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Old 05-16-2011, 08:29 PM
Location: Wicker Park, Chicago
4,791 posts, read 13,327,120 times
Reputation: 1945


It's way easier to learn programming nowadays! Back in college from 1990 programming was primitive... no object oriented programming. Then I tried to learn programming in 1999. OOP existed. Tried to learn how to program complicated Windows programs with MFC but that was too complicated and there was not enough good documentation or code samples.

Nowadays a lot of that has changed! Programming has matured and become very object oriented, and there are more ways to program a Windows programs besides MFC... like WPF or Java. Microsoft now has code samples and video training on their website... like this -->

Visual Basic Application Samples
Get Started with the MFC Serializing Mechanism

Plus nowadays there are a lot of video training guides and computer pdf books to buy OR TORRENT! I never knew a thing about torrenting back in 1999. Nowadays I have over 50gb of torrented books on many subjects! I just love reading pdfs with Adobe Acrobat X! I can copy code from the PDF and paste it into Visual Studio. Or I can highlight text and Adobe Acrobat X will print out a compilation of these highlights in Microsoft Word. Best thing about PDFs no bookshelf space! You can carry an entire computer science programming library on a 32 GB USB stick!

Being unemployed now I think I can spend some of my spare time learning programming giving myself a "CS degree" - self-taught! Why spend $1000+ per course? There are quite a few people working the CS field without a CS degree... Some with English or Mechanical Engineering degrees too!
And Visual Studio 2010 is awesome compared to previous editions! I code, read a book, or see a programming video on two monitors! So much better than 1999!

And nowadays I learned about computer programming forums too... I never knew that existed in 1999!

But one thing still hasn't changed... It's still hard to program in MFC. 1999 MFC books are still applicable to today.

If I didn't go for my mechanical engineering degree, I would've gone for a computer science degree. But now being unemployed I can self teach myself this second degree. I'll take my time and enjoy the ride!

Do any of you program complicated Windows programs? How did you learn how to program like this?
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:47 PM
24,503 posts, read 35,958,754 times
Reputation: 12847
You're oversimplifying a CS degree. Anyone can pick up a book and learn how to make executables and libraries in Windows. But that doesn't equate to them having a CS degree, or even learning everything from a CS degree. You probably find MFC difficult because you don't have the fundamentals of programming down.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:05 PM
Location: Wicker Park, Chicago
4,791 posts, read 13,327,120 times
Reputation: 1945
I tried switching to a CS career back in 1999 - got swayed by the dot com boom and my friend Alex was contracting $130 / hr doing Y2K stuff. He made a lot of money and bought his mom a house. I couldn't afford the $1200 DePaul IT classes... took one in Discrete Math... went to Triton college for C++ and Databases... went to a cheap NEIU college for a Data Structures class... I think that's all I need. It's hard to learn C++ without a teacher to help you with beginning stuff... but now I think I can pick up all the stuff I need now through self teaching, pdf books, and video training guides.

Here's a former HS classmate of mine who is a very successful programmer yet he has a useless English degree Rowell Sotto | LinkedIn I guess they trained him on the job... lucky guy... I haven't been able to contact him to know how he got to where he is now.

I admire Zuckerburg a lot... Didn't he learn most of his programming by being self taught so good enough he programmed Facebook?

Don't they teach C++ and web design in HS nowadays? Must be fun!

Even if you do study CS from a college most of the time they don't teach you enough. Many IT people have to self teach themselves new technologies like Silverlight or so...
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:10 PM
24,503 posts, read 35,958,754 times
Reputation: 12847
The original Facebook was not complex in design at all. Now it's extremely complex, but it also has a solid development team.

They don't teach c++ in HS anymore... those days are gone. When I was in HS, I learned Pascal, C++, Assembly and web development. Now that very same school teaches Java and mobile app development.

Looks like you have some foundation classess. C++ is a good language to master. Once you know it, you shouldn't have trouble moving to other languages.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:30 PM
2,791 posts, read 3,433,199 times
Reputation: 5552
I concur with NJBest. Sitting down and badgering out some code is the simple basic easiest part of CS. Writing something that works versus writing something that is efficient, robust, maintainable and reliable is two totally different things. In most university CS programs, you only actually take maybe 4 classes dedicated to programming, a basic course, an intermediate course, a data structure course and then an in depth course. All the rest of the classes are everything from computer architecture, discrete math, algorithms, OS's, network administration, data bases etc. Of course you do programming in most of those classes applying the course material.

Facebook when Zuckerburg first implemented it was extremely simple. It was so simple, he did most of the coding in one night and had it up and running. It was no real feat coding wise but was a very ingenious idea. He is however, extremely intelligent and most likely did learn most of his coding skills on his own.

Google "Google interview questions" or "Microsoft interview questions" or any other major company that employs code developers/software engineers and you will see the type of information you are expected to know off the top of your head. Odds are very good that in an interview you may be asked a simple question such as how you would write some code to reverse the order of a linked list or something of that nature and then the rest would be algorithm related.

I think it would be difficult to translate a Mechanical Engineering degree to a job CS related. If you are serious about changing professions to a career in a CS field, I would suggest enrolling in your local university's CS department and begin pursuing the degree. After you have taken the basics, your chances of being hired in the field will drastically increase.

Btw, don't ever copy/paste code into and out of MS word. MS word will sometimes throw in or strip out ascii characters which are not visible (alt + keys, carriage returns, etc...) that can wreak all sorts of havoc and cause weird behavior in code.

Last edited by dijkstra; 05-16-2011 at 09:39 PM..
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:32 PM
Location: Wicker Park, Chicago
4,791 posts, read 13,327,120 times
Reputation: 1945
NJBest - when did you go to HS? I went 1983 to 87 and the computer age was primitive back then. Computer classes were a joke. It makes me wonder what many good HS teach kids nowadays...

I can self teach myself web design, but one thing I can't learn is artistic talent... I just don't have the creativity to make artistic eye catching web designs. I'd have to copy web design layouts. And web design is complicated too. I have Adobe Master Collection CS5 and all I can do is make a primitive website with a Spry Widget Menu. I have lots of web design / programming pdf and videos.

And even if I taught myself web design that's not enough to get a good paying web design job nowadays. Then there's competition from India and Asia for cheap web design.

Yeah, I have a good enough foundation of basic classes. When I was learning C++ it really helped me a lot to have a teacher tell me how to code, correct my code, and use the Visual Studio compiler. But now a lot of training videos are good enough.

At 42 I think I'm too old for college and a 2nd career in IT. I heard age discrimination in IT starts around this age. At most I would enhance my web design skills and use that to enhance my capability of getting technical writing jobs. I can't afford loans or college now either... I've been 143 weeks unemployed so mostly what I learn I got for "free" through torrents... books, videos, and software. I only get $1095 monthly SSDI and after expenses and food and groceries I'm left with $620 a month to spend on anything. So my latest $1650 computer took me 3 months of SSDI and bought lots of stuff through sales... took time to buy stuff from sales... best deal was $250 for an i7 2600K cpu from Fry's Anniversary Sale right now!

I think I drank too much diet soda and have gotten slightly forgetful. Stuff I haven't used a lot I forgot... like specifying GD&T markups... gotta reread the books...

I'd probably self teach myself programming god enough to get these kinds of jobs -- http://careers.nvidia.com/pljb/globa...ex.jsp&id=6064
... a software technical writer!

I find technical writing as easy, enjoyable, and sometimes good paying enough... Just document the hard work others have done! And you sometimes learn stuff along the way! But technical writing jobs have been dead in Chicago since I moved here Feb 2009... hardly any good jobs listed!

Last edited by Jesse69; 05-16-2011 at 10:21 PM..
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:39 AM
Location: Matthews, NC
14,693 posts, read 23,392,750 times
Reputation: 14342
You can also get a lot of free training on creating iPad apps using iTunesU. You still have to buy the programming tools but there are a lot of free courses on how to use them.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:47 AM
1,441 posts, read 2,571,368 times
Reputation: 2044
Nowadays I have over 50gb of torrented books on many subjects!
How will you feel when you try to sell a program you wrote and people just torrent it for free instead of paying for it?
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:19 PM
1,475 posts, read 2,273,193 times
Reputation: 659
Originally Posted by Jesse69 View Post
It's way easier to learn programming nowadays!
You're best bet is to learn a high-level 4GL+ language. You don't want to learn all the sorting algorithms, the searching algorithms, etc. That's for straight programmers.

You want to learn a language/IDE that let's you get the most work done in the least amount of time. Most software development work pays based on "value", not how fast and tight the code is. For every 20 application developers there needs to be only one or two "code library" developers.

Learn to create applications that can do things that are valuable to paying customers.
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:45 PM
Location: Whittier
3,007 posts, read 5,203,862 times
Reputation: 3041
Yeah I guess with the internet most things are easier to do now.

But like rich_cd states if I were to program it would be to make an apple application or something that would make money. I don't think I would be able to code for someone else.
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