Tag Archives: C+

What Advice do you Give to Young Programmers?

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Programming is an excellent field to go into, and good Programmers are a hot commodity. That reminds me… if anyone out there is above excellent at working with Drupal, shoot me an email to [email protected] Thanks to Grant for sending in this list of tips for young people looking to learn Programming.

  • Read. If you do not like spending a lot of time reading… you should not program. When you are learning a computer language, you must be willing to spend hours reading books, websites, and magazine articles.
  • Take your time finding the language that is right for you. Think about what you want to accomplish when programming a computer. Remember, once you learn one computer language… it is easy to learn another.
  • ThinkWhen you start to make a program, really spend some time thinking about what you want it to do. I cannot tell you how many times I just jumped into a project, only to realize it was useless.
  • Use flow charts. Flow charting allows you to organize your code, and make it efficient.
  • Back everything up! When you start to program, there is a good chance that you might mess something up, and fry your computer. Give yourself a safety net, and back everything up. Also make sure to frequently backup your code itself! This makes it easier to undo when you make a mistake.
  • Comment your code! If you leave a project, only to come back later… you will probably have forgotten how it worked. Commenting your code will help you. With comments, you do not have to read through the whole thing. Instead, you can look at your comments and get an idea of what’s going on.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Microsoft has a great website and databases for programmers. Also check out their blog, and ask questions. There is always someone who is willing to help.
  • Get a book. Your local or school library will most likely have books on Programming. Check them out, read them over and over, and learn from them.
  • Testing! When you have a good start on your programs, let other people try them out. You could ask people to evaluate them, or you could give them out as freeware. Start a website and let people download them if you want. The feedback will be an invaluable learning tool for you.

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How to Learn

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Brian writes: “I’ve been watching your videos on YouTube for a few month now. I’ve been learning Java for a year now, and I’ve got some tips for learning computer programming. Hopefully, these will apply to other things, as well.”

  • Learn to use the help section or guide. The first thing you should master when learning, is the skill of using the help area. It’s so much easier to find something you need on your own than it is to ask others for help.
  • Trust books… but have your own mind. When you feel the book isn’t right, you should do research rather than saying “oh, well a book knows more than I do”. Nobody is perfect… even authors could be wrong sometimes.
  • Use the tools. When you are learning something new, always use the tools that can help you. Such as… don’t just use Notepad for programming. Use an IDE, because it can make your life easier. It will also make your debugging easier when you make a mistake. And don’t just use any tool, find the one that is right for you. By the way… I use Eclipse for my Java programming.
  • Take a rest. When you feel you have mastered 2 or 3 new things, take a rest, and think about what you have learned. It will be more effective this way.
  • Don’t research immediately. If you find something in the book that you don’t understand, don’t go do research immediately. Read the rest of the article or book first. Then if you still don’t under stand it… do some further research.
  • Always read twice. If you can, always read an article or book twice. I always learn a lot of things the second time I read the book or article.

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How to Get Started With Computer Programming

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Programming is NOT as scary of a task as you might imagine. I know some people who shudder at the thought of learning any programming language. However, take a read through these tips, and find out for yourself how to get started.

  • Save your coding often! Everybody knows the feeling of having worked for several hours on the same thing and you lose it for various reasons (the computer goes down, program crash, power out). I usually save every five minute or every time I have written a line.
  • Backup your code! Kind of for the same reason as tip 1. When working on a mac it is really easy to back up with Time Machine. I do this every night before I go to bed.
  • Write proper comments everywhere. Comments are very important. Even though you might not find it useful at the time you write the code, imagine how it is if you do not look at the code for a year. It will take you up to several hours to figure out how the program runs if you have to read the code instead of the comments. It is also a requirement to use commenting if you are developing code as a team.
  • Keep your code clean. Linebreaks are free. Separate your code in chunks sorted by what it does. Make it easy to overcome. Combined with tip 3 you are good to go. It is also good to separate the code in files. Files for functions, common used files and so on.
  • Test your code often!!!! Whenever you have made a simple part of the code, test it. Writing 400 lines of code before testing is a nightmare. Do it as often as you can. Output your variables to see if they contain what they are supposed to. Also twist your mind to be predict every possability of program crashing and error reporting. E.g. If the end-user is supposed to input a variable. Check if it is a variable, if not, stop and tell the user. Not checking stuff can be fatal and is the main reason websites get hacked.

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