million under management.

    I am currently using Excel and it has worked fine for the past 4 years. But our company has decided to design our own platform, at which I have control over the project.

    This is actually just the basic stuff I thought I could manage to do right now.

    The tough part comes when we have to implement our fund's money management system, modern portfolio theory, rebalancing and implementation of over 75 market systems running realtime.

    I know I can't handle all of this, but by learning C++ I could work with a programmer hand in hand making sure they are heading in the right direction.

  9. #9
    It's full of stars adrianxw's Avatar
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    >>>
    Well now if I told you how we were making money that would be kind of silly now wouldnt it?
    <<<

    Not at all, send me the details when you send your credit card details ;-)

    Seriously, Doug has a point. Yes we can show you how to do some basic graphing and whatever, but if you are running mission critical at the multi million level, you want to be careful with basic code hacking. After all, slip a decimal or 2, or miss an integer rounding at the wrong time...

    I would still say you should have a play, and would still say we can help, (and would still say you should send me your credit card details...), but be careful.

    Understanding something of todays software development skills will also help you if you decide to go with an external software house, you'll have a better chance of spotting the bull$***...
    Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity unto the dream.

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    Well now if I told you how we were making money that would be kind of silly now wouldnt it?
    I didn't ask how you were making money... I asked "how is this going to make you money." I was questioning if this was the best way for you to contribute time to your organization. I would ask the same question if you wanted to spend a significant part of your day maintaining your copy machines. And this will take-up a considerable amount of time.

    I know I can't handle all of this, but by learning C++ I could work with a programmer hand in hand making sure they are heading in the right direction.
    Right!

    implementation of over 75 market systems running realtime.
    I don't know how big of a number-crunching / database load that is, but is sounds impressive... like you need to build-on a "big" database platform (Oracle, SAP, DB2 ???)

  11. #11
    Registered User JetEngineCom's Avatar
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    i am in the finance sector myself and started off with C++ ... but as doug has pointed out, it just requires too much input on the part of effort, time and yes, money. the cost-benefit analysis for you is way too much on the cost than benefit. Like most of the earlier suggestions, i would advice vb6 and sql server for database. That combination will get anything done for a financial person right from stand alone programmes upto mission critical enterprises systems. if you still want the functionality of something like c++, you can upgrade later to vb.net, but really at that level of requirement, you will be less of a finance user and more of utility software development nerd.

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