Who Learns How?

This is a discussion on Who Learns How? within the C++ Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; I was just wondering who on this site has actually been taught C++ and who has basically taught themselves, I ...

  1. #1
    ResurgentBarbecue UnclePunker's Avatar
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    Who Learns How?

    I was just wondering who on this site has actually been taught C++ and who has basically taught themselves, I myself have had some basic training but am mainly self taught, I feel I may be missing quite a bit by not having the voice of experience to help me through, any other ideas on this?
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    twm
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    Self taught by reading souce code and faking my way through things until I actually knew what to do.
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    Registered User major_small's Avatar
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    I'm mostly self-taught... I started learning it one summer and then took two high-school courses for it... the high school courses only brought up passing values by reference to functions, but i've learned past classes and linked lists on my own...

    I kinda feel the same way as you, and that's why I'm in college for programming now
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    twm
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    >I feel I may be missing quite a bit by not having the voice of experience to help me through, any other ideas on this?
    Sorry, missed this part. Most teachers are stupid anyway, so you're not missing much. By visiting newsgroups and well established forums like this one you can get more experienced help than most programming courses.
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  5. #5
    ResurgentBarbecue UnclePunker's Avatar
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    I didn't mean that you guys weren't the voice of experience, I have learnt a hell of a lot from this forum and the people on it, I guess I really meant a structured learning program, but I have friends who are learning C++ at college and your right their teacher does sound stupid.
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    carry on JaWiB's Avatar
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    I'm completely self-taught, but from what I've heard about programming classes I haven't missed much
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    Senior Member joshdick's Avatar
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    Originally posted by major_small
    I'm mostly self-taught... I started learning it one summer and then took two high-school courses for it... the high school courses only brought up passing values by reference to functions, but i've learned past classes and linked lists on my own...

    I kinda feel the same way as you, and that's why I'm in college for programming now
    Pretty much the same story for me. Two courses in high school that didn't teach much. I learned about more advanced concepts on my own, and now I'm majoring in CS and Math. If you major in CS, you'll get plenty of formal instruction.
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    Self-taught C/C++ (mostly from books). I've previously taken classes in BASIC, Fortran, and Assembly.

    There is a lot of value in formal classes. Classes give you structure, feedback, motivation, and face-to-face interaction with an instructor and other students.

    I miss the structure and feedback the most. I found the structure of Teach Yourself C++ In 21 Days, by Jesse Liberty, very helpful. It has a good tutorial style with questions and exercises at the end of each chapter with answers and solutions in the back. The problem is, most of the more advanced books aren't structured for self-learning like this, and it's difficult to know if you really "get it".

    I think the BEST approach would be to take classes AND study on your own!
    Last edited by DougDbug; 10-30-2003 at 12:01 PM.

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    Registered User axon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by twm
    Most teachers are stupid anyway, so you're not missing much.
    How can you even say that?! Some of my professors are simply brilliant, and I'm sure that I would not learn half as much by myself as I did with the help of my professors. Newsgroups/forums/books are nothing compared to a good professor who loves to teach!

    I'm completely self-taught, but from what I've heard about programming classes I haven't missed much
    that might be true as syntax goes...but what about the Computer science way of thinking? My hat goes of to you if you have mastered c++ on your own, but how many of you picked up a discrete mathematics book? how many of you can come up with efficient algorythims from mathematical induction?

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    Registered User harryP's Avatar
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    I'm self-taught. I read a book on it, made some programs, came here, learned tons of new stuff. My brother is taking a college course in it right now, and yeah...the teacher is really dumb.

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    self taught through books for 2 years. then took a basic course but thats about it.
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    Software Developer jverkoey's Avatar
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    Originally posted by axon
    How can you even say that?! Some of my professors are simply brilliant, and I'm sure that I would not learn half as much by myself as I did with the help of my professors. Newsgroups/forums/books are nothing compared to a good professor who loves to teach!
    see, that's where the difference comes in, if a teacher doesn't love what they do, they end up doing a poor job of teaching it. This is true in MOST cases at the high school level, as most of the programming teachers either a) don't want to do that class but have to cuz they got stuck with it, or b) they have no idea how to program at all and can't teach themselves jack (IE: only way they can learn is through classes).

    Sure, I believe that when placed in the right scenario, being in a computer science class can do GREAT wonders for programming, but most of the time that's just not the case.

    Also, any programmer who CAN'T teach themself how do to things will only be left behind in the future. The tech industry is mvoing by so fast that if you aren't keeping up, you'll be left in the dust. This is what happens to many people in the "older" generation (40+) as their brains don't tend to learn things as quickly. That is also why so many people who are currently in the proffession right now complain about having to take new courses every 5 months on the newest stuff. Well, think about this: if you tought yourself how to do those things, you wouldn't HAVE to take the course!

    all things being said, i'm not against courses, I believe that they help concrete the knowledge of what people know. Like axon said, a lot of people here have taught themselves how to program, but not many have taught themselves "well", in the sense that a majority of the people here who are self-taught probably don't know the organizational skills of writing code as well as someone who just graduated from a computer science degree.

    another thing to consider however is human persistency. In my case, I am completely self-taught, i'll admit (and I know that there are a few complete self-teachers here, like Charles, the guy who made actanathide/lactanide [spelling, erk], and he is damn good at programming) so i believe that as long as there is the WILL to learn, people can learn however much they would like and however fast they would like. However, once that will to learn dissappears is the point where programmers start losing "inspiration" and stop doing their work as good as they used to.

    *ends rant and goes back to work on compiler*

    -edit-
    *realizes how many people are probably going to find some sort of thing that they don't agree with in the above message*
    note: if you don't agree with what i said, that's fine, this is just my opinion and i welcome yours

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    Teachers, Instructors, and Professors...

    High school teachers - It is unlikely that a high school teacher will have a CS degree or any real-world programming experience. Hopefully your high-school teacher enjoys programming. The worst case is that he/she was just been handed a teacher's edition of the book, or maybe took a "how to teach programming" class, and was assigned to teach the class.

    Community college instructors - Your community college instructor probably enjoys programming (and enjoys teaching programming) and may have a "day job" as a programmer. He/she may have a CS degree or an engineering degree in another subject.

    University professors - A Computer Science professor will have a PhD in CS (That's a 4-year degree and at least 2 more years). At a minimum, university courses are taught by graduate students (students with a 4-year degree, working on a higher degree). Some university courses are going to be heavy on theory, and light on practical programming... So, after a year of self-study, you might be writing cooler programs than a university student. But after 4 years, the university student will probably be way ahead.

    [EDIT]
    Most people with programming JOBS have a 4-year degree in Computer Science, Science or Engineering. I would have predected that lots of us here are curious self-tought hobbyists-types. (I almost want to say hackers, but that word has lots of different meanings.)
    Last edited by DougDbug; 10-30-2003 at 04:27 PM.

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    Some of us come here because we like programming, and some come to get out of programming. Some have been self taught and some have had formal training. Some know more than others. So be it.

    Some teachers are good and some aren't. If the attitude is respectful, that's what matters most, as far as I'm concerned. How the teacher acquired the knowledge is immaterial and the reliability is less important than a willingness to admit mistakes and learn together if need be.

    As for me, I'm self learning. What I know, I've picked up as I go. Sometimes I'm able to work out the projects I tackle without much help, and other times I'm afraid I'll wear out my welcome. Sometimes the help I offer is successful, and sometimes I embarrass myself. Doesn't much matter if someone learns something either way.

  15. #15
    carry on JaWiB's Avatar
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    ...but what about the Computer science way of thinking? My hat goes of to you if you have mastered c++ on your own, but how many of you picked up a discrete mathematics book? how many of you can come up with efficient algorythims from mathematical induction?
    I agree with you there. What I meant was that programming classes (not classes that teach algorithms or data stuctures and all that fun stuff) doesn't sound too helpful. I plan to major in computer science because I hope to learn (or at least gain a better understanding) of those things. It also isn't too realistic to get a good job without a college degree of some sort
    "Think not but that I know these things; or think
    I know them not: not therefore am I short
    Of knowing what I ought."
    -John Milton, Paradise Regained (1671)

    "Work hard and it might happen."
    -XSquared

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