Learning programming to get a job

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Learning programming to get a job

Postby Thel on Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:29 am

I'm 24. I got my degree in sound design a few years ago, but I chose not to go for a career in games because of the way games have gone. As long as I can come home to my own projects, it doesn't really matter what my job is, as long as it's not that. I reckon web development might be a good job for me. I tinkered in PHP in my teens, so it'd be easy to get back into. I've enrolled on a web development course, but I know I'll learn more from a few books, so that's what I'm doing on my days off. The course is just to put on my CV. How do you programmers learn from books? Do you read at the computer? I suppose most of the learning happens at the computer, by doing programming, but how do you balance reading a programming book and actually doing programming? Do you have to be in the right mood? Any tips?
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Re: Learning programming to get a job

Postby dandymcgee on Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:05 am

Personally, I didn't learn programming from books. I started out with a scripting language and learned from examples I found online which was complimented by the documentation files. I copy/pasted, ran it, observed what happened. Then made some tweaks I thought would be cool, and ran it again. Do this a few thousand times over a few years in multiple programming languages and you start to get a pretty good idea of how this stuff works.

Then I started reading stuff online, watching tutorials, tech talks, etc. and trying to understand the more complicated, underlying design principles. Shortly after, I went to college and studied Computer Science for four years, during which I was introduced to the formal side of programming: design patterns, discrete mathematics, data structure and algorithms, linear algebra, digital circuits, advanced computer graphics. There were a lot of things I already understood that many of my peers did not, but I also learned interesting new things on a daily basis. I also had the privilege of meeting and working with a few people who were much more knowledgeable than me and who taught me great things.

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There's nothing wrong with learning from books, in fact they're likely much more well organized than the random articles and code snippets I was using when I started. The most important part is *doing* related work. Whatever information you can find that motivates you to *do* something, is the right information for you. You can read a 1,000 books about performing a heart transplant surgery, but until you actually do one you'd be hard-pressed calling yourself a doctor. The same rule applies here.
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