View Full Version : 14 - Is Programming a future?

04-11-2005, 06:14 PM
Hey all.
Im 14, living in the UK. For my age, I do well in Maths, and have basic computer skills.

To me, programming looks really interesting. Both the maths, logic, and creativity look really appealing. Like alot of maths, programming looks to be like a "perfect logic," like a chess game that must be won!

However, I have NO programming experience, and do not know where to start. I will definatly want to go to university when I'm 18, possibly for a mathmatics or software development course.

But like I said, i don't know where to start! When did you guys start programming, and how? What advice would you give? I know its looking alot into the future, but I was thinking of programming as a career, how would i begin?

Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks alot, Ric

04-11-2005, 06:25 PM
I started at 14, I'm 19 now. I just *really* wanted to learn C++ at a young age so I just bought a C++ book and did everything I could to learn new material. Hardest thing I've ever done but I'm proud of it. There's no 'trick' you just gotta be willing to learn and think about concepts. The best way to learn how to write computer programs is to write computer programs.

My first compiler was borland 5.02, given to me by a cousin who is an electrical engineer. My first book was sams teach yourself C++ in 21 days, given to me by my high school freshman math teacher.

My experience likely won't end up in a career. I could, but I've basically programmed myself to the ground and am sick of it, because I was so gung ho for so damn long. Quite proficient (you don't really forget how to program, kind of like riding a bike), but I've decided to serve a term of enlistment instead. Sort of a word of caution.

04-11-2005, 06:32 PM
Welcome :D :cool:

I'm 15 and I started programming in the fall of last year and I am currently working on a text-based RPG. We actually have several people around this age. The tutorials on this site are very good you should take a look. Message message or e-mail me if you need any help. You will also need a compiler. Dev-C++ (http://www.bloodshed.net/dev/devcpp.html) is a good free compiler.

04-11-2005, 06:44 PM
Hi I'm 33 and doing a Comp. Sci. PhD. I also teach Comp. Sci. The undergraduate course at my Uni is quite difficult - much more so for people who didn't muck around with computers/programming when they were in their early teens. Programming is always a useful skill to have. There are good programming careers to be had, and there are good programming related careers. There are also careers that have nothing at all to do with programming, but where the mental thoroughness that is developed through programming is helpful. If you are interested in programming, go for it. If you OD, take a break! Some suggestions:
- learn about unix/linux/cygwin
- look through a few programming texts and find one that suits you...
- learn about algorithms

Zach L.
04-11-2005, 06:47 PM
To get into programming, as Darkness said, you really have to just want to get into it, and be willing to work at it. At 14, I wouldn't worry too much about whether it'll lead to a programming career or not, though.

If you like math (particularly discrete math and logic), then there is a good likelihood that you'd enjoy programming as well. And, the skills (problem solving ability/intuition, etc) are quite handy.

04-11-2005, 06:49 PM
buy some books, read some articles, get cracking.

04-11-2005, 09:24 PM
Programming and developing software is a fantastic way to make a living. If you love coding and try hard, you will find you'll have a fantastic job where you are always learning, and you'll be delighted to find people will pay you large amounts of money for it. You get to exercise your brain, and in some cases you may never need to deal with customers, and you don't have the responsibility of holding someone’s life in your hands : P

It's also a fantastic skill to learn at a young age, because as long as you have the internet and a computer it's free! You can't stay up until 3AM practicing open heart surgery, but many new programmers (and even old ones) do this and don't even realize what time it is.

I'm 18 and fully self taught, and after I graduated high school I was offered a job on the other side of the country as a full time developer (.NET). I have a fantastic time at work, and they're paying for my university and any other training I do.

Some things I definitely recommend you learn and do:

Unless you want to be an academic and are too scared to go out in to the real world, don't expect university to get you a job. Code is very cheap to write, it only costs time, and open source projects are great to get involved in. I think my job came as a result of my involvement in open source. All these ..........es cry because "I can't get a job without experience, and I can't get experience without a job". In truth they're just lazy. Writing software in your spare time does count as experience, especially if you do it with a team.

Learn that no one will pay you to have fun coding the things you want to write. Programmers don't run the world. Business is what makes the world go round, and the sooner you realize this the better. By just being a programmer you'll be lucky to get 70-80K a year. Smart developers learn about the business environment in which they are writing code for - for instance, the company I work for develops a debt management system. There are two senior programmers here, one that went through uni and and did his masters and is a brilliant C# programmer, he earns about $80K. Another never went to university, and isn't that great of a programmer (although he's probably still better than me), and he earns over $150K. This is because he knows about the industry, and is much more valuable to the company.

One pet hate of mine is all the UNIX humpers who say businesses are stupid for using "windoze" and using .NET or Java instead of Python or C++. What these people don't realize is businesses are in it to make money, not write "perfect" software. The chances are pretty high most of the people you meet that say "be a *nix programmer" are students, academics, or have just never worked in the real world (except some, such as web administrators or hardware guys).

Programmers are (generally) extremely smart people. But their role isn't to just write code, it is to make money for the business they work for.

I would start by learning C++. The tutorials here are a fantastic starting point. Also if you go to the library of your local University, you might be able to get a community borrower card and get some C++ books (I recommend the C++ Primer Plus). In high school make sure you do some other subjects that aren't computer related, like Business, Accounting or Finance.

AND LEARN ENGLISH (your English is quite good given your age). At work I get to look at resumes people have submitted, and the first thing we do is read the cover letters and throw out the ones who have bad grammar or atrocious spelling. You can know a bazillion programming languages, but if you don't know English you better at least learn how to say "Would you like fries with that?"

Some programmers (especially the ultra geeks (http://www.slashdot.org/)) have terrible communication skills. I'm sure they're very smart and know their stuff, but if they try and explain it to people they get no where. Would you hire an architect who can't even explain the plans in a simple way?

04-11-2005, 09:32 PM
Oh, and if a programmer tells you "maths and programming are very similar", stop listening. He's either sniffing petrol or doesn't have a clue about programming.

And oh no, I made a blasphemous comment (http://www.cafepress.com/ihatelinux). Bring on the bad rep :rolleyes:

(And a little advice: Be careful who you listen to on these boards. Most people here are very smart especially with maths/physics and programming, but not many actually earn their eating money from their code. A lot of people here are hobbyists, so take everyones comments (including mine) with a grain of salt)

04-11-2005, 09:35 PM
i'm 13 and i only took like a 3 week course in summer on c++ and ive really only done random stuff that interests me and/or is practical to do. like i would never do a text rpg because

a) its impractical
b) its easy but takes a lot of time
c) itd never really be appreciated by anyone (including me!)

although i might try to tackle something in networking that i never understood and am not extensively learning it, but id still try.

ive found learning from books is really hard, because they make you do stupid excercises that are like half the book instead of actually applying the concepts you learn into something useful

good luck bud

04-12-2005, 08:27 AM
I'm 25, didn't start programming until I got to college (about 18) and I now bring home the bacon because by programming. 14 is young... be a kid for a little while yet. You'll have time for all this boring crap later.

Brain Cell
04-12-2005, 08:50 AM
be a kid for a little while yet. You'll have time for all this boring crap later.I second that.

04-12-2005, 08:52 AM
Oh, and if a programmer tells you "maths and programming are very similar", stop listening. He's either sniffing petrol or doesn't have a clue about programming.I'd have to say that I disagree completely. Math isn't about numbers and formulas (a terrible misconception that I blame upon the education system in general); it's about logic. Programming is little more than being able to break up a process into logical steps small enough for the programming language to handle. While the numbers side of math may or may not help a programmer, the logical ideas and methods of thinking that comprise math will.

I agree with ober. Be a kid for a while.

04-12-2005, 08:54 AM
I'd like to second ober: at the age of 14, your primary plan should be to have as much fun as possible. Code something you need. Nothing fancy. Try a game. Give up like everyone here did :D

In general, if you have fun learning, go ahead and do so. At your own pace having fun.

04-12-2005, 09:43 AM
WOW! Thanks for all the great replies, its obviously a busy forum around here!

I'll definatly be having a look at the tutorials on the site, and at others. There are also a couple fairly dated C++ books in my school, and I'd have a look for some others in my Town's libary.

So, what what i see, to programm C++, you firstly need any sort of word editor (ie, Notepad), and then you need to copy this onto a complier, which can turn this into an exectuable?Correct me if I'm wrong here

Also, would C++ be a decent starting point? The vast number of languages and formats do confuse me a bit.

Thanks alot, Ric

04-12-2005, 09:46 AM
>>AND LEARN ENGLISH (your English is quite good given your age).

He said he lives in UK :)

04-12-2005, 09:49 AM
Umm... no. You actually write your code in the compiler. The compiler just has a function that will "compile" the code you wrote and link that with the libraries you want to include and any extra files you want into an executable.

Only use a text editor to write your code if a compiler is not available to you. You will appreciate the syntax coloring in most compilers.

04-12-2005, 09:58 AM
> You actually write your code in the compiler.

Only if it's an IDE. There's nothing wrong with writing the code in Notepad, saving it as a .cpp or .c, and compiling the file.

That said, do yourself a favor and use an IDE. I think it was pointed out earlier, but Dev-C++ is a good one.

04-12-2005, 10:00 AM
i live in the uk and i'm 14 now. I started learning programming at 12. I started with something easy with html and javascript. Once i felt really confident about web design and web programming at 13, when i could encorporate some php and make pretty good website design i moved onto c++. Then once i was fairly good at that i moved onto the win api, which i think i'll stick with for a while, until i get really good at it, then i might move onto some easier languages like css, and complete dhtml.

04-12-2005, 10:12 AM
Just grabbed Dev-C++, it seems like a fairly easy to use program (I hope!) Not to say the language is!

When you have written a code, and you "compile" it, does it turn it into an exectuable?
And to dispell any misconceptions, I'm form the UK, and speak the "Queen's english" ;-), though not quite like that toffee-nosed grandma!

Thanks for all the help, it seems that coders are one helpful bunch of people!

04-12-2005, 10:17 AM
> When you have written a code, and you "compile" it, does it turn it into an exectuable?

It's a little more complicated than that, but that's the basic idea. Any decent book or tutorial should explain it more in depth.

> "Queen's english"

Pip pip, cheerio, and all that rot? :p

04-12-2005, 10:25 AM
"I do say! Cormie blimey up me apples and pears, I'm off to see me wife's Bristol Cities!"

Translation- How dare you! Well, Im going up the stairs to see my wife's.... well, you get it.

04-12-2005, 10:32 AM
You'll do ok here :)