Thread: Do you ever try to learn too much?

  1. #1
    Registered User Stonehambey's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Kent, UK

    Do you ever try to learn too much?

    I've been a hobbyist programmer for almost a year. I started out with some actionscript and not really know what I was doing. Then about 6 months or so ago I remembered about c++ and thought I'd give it another shot (I initially started to learn it when my dad bought me an "idiot's guide to c++" when I was 11). Since then it seems I can't help but always want to learn new things. I don't yet have a full grasp of c++ language yet and yet I still find myself wanting to write stuff using SDL, openGL, Qt and the like. I'm also simultaneously reading about 3 books on c++, as well as online tutorials. Everytime I see a new aspect of programming I think to myself "This is it! This will be my niche!"...until I find something else which sparks my interest.

    I think I probably would have done a lot better on my degree if I hadn't been spending so much time writing code (result of degree still pending!) and trying to figure out why my programs weren't compiling.

    I think maybe the best thing for me to do now is actually finish a book on c++. Steve Heller has a great online book which has done me good so far. It's about a thousand pages I'm about half way through, I hope to finish it by the end of the summer.

    As for pretty pictures, I've always got flash to make things move, until I learn how to do it in c++

    Am I the only one who wants to know everything about everything about programming, and wants to know it right now :P ?


  2. #2
    Registered User
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    May 2008
    I won't go so far as to call myself a programmer; it's been just a week since I discovered I like C so much, so I'm pretty much the baby over here. But yes, I feel the same way as you do, going back and forth between books and online tutorials... I still have 3 months before I start college, though, so (hopefully) I can make considerable progress by then...

  3. #3
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    It may seem overwhelming at first. The amount of information is scary. I remember feeling lost in so much information not really sure where should I turn my attention too. This was compounded by the fact I was learning it using the MinGW compiler which also forced (not really forced because of all the IDEs, but I still felt I needed to) me to learn about command line compiling and debugging.

    There will be some bumps where you will fell the inescapable "I will never learn all this!". Don't mind it. Push forward. I'd safely gather about everyone before you went through those moments and came out unscathed... in fact more powerful.

    My only suggestion is - and what I feel is one of the reasons so many people start, but then quit - is to put your priorities where they really are. Right now your objective is to learn C++. That's your only concern and should be your only concern. Your objective is also to write software (some tool, a game maybe). But that's further down in your timeline. Right now you should focus on learning the language, understanding the gritty details, ask about everything till everybody screams at you, and slowly build a working knowledge of the programming language.

    If instead you try to pursue your ultimate objective which is building that tool or game, you will be in a constant feeling of frustration as you have to stop and go back to try and understand why things don't work as you thought they were, why are you getting this compiler error and, the most common, "what is this compiler error". Constant frustration draws into premature quitting. Something I have seen happening not only in C++. The usual goodbye messages are "This is just too difficult for me!", "C++ is too complicated", "Other languages are so much easier!" and the also traditional "C++ sucks!".

    By understanding the learning process as a personal project of yours, and by understand a personal project of yours as just like any other business project, you will organize yourself better, make better decisions on what tasks are involved and where you should place them in the timeline of your project and, ultimately, do yourself a favor by actually learn not only how to program in C++, but also how to program.

    Best of luck. Check the C++ books recommendations somewhere on these forums (I cannot but say the best C++ book for learning purposes is in my opinion Addison-Wesley's C++ Primer. Don't not confuse with C++ Primer Plus, which is a waste of your money). Ask anything and everything you don't understand (but also make an effort to understand before you ask ) and have fun.

    EDIT: It took me 2 years to understand C++ to a usable level, which I personally define as being able to apply my knowledge to build somewhat complex applications confident on my skills. Much earlier than that you will be able to already build quite interesting tools. But never take those as personal projects. Rather as a means to an end, which is training your acquired knowledge.

    However I am and will always be learning. For instance, I still struggle around C++ templates. Sure I use them. But not for what they are really worth for. I also am finally starting to understand some of the more interesting details of the STL that will hopefully allow me to really take advantage of this library.

    Anyways, what I mean is that after two years of C++ learning I know nothing really of C++. I know how to assemble code together with my bare hands. That's how I call what I do. You have to be always understanding of your limitations and keep an open mind. You must always try to gain confidence but at the same time not fear looking at the whole picture and understand how small your knowledge will be for a long while. Takes time to really, really, learn C++.

    Anyways, I'm probably preaching. Worry not, I'm gone.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 06-04-2008 at 04:21 AM.
    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.

  4. #4
    and the hat of int overfl Salem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    The edge of the known universe
    Knowing C++ isn't a destination, it's a journey.

    Sure the road is hard at the start, but it will smooth out after a while. But even after many years, there will be the occasional surprise.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
    If at first you don't succeed, try writing your phone number on the exam paper.

  5. #5
    Registered User
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    Apr 2008
    If I had to do it all over again, I have tried to establish more of a niche. Working at startups and contracting has made me a jack-of-all-trades.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Four Dots Planet
    Do you ever try to learn too much?
    While learning C++ I feel that I am trying to learn too much!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    In your nightmares
    Quote Originally Posted by (::) View Post
    While learning C++ I feel that I am trying to learn too much!!!
    Same for me but with C. I probably should wait until after the HSC to learn C, but too late now... I tried attempting the Factorial contest, then I felt like I was learning too much, that stuff is extremely scary (Don't lookup Fast Fourier Transform)so in short fail. Learning the Win32 api was a sort of goal (not dream) of mine and I did it so that payed of and so did learning the numerous languages I know now. I would like some free time though, I have heard others have it and I want it.
    long time no C; //seige
    You miss 100% of the people you don't C;
    if (language != LANG_C && language != LANG_CPP)

  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Programming me off.
    I'm not immature, I'm refined in the opposite direction.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    I do this all the time. Not just with programming but with a lot of things. I'm very impulsive.

  10. #10
    Registered User
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    Nov 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by Stonehambey View Post
    I think maybe the best thing for me to do now is actually finish a book on c++. Steve Heller has a great online book which has done me good so far. It's about a thousand pages I'm about half way through, I hope to finish it by the end of the summer.

    I'm reading that book too! Right now I'm on chapter 3. The stuff on ASM, binary, and how the computer works is really getting me interested in learning a bit more about it from other resources.
    BTW, the book is called "C++: A Dialog"

  11. #11
    Ethernal Noob
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    These days I'm flipping through C++, Java, C#, Windows Forms, Swing, OpenGL, 3D Math, Design Patters, Schoolwork, etc. etc.

    The hard part is figuring out is where to pick up stuff I dropped when moving to another subject.

  12. #12
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by Stonehambey View Post
    Am I the only one who wants to know everything about everything about programming, and wants to know it right now :P ?

    Why limit yourself to just programming. My current reading list -

    Artificial Intelligence, a modern approach
    Neural Networks, a comprehensive foundation
    Infinite game universe: Level design
    Infinite game universe: 3d terrain modelling
    Programming game AI by example
    Small Unit Tactics
    Army Field Manual on survival
    'A long way gone. Memoirs of a boy soldier'
    Programming Microsoft DirectShow for Digital Video and Television
    Introdution to 3d game programming with DirectX 9.0
    SWAT unit training methods
    Neural Networks for Image Recognition
    Chemistry of Authentic Indus Valley Curries

    and a couple others I cant remember at the moment.
    Last edited by abachler; 06-17-2008 at 07:58 AM.

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