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trippeer
04-07-2005, 08:41 PM
After 4 years as a CS major, I am 36 days away from graduation.

The problem is, I don't really feel like I have learned much. I don't feel prepared to enter the workforce as a computer programmer, so where do I go from here?

I don't know if it is normal to feel this way, but I know that I am not a good programmer. I am excellent on concepts. I can talk all day about how to do things, but when it comes to coding I struggle mightily.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Should I concentrate on one language and look for projects to do, or is there a book that I can work through to help me grow?

I have lurked here for a while and I like the community. If anyone has any advice for me I would really appreciate it.

If this needs to be on another board, please let me know. There was no generic programming board and the general board was for non-programming discussions.

sean
04-07-2005, 08:57 PM
You sound a lot like me. Don't do books. If you get a book, you're motivated to just go through and get the conceptual nature of the subject matter. Projects are the way to go. Have a look through some old threads in the Projects and Recruitments Board (near the bottom) - there've been several threads where people got bored and we just started suggesting all sorts of programs they could make. Try and wean yourself off having to lookup functions - memorize the common ones.

bluehead
04-07-2005, 11:04 PM
do what i do

get one step further than what you are. no matter how good you are, there is always a 'better'

set a goal. idk what kind of programming you studied, but as for me.. i'm begining opengl. my first goal was to get a box. then i made a really bad airplane simulation. now im going for a small fps, and i just keep building on.

motivate yourself. brag to your online friends about a program(or game) you're going to make, and just keep telling them its going to be the most awesome thing. that'll get you to start going (unless your like me and have a small reputation of quitting things halfway)

learn more languages. theyre all the same, just gotta learn syntax. and it makes you sound really smart if you list a lot of differant programming languages under "what programming languages do you know?"

hey, if you're tired of repetition, go learn assembly (if you don't know it already). so far that i've seen its weird and totally differant.

(i often do this in flash) if you have any friends that program, start a small competition with them. just so you can practice your memorization, or use of coding. just say you have an hour or two to program a [TOPIC], and see who can be the most creative


hell, theres tons of things you can do :]

Fordy
04-08-2005, 12:00 AM
Moved, as it isnt really C++

nvoigt
04-08-2005, 04:34 AM
The problem is, I don't really feel like I have learned much. I don't feel prepared to enter the workforce as a computer programmer, so where do I go from here?


You don't get experience anywhere else but in the workforce. Maybe you can look for a temp job or internship first. If you need more coding practice before that, only coding will help :rolleyes: Try to code some stuff that is useful for yourself. How about a tool that displays your harddrive as a chart listing all folders and their memory sizes ? Drill down for each folder obviously. A maze solver. Not useful, but fun. Heck, you can even build the next generation pr0n downloader, if it's useful and you get it done. Important is getting it done, because the first 90% of the project are easy, you only notice your mistakes in the last 10% of the work when trying to complete it.

Start a project. Get it done. Start small. The important thing is getting a small thing done, instead of dreaming up a large thing and leaving when it gets tough :D

ober
04-08-2005, 06:38 AM
>>get one step further than what you are. no matter how good you are, there is always a 'better'

Truer words have never been spoken on an internet forum.

College didn't teach me anything about programming. I learned all of that during my internship and since. You'll learn something new almost everyday, and if you're not, you're not pushing yourself or the language you're using. There are a million different ways to get the same results. Sometimes, it's fun to take different paths to the end.

Practice on your own, write an application to do something you do manually right now. Offer to write something for someone else. Get an internship. Do anything that will make you learn. Even if it means taking more courses on a specific language.

Eventually it'll be a breeze and you'll have more than a handful of languages under your belt.

Perspective
04-08-2005, 08:20 AM
"Start a project. Get it done. Start small. The important thing is getting a small thing done, instead of dreaming up a large thing and leaving when it gets tough"

+1 .. you'll learn the most just by doing. Pick a project that interests you and go at it.

DougDbug
04-08-2005, 05:08 PM
First, these feelings are normal. It's quite common for upper-level students to feel inadequate, or to feel like they are just faking it. At least in the hard sciences... The average sociology major is probably so full of self-esteem that they're ready to rule the world! :)

If you are attending a good school, and getting good grades, then you are ready for any employer who is willing to recruit new graduates. The employers know what they are getting.

You do know alot. What happens when you try to discuss your classes with your parents, or an English major? I remember my sister asking me, "Do you really know what all those parts on that (circuit board) do?" Yeah, it was a board that I'd designed & assembled.

Also, at the university level they are not trying to teach you how to write code. You are there to learn higher-level shtuff! I don't know what... I'm a hardware guy. :) If you major in mechanical engineering, you don't take classes on automotive repair. I also remember somebody asking me "You are going to graduate (with an electronics degree), and you can't fix your own TV?" Uhhh no, I guess you have to go to trade school for that.

Of course, practical knowledge and hands-on experience wouldn't hurt. But, your employer will have a plan to make use of your knowledge, and hopefully to help you improve your skills.

Some generalizations about working life -
Sometimes in school, you get the feeling that the professor/instructor is trying to make things tough... he won't tell you what's going to be on the test, etc. In the working world, your boss just wants you to get the job done. He will usually help you as much as he can. If you don't know something, he won't tell you to "go look it up," or "go re-study your book." He will just give you the answer, or tell you exactly where to find it. It's not considered cheating to work together with your coworkers. There's no homework either! Well, sometimes there is. But, you will usually be allowed to study "on the job" to some extent.

On the other hand, you are stuck inside all day. You don't get summers off, Christmas break, or spring break. In school there is always a sense of accomplishment... Done with that chapter, on to the next. Done with that class, on to the next. Last year I was a junior, now I'm a senior. After graduauation, years can go by, doing the same thing every day... Although in high-tech, most companies don't last too many years! :D

okinrus
04-08-2005, 07:02 PM
Also, at the university level they are not trying to teach you how to write code. You are there to learn higher-level shtuff! I don't know what... I'm a hardware guy. If you major in mechanical engineering, you don't take classes on automotive repair. I also remember somebody asking me "You are going to graduate (with an electronics degree), and you can't fix your own TV?" Uhhh no, I guess you have to go to trade school for th

For every higher level design concept I know, I really ought to be capable of reproducing it in code and algorithms. Otherwise, my knowledge is inadequate, definitely as a programmer and likely as a designer as well. But back to what Tripper said, if you think you're not a good programmer, it's likely not be the case. What I mean is, in projects I've done at school most of my problems are with improper organization, requirements,design, and the ability to look up information. Hence coding almost never becomes a show stopper unless if your missing out on the world of pointers and references, in which case you need to find a good book. Eventually, if you're in that situation, you'll find that you already know these concepts, it being just a matter of translation into code. After all, what's the conceptual difference between bwtween a position in longitute and lattitude and pointers?