Question for people with C++ programming jobs

This is a discussion on Question for people with C++ programming jobs within the C++ Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; I'm a student getting ready to graduate next year with a CS degree in C++ programming. I've been starting to ...

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    Question for people with C++ programming jobs

    I'm a student getting ready to graduate next year with a CS degree in C++ programming. I've been starting to think that my college is not teaching me what I really need to know. I've never been taught anything on, STL, vectors, GUI, tchar, and I'm sure there are other things. In your jobs do you use these features ofter? Is my college preparing me to get a job? Thanks

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    The bad news is, it's true, you aren't learning what you need to know.
    The good news is, most college grads feel the same way you do.
    The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy the heavens. Doubtless this is so. But it proves nothing against the heavens, for the heavens signify simply: the impossibility of crows.

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    Yes, these things are used often in most programming jobs that use C++. That doesn't mean that your college is not preparing you. The point of those college courses is primarily to teach theories and for you to be able to comprehend and utilize the information you are being given.

    When we interview future college graduates, we focus on how well they know what they were taught, rather than whether they know the specific things that we use. A good programmer is able to transfer his or her skills to different situations, so it is ok if you haven't been taught any of those specific skills. That said, it is always better if a candidate is familiar with the things that we use, so if you can it wouldn't hurt to learn those things on your own outside of school.

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    Can I work for you Daved ?
    Woop?

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    semi-colon generator ChaosEngine's Avatar
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    when I started work, I knew the bare bones of C++. I was aware of STL, vectors, GUI and tchar, but never used them. 7 years later, I wouldn't even contemplate writing any production code in C++ without the STL (and boost for that matter). GUI skill's are useful, but these days you're far more likely to write a GUI in C# or java, rather than C++. Most C++ programming these days is at a systems level. Never used tchar, but it wouldn't be a problem if I had to.

    An employer isn't really looking to see that you're a C++ guru. You'll pick all this stuff up as you go along.

    Sit down, this will be hard to take. Your degree, once you get your first job, is pretty much worthless. Don't get me wrong, you need it to get your first job, but after that it's pretty much a formality. A degree simply states to your employer that you have the ability to learn, and you'll learn more in the first 6 months as a professional coder than in 4 years of college.

    All that aside, if I was interviewing a candidate for a C++ graduate position, I would expect them to know about STL and boost, even if they hadn't much experience using them. Happily this is easily rectified. Spend an afternoon reading up on what the STL and boost do and you should be sweet.
    (Hint:
    stl: containers, iterators and algorithms, find out what these are
    boost: there's tonnes of stuff but at the very least look at shared_ptr)
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    If you program in C++, you need Boost. You should also know how to use the Standard Library (STL). Want to make games? After reading this, I don't like WxWidgets anymore. Want to add some scripting to your App?

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    Code Goddess Prelude's Avatar
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    >I've been starting to think that my college is not teaching me what I really need to know.
    Fancy that.

    >I've never been taught anything on, STL, vectors
    That's typical of a C++ course that needs serious modernization.

    >GUI, tchar
    And how would this be relevant if you get a job doing systems programming? College won't load you up with everything you need to know to be a programmer. In fact, most of what you need will be learned on the job.

    >and I'm sure there are other things
    So am I. It's impossible to learn everything about C++ in a lifetime, much less 4 years.

    >In your jobs do you use these features ofter?
    I use a small fraction of the language features, maybe 15%. I use the standard library heavily, and any system APIs or external libraries needed for whatever project I'm working on.

    >Is my college preparing me to get a job?
    It depends on your expectations. Yes, you're being prepared to get a job, but probably not in the way that you want. College gives you general knowledge, and it's up to your employer to train you properly for the specific job you're hired to do.
    My best code is written with the delete key.

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    This thread ideally should have been posted in the General Discussions board, as this is not really about the technical details of C++.

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    Sorry about posting in the wrong board. Thanks for the help. I understand college can't teach me everything that's why I want to know what I'm missing. I've been doing to research, thats why I know about STL, Vectors, and tchar even though my college has never gone over that. I've looked at the iterators but I don't see the point in using them. Why are they better than using the ++ in a for loop, because they won't go out of bounds? Thanks again

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    Quote Originally Posted by dnysveen
    I'm a student getting ready to graduate next year with a CS degree in C++ programming.
    Dude, you're giving me impression that you only know C++; that's bad news. (Well, depending where you live.) If you really still have a year a.k.a. 12 months, then it's not too late get involved in some open source project, an internship, etc.
    source: compsci textbooks, cboard.cprogramming.com, world wide web, common sense

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    I took java a single java course as my second language requirement. Why is C++ a bad idea? I've been doing research on Microsoft, that's where I want to work, and they still heavily use C++.

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    Can you tell me what I *should* be expect to know for getting a programming job?

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    semi-colon generator ChaosEngine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnysveen
    Can you tell me what I *should* be expect to know for getting a programming job?
    non-C++ specific:
    algorithms, data structures, comp.sci. basics (binary, 2's complement, etc), boolean logic, turing machines, OO theory (inheritance, polymorphism, encapsulation, explain why low coupling and high cohesiveness is good)

    C++ specific:
    c++ object, memory and execution models, program flow control (at the very least understand all looping and conditional language constructs), pointers, functions, classes.

    one of the most important skills (in fact nearly THE most important skill) a developer can have is the ability to find out information. There's a reason so many questions are answered with "google it". If I present you with MSDN and ask "how can I configure a serial port to use 38400-8-N-1 under win32?", I don't expect you to know the exact function name, parameters, return values, etc off the top of your head, but I DO expect you to be able to find out sharpish.
    "I saw a sign that said 'Drink Canada Dry', so I started"
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    Free Compiler: Visual C++ 2005 Express
    If you program in C++, you need Boost. You should also know how to use the Standard Library (STL). Want to make games? After reading this, I don't like WxWidgets anymore. Want to add some scripting to your App?

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    In addition to what ChaosEngine said, I (and I'm sure others) like to ask interviewees about projects they worked on. Comments on difficulties and solutions in general, as well as specific solutions to programming tasks are important to have ready. That means that when you are doing projects now, don't just do enough to get it done, try to come up with the best solution. You get a plus in my book if you can describe scenarios where you spent the extra effort to code things the right way rather than the easy way.

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