Starting C++ & Computer Science Major

This is a discussion on Starting C++ & Computer Science Major within the C++ Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; Hi all, I'm majoring in Computer Science at my local college and prior to comming to this college, I had ...

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    Starting C++ & Computer Science Major

    Hi all,

    I'm majoring in Computer Science at my local college and prior to comming to this college, I had absolutely no programming knowlege, just the enthusiasm that I liked computers.

    So after a few semesters, I realize that my college only teaches the basics of C++ in one, 4 month semester. After that, there isn't anymore C++ classes, or really any other programming courses except for an intro to Java in another 2 semesters from now.

    So, now I'm kind of stuck. I know basics of C++, but that's it. All of my computer science courses are theory now, no programming whatsoever. They are making me take a lot of math and physics courses, 6 math, 3 physics in my major, and a bunch of Computer theory classes. I only find time to try to code during summer break.

    I bought a C++ book to learn from: "C++ How to Program 4th Ed" by Deitel and I just finished chapter 5 strings, but there are no solutions to the programming tasks at the end and I'm having trouble getting my programs to work.

    Please, any advice on what direction I should be going or any information to help me learn what I need to know for a Computer Science would be aprriciated.

    Thank You.

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    Senior Member joshdick's Avatar
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    You could talk to a professor about how you're feeling.

    Then again, computer science isn't about learning a language. It's much more focused on theory. Once you know all of that theory, you should be able to pick up something as insignificant as syntax very easily to program in any language.

    I suggest learning on the side when you have the time but devoting your primary energies to the curriculum that has been decided on as best by experts in the field. As always, you can talk to a professor. They're there to help you through your education and teach you.
    FAQ

    "The computer programmer is a creator of universes for which he alone is responsible. Universes of virtually unlimited complexity can be created in the form of computer programs." -- Joseph Weizenbaum.

    "If you cannot grok the overall structure of a program while taking a shower, you are not ready to code it." -- Richard Pattis.

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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    IMHO curriculum at colleges suck. Most include courses that you will never ever use in your career. If you can take a lot of electives - perhaps classes about different languages and so forth I would do that. Principles are very important, but you can have all the principles and theory in the world w/o really knowing how to implement them.

    So it is a balance of theory and practicum. Unfortunately, most, not all, colleges fall short on practicum. They get stuck in educationdom or this type of education bubble. Yes it works in the classroom, no it will not work or ever be used in your career or perhaps away from the college.

    So you must decide for yourself what you want to focus on and how you learn best. Some can understand every theory and principle but are unable to apply it and some can take all the practical courses in the world and still not understand the principles and theories behind it. Neither case is good. You want to be right in the middle of those two extremes. So take courses that keep you in the middle.

    You don't want to graduate college and never have programmed in any certain language, but you also don't want to graduate and never have taken any courses about the theory behind programming, data structures, etc., etc.

    Either way, you will find your niche very quickly. Talk to a counselor about it - a good counselor, not one that is just trying to shove credits down your throat.

    And, hopefully, I'll be joining you in this struggle as I'm planning to finally go back and complete my CS degree. I hope to eventually get a masters in comp sci.

    So, yes, joshdick, I've finally turned to the dark side.

    Last edited by VirtualAce; 12-25-2003 at 12:25 AM.

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    Senior Member joshdick's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bubba
    So, yes, joshdick, I've finally turned to the dark side.

    Welcome. Everyone knows we're the smartest anyway
    FAQ

    "The computer programmer is a creator of universes for which he alone is responsible. Universes of virtually unlimited complexity can be created in the form of computer programs." -- Joseph Weizenbaum.

    "If you cannot grok the overall structure of a program while taking a shower, you are not ready to code it." -- Richard Pattis.

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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Welcome. Everyone knows we're the smartest anyway


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    o0o
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    Arrow

    Theory is very important and ofcourse we cannot only rely on theory cuz lots of coding practice is also needed.So I'll just advise u to concentrate on both theory and coding practice.Solve the excercises given in the book.Make ur own programs too.If u then need any help just ask the forum.Good luck.

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    Nor
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    When you merge theory and programming there be a fine line easily missed.
    Once you have a good understanding of a theory the only way I know of applying it be to start thinking up models.

    For example I am currently in the process of embalming myself in fluid mechanics. To sum up most the general theories Iíve been reading, each particle with known physical properties(mass, temp, acceleration, to name a few. Programming info) movementís can be calculated/predicted by apply its physical forces(direction, velocity, acceleration, friction, etc) to any particles that it collides with.

    In a programmers frame of mind(depending on how insane your really are) you should first form a outline of your theory. From the above block of text(canít remembers how to spell the p word) see that you need a list of particles. in c++ terms an array.

    Secondly you need a physical properties class. Containing all the variables you will be needing and all the different functions to calculate and apply the different forces to its self.

    Then I need a particle class which will contain information about the - say the color/texture/crap that is unique to particles-. The particles class will be derided from the physical class because its just easier to reuse code that way.

    Here is where being a programmer helps. Forgive me if this seems a little complex Ö itís a lot more than a littleÖ All the above can be done be a five year old who under stands his/her/itís theory and stuffz.

    You need a way to calculate the finish programming the theory. So far you have a class for the physical forces and such. One specific to the particles and all the info you need for them.

    Now your just missing something to make it all work together. A physics class.
    It needs to be able to access all the particles. (particles_array)
    Needs to have a simple function you can call to do all the hard work for you.( Update )

    The update function is the heart and sole of the engion/modol/class/project/(your descriptive term here)

    Basically you cycle throw the list of particles applying its movement then checking for collisions, then applying its forces to the object it collided with and recalculating its own physics properties.

    This may not be a good example for you. I think i'm good with theories (been studying then for about 7 years. Mostly the above type stuff) so if this doesnít help post one and I will write up an example for you.

    P.S. the above is the simple stuff.
    Try to help all less knowledgeable than yourself, within
    the limits provided by time, complexity and tolerance.
    - Nor

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    Thanks all! Wow, all these replies so quickly and in a helpful manner.

    I did talk to my CS adviser, and she ended up admitting that she isn't a Computer Science major, nor has taken up any Computer Science courses in her life.... She said she follows the course guidebook and "Well, other CS students tell me this and that.." ¨_¨

    That's why I'm looking for any other information from any source possible.

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    It sounds to me like you are doing the perfect thing. Get the theory from school and since they don't teach the practical part you are looking for you are getting that yourself. But like some others said don't slip behind in the theory. Marks do count in life whenever someone reads your transcript. Good luck!

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