computer programmer information wanted

This is a discussion on computer programmer information wanted within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; So i have been thinking seriously for a while now about becoming a programmer. Im a jr. in high school ...

  1. #1
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    Question computer programmer information wanted

    So i have been thinking seriously for a while now about becoming a programmer. Im a jr. in high school and my options are still pretty open. so i just have a few questions,
    1. In your opinion, what are some of the best colleges to learn the art at?
    2. I am already learning the basics of c and c++, will this really help me at all?
    3. what languages should i learn that are needed in most decent jobs?

    To really start out, i hardly know the basics, but i am really confident that this is what i want to do. So can anyone help me out here?
    Feel free to post any other information i may find useful.

  2. #2
    and the hat of sweating
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    1. U of Waterloo, U of Toronto are supposed to be pretty good, but I'm sure most Universities should have decent courses. Colleges might not be as good as bigger Universities though.

    2. Of course! Unless you plan on becoming an Assembly programmer. A lot of languages are all based around C & C++, so if you already know those and you wanted to learn other languages like Java or C#, the syntax is almost identical.

    3. Look on the job boards to see what's most wanted in the city you plan on living in. Here I've seen TONs of Java & C# jobs, and not as many C++ jobs (which I would prefer). But then it's not just the languages themselves you need to know, since most jobs want people that know all these APIs & other technologies like MFC, .NET framework, SOAP, AJAX, JSP...
    "I am probably the laziest programmer on the planet, a fact with which anyone who has ever seen my code will agree." - esbo, 11/15/2008

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    Jack of many languages Dino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amaevers View Post
    So i have been thinking seriously for a while now about becoming a programmer. Im a jr. in high school and my options are still pretty open. so i just have a few questions,
    1. In your opinion, what are some of the best colleges to learn the art at?
    2. I am already learning the basics of c and c++, will this really help me at all?
    3. what languages should i learn that are needed in most decent jobs?

    To really start out, i hardly know the basics, but i am really confident that this is what i want to do. So can anyone help me out here?
    Feel free to post any other information i may find useful.
    1) Doesn't matter - just get your degree. In the end, one could think of a college degree as a win ("W") in a baseball statistics book. Let's say your favorite team pulls off a win, but it was a real ugly win, like they only won because the other team made really stupid mistakes in the last inning. So, technically, your team won the game, but it was an UGLY Win. The scorekeepers don't put a "U" for ugly next to the "W" in the Win or Lose column of the record book. They just put a "W". So goes a college degree. My point is, it doesn't matter where you get a degree, it just matters that you have one. (Sure, if you were going for a law degree and wanted to work at a prestigious firm, blah blah - but this is not the case. We're talking information technology here).

    2) Absolutely.

    3) If your definition of "most decent" is synonymous with "highest paying", consider learning the mainframe environment and learning the Assembler language. It doesn't sound very sexy, but the pay sure let's you sleep good at night (well over 6 figures for good assembler developers). And, since you are in JHigh now, by the time you get out of school and college, all those old farts that are working in the mainframe field today will have actually retired**, and the demand for mainframe skills will be quite high.

    **This prediction has been floating around for 10 years, but it hasn't happened yet, and won't happen for another 10.
    Mac and Windows cross platform programmer. Ruby lover.

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    Amen brother!

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    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    > This prediction has been floating around for 10 years, but it hasn't happened yet, and won't happen for another 10.
    Retiring in 10 years are we?

    As for point 1, after you've had a few jobs your degree won't count for much (other than you have one). But it will count for the first few jobs you do. My story is much like yours, learnt C in year 9 (junior high?). Stayed with it until year 12, which is the last year of school. It seemed to help with maths, and various IT subjects I did in school. Then got into a Software Engineering degree at uni, sure the programming is fun -- but it seems there are other related areas (still under the SE umbrella) that get the chicks and the cash. SQA, Design, Software Architect, etc for example.

    I wouldn't be too worried about how much you do/learn before Uni/College... most of the people in my degree (was 44 at the start of the year, now only 13 remain -- 3 years to go after this too) have never programmed before. Some haven't even really used computers before... However anything you do before you get there will definiatly help.
    Last edited by zacs7; 09-20-2008 at 07:14 AM.

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    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    Knowing how to program is vastly more important than knowing the syntax of a programming language.

    Even simple applications run to many 1000's of lines of code. Complex beasts (like a mobile phone say) run into the millions of lines. Being able to break a problem down into manageable parts is a vital first step. Without that, you're just a clever "hello world" programmer.

    Pick a course which has at least one "group" exercise, to teach you how to break a problem down into manageable parts, and also about programming in a team.

    Actually, pick a course which doesn't specifically use say C++ as the primary teaching langauge. It's too big for most learning purposes. And from past experience on message boards, most places make a complete mess of teaching it anyway.
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    Unregistered User Yarin's Avatar
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    While you're on the subject...

    I've been programming C/C++ for a while now, but I don't know C# or Java. This is because I've never really had a need, C++ has provided anything that I can image is providable by a language. I do want to make programming my profession in the future, do you guys think I should become acquainted with C# or Java?
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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    You'd want to widen your horizons when the time comes to make a profession out of it. While it is conceivable for you to want to to specialize in one or two languages (in which case I'd suggest C++ and C# for their combined current offerings in the job market), it doesn't hurt and it certainly helps for you to get familiar with other important languages like Java.

    However the problem won't put itself. You see, after you gained enough confidence in the field of computer programming and preferably follow through with your academic education to fill in the blanks left from just reading computer languages manuals, you will be empowered with the ability to quickly and effectively learn any new language with a "minimum" of effort.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    hey thanks for the info guys, ill be sure to remember all this

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    Jack of many languages Dino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacs7 View Post
    Retiring in 10 years are we?
    I wish. Perhaps if I hit the lottery, but then again, I'd have to buy a ticket to do that.
    Mac and Windows cross platform programmer. Ruby lover.

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    12/20: Mario F.:I never was, am not, and never will be, one to shut up in the face of something I think is fundamentally wrong.

    Amen brother!

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