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Mid-college-life crisis..

post #1 of 21
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I'm in my second year of computer science. My university's curriculum starts with most programming classes in the first two years and the rest is just theoretical BS. I'm in the middle of switching universities, but I'm still a bit worried that I haven't really learned anything meaningful. I haven't learned anything worthwhile that will help me on the path of actually "being" a programmer. I tried reading books, like the Deitel series, but I get bored easily. I know basic C++ fairly well, but nothing really advanced or not even intermediate. I don't know what to do to help myself learn better or do something meaningful that will help me to become a real programmer. What can I do? Anything that I *shouldn't* do? Help..

/begger
/rant
 
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post #2 of 21
I am a CS major in school too and I have the same fears. I'm in my 3rd year and have taken just about all the programming classes I have to take. We learn C++ and Java first and I feel like a know the project assignments(mainly just reading input files and doing different things with them), but I'm worried I wouldn't know how to write something out in the real world. My personal opinion is that a CS degree is a pretty darn good start. I would suggest trying to find an internship as a programmer while you're in school. That will give you good work experience. That's what I'm trying to get now.

Obviously, the more code you right, the better you'll get. Stay with it! A CS Degree is really good to have.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by unfbilly11 View Post

I am a CS major in school too and I have the same fears. I'm in my 3rd year and have taken just about all the programming classes I have to take. We learn C++ and Java first and I feel like a know the project assignments(mainly just reading input files and doing different things with them), but I'm worried I wouldn't know how to write something out in the real world. My personal opinion is that a CS degree is a pretty darn good start. I would suggest trying to find an internship as a programmer while you're in school. That will give you good work experience. That's what I'm trying to get now.
Obviously, the more code you right, the better you'll get. Stay with it! A CS Degree is really good to have.

Thanks for your input. I'm not really thinking of giving up, that's really out of the question. I have taken too many loans out to do that tongue.gif After I finish my CS degree I'm gonna go for a Master's in Computer Engineering, but the area of emphasis will be programming (maybe I'll learn something there). Some people say you have to have a passion, and like, I do, but I just get frustrated because it is a lot harder to learn on your own than I thought it would be. I feel that any repetitive stuff that I code is meaningless. I'm hungry to do something worthwhile..y'know?
 
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post #4 of 21
Pick a project. Something difficult and with practical application. I recommend switching to Linux, using it until you find there's a program that you need that doesn't exist, or that was started development three years ago but the original developers got bored and abandoned it. Start from scratch and build that application. If it's difficult enough it will expand your programming knowledge exponentially.

You don't learn programming by reading books or taking classes. You learn programming by writing programs. The books and classes and higher maths are just there to expand your knowledgebase so you can more effectively solve problems.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaedrus2129 View Post

Pick a project. Something difficult and with practical application. I recommend switching to Linux, using it until you find there's a program that you need that doesn't exist, or that was started development three years ago but the original developers got bored and abandoned it. Start from scratch and build that application. If it's difficult enough it will expand your programming knowledge exponentially.
You don't learn programming by reading books or taking classes. You learn programming by writing programs. The books and classes and higher maths are just there to expand your knowledgebase so you can more effectively solve problems.

Now, I can't seem to find the Rep button... That's good advice!
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by stryk3r1215 View Post

Thanks for your input. I'm not really thinking of giving up, that's really out of the question. I have taken too many loans out to do that tongue.gif After I finish my CS degree I'm gonna go for a Master's in Computer Engineering, but the area of emphasis will be programming (maybe I'll learn something there). Some people say you have to have a passion, and like, I do, but I just get frustrated because it is a lot harder to learn on your own than I thought it would be. I feel that any repetitive stuff that I code is meaningless. I'm hungry to do something worthwhile..y'know?

Yeah I know exactly what you mean....especially about the loans part. lol. One of the things that frustrated the heck out of me when I first started was that they just threw me into programming. With VERY little background knowledge. That just had me download an IDE and said, "ok...go!" I was lost for almost a year until it finally clicked. That's good you like programming so much though, It's definitely not for everyone.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaedrus2129 View Post

Pick a project. Something difficult and with practical application. I recommend switching to Linux, using it until you find there's a program that you need that doesn't exist, or that was started development three years ago but the original developers got bored and abandoned it. Start from scratch and build that application. If it's difficult enough it will expand your programming knowledge exponentially.
You don't learn programming by reading books or taking classes. You learn programming by writing programs. The books and classes and higher maths are just there to expand your knowledgebase so you can more effectively solve problems.

This. I'm a teenager-hobby-programmer (C++ and some HLSL only) and I teach myself by doing different programs for me or maybe for people that needs them. For example, I have a friend that is a manager in a CoD4 competitive scene and he needed a program to manage all the teams and each team's players, check duplicated GUIDs, add/remove players/teams, and so on. So I made a program for him. But then he said "hey, this is nice and all but the console is really cumbersome to use, can you do it in any other way?" And so I learned Win32 and started the project again using a GUI. I also have some presonal projects, such as a graphics engine using DirectX libraries or some Havok simulations using its SDK (I'm just starting with this).

Just start thinking on something that you would like to do or something that would make your life easier and try to make a program out of it.
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post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaedrus2129 View Post

Pick a project. Something difficult and with practical application. I recommend switching to Linux, using it until you find there's a program that you need that doesn't exist, or that was started development three years ago but the original developers got bored and abandoned it. Start from scratch and build that application. If it's difficult enough it will expand your programming knowledge exponentially.
You don't learn programming by reading books or taking classes. You learn programming by writing programs. The books and classes and higher maths are just there to expand your knowledgebase so you can more effectively solve problems.

Hey, that's an idea. Rep..can't rep lol. I'mma hit up a linux distor on VM for a while and play around with it. I've done it in the past but never really into the programming learning potential that linux gives you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by unfbilly11 View Post

Yeah I know exactly what you mean....especially about the loans part. lol. One of the things that frustrated the heck out of me when I first started was that they just threw me into programming. With VERY little background knowledge. That just had me download an IDE and said, "ok...go!" I was lost for almost a year until it finally clicked. That's good you like programming so much though, It's definitely not for everyone.

Not even a flowchart class beforehand? My uni goes like this : Intro to comp, Logical programing (flowchart), visual programming (visual basic), structured programming (c++), then object oriented (C# i think), and nothing else for programming :/
 
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post #9 of 21

Ah the days of being a CS under-grad...

 

I would suggest the same as everyone else here, make a program with real world applications, do the documentation, manual etc. etc.

 

I started with BASIC, then moved the COBOL for AS400 servers (used in banks at that time), then VB and finally C++ and Assembly Language...that was back in 2000~2002-ish when I discovered Flash AS and web scripting. HTML, CSS, JS etc. etc. etc.

 

My thesis for graduation was basically a Choose-your-own-adventure type of game kinda like ero-games from Japan but this was for introverts and juveniles with low social skills. It was used in around 10 public high-schools in my country but the data that came back was 50/50. You can't really try to gauge a persons response to your actions as being brought up in different environments affected the data. It was too much for me and my partner but none-the-less I didn't graduate because I moved to Canada...end of story.

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post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by stryk3r1215 View Post

Not even a flowchart class beforehand? My uni goes like this : Intro to comp, Logical programing (flowchart), visual programming (visual basic), structured programming (c++), then object oriented (C# i think), and nothing else for programming :/

Yeah that's pretty similar to what ours does. I took VB and then Comp Sci 1 and 2 are both C++. Then, our object oriented stuff is in Java. We did go over a little bit beforehand, but not much. It was pretty similar to a Spanish class where they give you the words, but don't tell you how to make a sentence. Pretty frustrating. lol
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