What's Next?

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  1. #1
    Student drdroid's Avatar
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    What's Next?

    So I have this non-programming problem about programming. I'm sure someone else here's experienced it. Let's call it a life crisis.

    I want a project that'll test and build my programming skills. My issue is that I don't want to manufacture puzzles, I just want to solve them. I have this weird fundamental problem with making fake trouble. At the same time, I'm probably not experienced enough to be dropped out into the real world.

    I'm an undergrad student at McGill. Going into my third year so I figured I might try my hand helping out a professor or grad student. Also I'm already looking for an internship for next summer.

    None of that helps me now. So here I am. It's a big dilemma for me. Does this leave me to work out of a book? Should I just hang out at lectures and worry about assignments?

    Well, I'm gonna go grab some coffee. I hope all's going well for you guys. Have a good hump day! =)

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    None of that helps me now.
    Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but why doesn't that help you now? As Fall/Autumn is upon us, Professors and grad students will probably be looking to recruit someone like you very soon. Going into your third year (of CS, I presume) I'd say you have enough knowledge to get a decent "student job" doing programming - ask around, use your school's job-finding resources, etc...

    I know you don't like solving artificial problems, and that's probably a good thing - but until you find something like a real internship or something in that vein, any practice and experience you get will help you. So go ahead and make sure you can do the problems in the book. Find a simple open-source project and try understanding it. If you can, try contributing.

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdroid View Post
    I want a project that'll test and build my programming skills. My issue is that I don't want to manufacture puzzles, I just want to solve them.
    Do you know about the "Google Summer of Code"? If not, check it out. It doesn't start again until next April, but that would be a $5000 US internship for 2.5 months. In the meantime, you can look at the proposals the participating "mentoring organizations" used this year. Since many of them probably do still accept volunteers to help with similar projects, you could do that for a while to score brownie points and get some knowledge.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    Once you have a base understanding of the language, it's time to challenge yourself with a project that will force you to learn more in order to complete it. You could maybe do a IRC or IM client (which would teach you about network programming), or something else that interests you. One thing I did when I was learning was create a simple, non-relational database. It was a pretty fun project, and I learned a ton.

  5. #5
    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    Try some competitions. These are pretty self-contained and ideal for solo programming assignments in a short period of time.
    Clusty Search » programming contests

    Or join one of any number of open source projects. Most could do with more people.
    SourceForge.net: Find and Develop Open-Source Software
    Useful for developing that all important skill in any programming, that is working in a team.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
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    Student drdroid's Avatar
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    Wow! I'm pretty sure I have whiplash from the freakishly quick response time. Thanks so much! =)

    Code:
    So these are the suggestions:
    
         1. Dissect (later contribute to) an open source project.
         2. Check Google's mentoring organizations.
         3. Solo project (e.g., IRC, non-relational database).
         4. Competitions.
    Solo projects are odd things to me. I get majorly psyched and invest a lot of time into them. Then once I get beyond the interesting and new—you know, the part where you're just typing while not even thinking anymore—I move on. Maybe I'm just picking really simple project ideas. I'll look into one of those two you mentioned, bithub.

    An open source project would be ideal. My mouth waters thinking about it but I can never seem to find one that isn't leaps and bounds ahead of me. I usually find something simple, open it up and the code just looks like magic. I'll sift through sourceforge though because I really would love to find one.

    As far as internships and mentoring organizations go, I would say that sean is probably right. Three weeks feels like a long time to me because I'm a jittery bored-when-idle kind of person but I should be able to latch onto a project once I get back to school. To be honest, I wouldn't mind mopping the floors and taking out the garbage if a prof would take me on and show me the ropes.

    Thanks again everybody. I'm glad that someone—several someones—knows what my mind's going through!

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    There is a cboard community project too. It is slow going because of course everyone has other things to do, but you might find it interesting:

    CCP • View forum - Discussions

    We are still in the planning phases of designing a new language interpreter, if that is up your alley.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

  8. #8
    Student drdroid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    There is a cboard community project too. It is slow going because of course everyone has other things to do, but you might find it interesting:

    CCP • View forum - Discussions

    We are still in the planning phases of designing a new language interpreter, if that is up your alley.
    Very cool. I'll check that out too. Thanks! =)

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