Thread: Postgraduate Course in Programming (UK)

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Sep 2007

    Postgraduate Course in Programming (UK)


    I'm in my final year of a Psychology degree (just finished all the work, waiting for results). I've been programming C++ for a while now, having pretty much finished the book C++ Without Fear. I really enjoy programming, much more so than the kind of work I've been doing in my degree, which bores me silly.

    So basically, my question is for people in the UK. Are there any postgraduate courses that I could get on that would let me learn to program C++? I'd like to keep on doing it and earn money from it someday.

    Also might my degree in psychology help me get onto some kind of AI-related course? I should be getting 2:1 in it, hopefully. Or are they strict about programming ability being upto a certain standard?


  2. #2
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    Join Date
    May 2007
    I'm not in the UK, so I can't help you with recommendations regarding where to study. I think I can contribute to the related questions though.

    I really enjoy programming, much more so than the kind of work I've been doing in my degree, which bores me silly.
    I'd be surprised if you didn't recognize just how key this is. I've known the sense of accomplishment and contribution my work has made over the years and it's quite fulfilling. Some applications I wrote in 1991 are still in use today, and I'm personal friends with some of my clients from that time. In one case, the owner of a medium sized manufacturing firm credits the products I made for his business with it's stability and success. He actually would close his shop of 175 employees if it were not for that software.

    There are times when I have code spread across 3 monitors and a solution I've been working on for a few days falls into place, where I have this recurring realization that I enjoy this work about as much as I enjoy music (as a performer).

    In the days I learned C++, it was new. I learned C in college, but by the time of C++ first release there were no courses. Many of us from the late 80's studied, and re-studied, in the fashion of any professional in the technical fields keeping current. Formalized in approach, but on our own. From what I can tell of the current offerings throughout the U.S., it is still so. Many institutions favor teaching in Java or C#, with minimal or only intermediate level coverage of C++. This may reflect the fact that the majority of graduates aim toward corporate level employment, where C++ is not the primary common language target. I can only hope that improves, and that there are pockets, somewhere, where C++ is a primary focus of course materials.

    The engineering of software calls for a cross-disciplinary approach. Knowing what to build is as important as how to build it. The game industry demands artists, sound 'engineers', AI engineers, mathematicians and someone at least well versed in 'simple' physics. Musicians can lend their knowledge to the development of tools for musicians. While there is certainly an interesting overlap between AI and psychology, typical applications for which AI is applied are hardly going to seem similar to your range of study, but there are research projects in the higher order which attempt to model thinking, creativity, natural language recognition, voice recognition - the solution to recognizing cursive handwriting has eluded us for decades.

    It just might be that the speed of modern personal computers has or will soon reach a point that many objectives that were once impossible will become practicable, if someone pursues the science.

  3. #3
    Registered User Sharke's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Do they still use LISP a lot in AI? Might be worth learning the basics of LISP or Scheme. Mind, there's a lot you can get online without ever setting foot in a college, for example the excellent Abelson and Sussman lectures:

    Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Video Lectures

    These got me interested in LISP and Scheme for sure. Also, Standford University has some excellent courses on YouTube. These ones, by Jerry Cain, are superb. I've gotten up to lecture 10 at the minute and feel like I've actually been to learn so much and he's a great teacher.

    YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

    I'd love to go to college to learn programming but with my business I just don't have the time. These videos have been the next best thing for me!

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