View Full Version : Becoming a Professional Programmer

06-28-2007, 05:17 PM
[Mod Note: Just because a thread is inactive doesn't mean you can hijack it for your own, slightly related question. Create a new thread, like everyone else.]

If I want to become a professional programmer, what is the best approach? I get decent books, but they always seem to bore me because I already understand the concepts. Yet I have problems retaining the syntax (sort of like, "oh crap, how did the parentheses go again for the function pointer?"). I can quickly look up the syntax and even fake it on a programming board like this one, but I really am not much farther than a "beginner"; if I were to take a look at the "Learn to program C++" tutorials on this site, the stuff I don't know is basically trees and little details with the STL. Obviously I should learn that, but where to go from there? To be frank, I don't even know of a project that I can undertake that won't have me losing interest in a few months (the projects that I do always seem to take way longer than I think they will, and I guess that's the problem...)

In other words, how far do I have to go before I can write a program that other people will want to use? What about getting a job as a paid programmer?

06-28-2007, 05:28 PM
If you're not looking something up, then you're not learning something. If you're a programmer and you're not learning something, you'll fall behind.

Personally, I don't think knowing every nook and cranny of STL makes you a better programmer. Knowing how to put the pieces together to solve a problem makes you a better programmer. Learning more abstract concepts makes you a better programmer.

If you're a bit shaky on trees, you should work on it; learning about abstract data types (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_data_type) is always useful. (If I had a nickel for every programmer that's applied for a job here that didn't understand how a tree worked...well, I could at least get some fast food.) If you're still lacking a project after that, try a totally different programming language to learn to look at a problem from a different angle. I'd suggest Lisp, but that's just me. ;)

06-28-2007, 05:34 PM
Hmm... thanks for that, pianorain. It's good to be reassured that because I'm learning stuff I'm not falling behind. :-) I think I will definitely try to learn another programming language. I've heard a lot about Lisp, maybe I'll look into it. Thanks!

It looks like my post was deleted, I guess I was breaking the rules. Sorry. :-(

Mod Note: Not deleted, just moved.