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shaolin007



Joined: 03 Sep 2004
Posts: 65
shaolin007
I plan on starting college in the spring of next year and wondered what kind of schooling and background programming experience people have. I have been self taught up to this point and was wondering what I could expect from a degree in Computer Science. Please share your thoughts.
Post 29 Jun 2005, 18:44
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coconut



Joined: 02 Apr 2004
Posts: 326
Location: usa
coconut
im self-taught too, i took some classes in college and it was actually tough to unlearn the style i taught myself and use the 'textbook' way of programming
Post 30 Jun 2005, 00:34
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smiddy



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 559
smiddy
Man, this opens up an interesting discussion. There are those who would argue that a degree is simply a peice of paper, which allows you the ability to get your foot in the door to work for a company; that experience and application are the real drivers towards programming well. On the flip side, others contend that without the brush strokes of education, you'll never know the entire perspective or share it with your colleges; that each successive degree puts you into another class of programmer; that experience will be gain over time.

I am not a programmer by trade, I'm a systems engineer, with a BSEE, along with AAS in Avionics. I program as a hobby in order to learn the PC archetecture more fully. I plan to get an advanced degree in physics or bioengineering when I have settled in a new location, which should happen some time between now and September. Oh, and I am considering going to the dark side and perhaps work on a MBA...but that is my third choice.

I think since I have a wealth of experience and just recently finished my degree I am not impressed with the quality of the education I receive, and I earned Summa Cum Laude. But again, that may be my own standards clouding my judgement. I beleive most of the wealth is who you know and how you interact with those on your team that will take you far. Education is, in my humble opinion, a vessel in order to get your foot in the door, as it signifies your ability to suffer for a number of years in order to be a part of the club.

But, hey, those be my tar pence...anyone else? Razz
Post 30 Jun 2005, 00:48
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HyperVista



Joined: 18 Apr 2005
Posts: 691
Location: Virginia, USA
HyperVista
Some of the most brilliant programmers I've met are self-taught (some of them very young i.e., still in high school - secondary school to our friends in Europe). That said, the best software systems engineers and architects I've met have formal degrees, primarily in Electrical Engineering (interestingly enough).

While I don't count myself as a good programmer, I do o.k (primarily in application level programming and am just recently getting into OS development), I do have a degree in mathematics but see little correlation between my education and my effectiveness, or non-effectiveness as a programmer (except in maybe discipline .... let's face it, software programming is nothing if not a disciplined artform).

@shaolin007 - good luck in your studies and suggest you take concentrations in software development and take care to throw in some "fun" electives as a diversion .... co-ed bowling comes to mind!!

- Hypervista Very Happy
Post 30 Jun 2005, 01:03
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vid
Verbosity in development


Joined: 05 Sep 2003
Posts: 7105
Location: Slovakia
vid
i was self-learning from about 12 years, without any tutorials or board like this, only with few examples and reference which I hardly understood (it was in english), and that really isn't very good way to start, you get many things wrong and it is slow. For example friend that I was teching after few months reached level for which I needed several years. But you just HAVE TO learn by yourself, school gives you much, but not everything you need. Other advantage is that it gives you company of experienced people from which you can learn a lot, and this is really worthy. School isn't giving me very useful information directly (by teaching), but it gives opportunities (and lot of warez Smile )
Post 30 Jun 2005, 07:27
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Tommy



Joined: 17 Jun 2003
Posts: 489
Location: Norway
Tommy
vid: when that is said, I guess u learned it better than your friend after all, 'cause you have experiences from your mistakes and misinterpretations - something your friend probably has not... I'm still in secondary school and this year I took some classes - databases and programming, I ended up being a teacher for the teacher himself... the level frightened me - it was way too low... another point is that the students learn what they need - not more... an education might give you better habits, make your planning more smooth etc., but to be a good programmer, I guess you'll have to go through the process where you try-and-fail. this will make you gain experience - which in my point of view is the most important of all...

nice discussion - I actually have the same problem as you shaolin007...

best regards!
Post 30 Jun 2005, 09:15
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MCD



Joined: 21 Aug 2004
Posts: 604
Location: Germany
MCD
I started programming in 1997, this is now 8 years ago. First I learned quick basic ( Laughing ), three months later I switched to Turbo PASCAL and finally one year later I started (turbo) assembler. I did also most things on my own, but I found other programming maniacs @ school.

I also fit in the range of being interested in electronics, as I started assembling and soldering weird stuff and learning theory at the age of 7 years! (1st class at primary school, I couldn't hardly read the words written in those books Shocked Confused Very Happy )

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Post 30 Jun 2005, 10:41
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shaolin007



Joined: 03 Sep 2004
Posts: 65
shaolin007
HyperVista wrote:
Some of the most brilliant programmers I've met are self-taught (some of them very young i.e., still in high school - secondary school to our friends in Europe). That said, the best software systems engineers and architects I've met have formal degrees, primarily in Electrical Engineering (interestingly enough).
- Hypervista Very Happy


I was wondering if I should focus on something towards that since I'm very interested in not just making software applications but also making my own hardware applications which to me is more interesting. I guess I could focus my classes to point to that kind of experience. Surely they are offered at these Universities, I hope.
Post 30 Jun 2005, 12:24
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crc



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 637
Location: Penndel, PA [USA]
crc
I started programming about ten years ago. First in BASIC, then a whole range of other languages. I'm totally self-taught and proud of that! I learned each language by reading and modifying programs written in it. In 1999 I discovered assembly, Lisp, and Forth and I haven't looked back. I seldom use any languages other than assembly and Forth for real work now...
Post 30 Jun 2005, 21:45
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Chewy509



Joined: 19 Jun 2003
Posts: 297
Location: Bris-vegas, Australia
Chewy509
I'm also self taught (in the programming field), and work as a sysadmin professionally.

I personally started in around '88 in CBM Basic and 6502 assembler (what else was there for the Commodore 64?), then moved to TurboPascal and TASM on a 286 around '92-93. From TASM, I moved to NASM and then to FASM. Currenly I also do some PHP stuff for work, (Intranet based applications), however I found that even as a sysadmin, knowing how to program makes my job easier. It's given me the problem solving skills, and also I can think in the mindset of the programmer that developed the application, eg what would I do, and how would I do it?

I do some work with a local University/College in providing work-experience and projects for the 2nd/3rd year students. And while my standards may be high, the quality of the programmer I've found is a relfection on the person and not the course/degree. (I've met graduating students in CS that had problems understanding pointers and how to use multiple indirections).

@smiddy.
Quote:
There are those who would argue that a degree is simply a peice of paper, which allows you the ability to get your foot in the door to work for a company; that experience and application are the real drivers towards programming well. On the flip side, others contend that without the brush strokes of education, you'll never know the entire perspective or share it with your colleges;

I personally see a degree as a piece of paper that highlights that you have been exposed to certain ideas and concepts, and not whether you fully understand those ideas and concepts. Many good programmers I have met, don't have degrees, but learn from experience and have a passion for it.

The unfortunate thing I see almost weekly, is that many good programmers/sysadmins miss out on job/career opportunities becuase they don't have xxx degree or xxx vendor certification. That would be the only reason I would promote a degree to someone, but only if that person had the passion for IT, (and not in it for the money, which I do see all to often).
Post 30 Jun 2005, 23:46
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ronware



Joined: 08 Jan 2004
Posts: 179
Location: Israel
ronware
I started in ... the late 70s in high-school - on an "Olivetti Underwood Programma 101". Some sort of BASIC, I think. My formal training was in the Technion in '83/'84, where I had one course in PL/1. I later ('85/'86) got a PC and Turbo Pascal 3 and that was my first real practical experience.

Since then, C and C++ and 8086 assembler and lately Forth
Post 01 Jul 2005, 00:20
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madmatt



Joined: 07 Oct 2003
Posts: 1045
Location: Michigan, USA
madmatt
I've been self taught, programing computers has always been a hobby for me. I just have a basic high school education. Started programming on a trs-80, had a commodore 64 in the early 80's and that is where I learned the majority of my (assembly) programming skills (you had to use assembly on those C64's because the BASIC was so darned slow!). Back then most computer programing was a hobby. But now college is the right way to go if you want to get a professional job whereever, somethings you can get away with without the computer science degree, but not many now.
Post 01 Jul 2005, 07:20
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pelaillo
Missing in inaction


Joined: 19 Jun 2003
Posts: 878
Location: Colombia
pelaillo
Hey Chewy509, we have walked almost the same path Wink
And now we won't arrive here by pure chance Smile

The only difference is that my job has nothing to do with computers...
Post 01 Jul 2005, 12:42
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flaith



Joined: 07 Feb 2005
Posts: 122
Location: $300:20 58 FC 60 N 300G => Vietnam
flaith
i started in early 80 with basic and asm 6502 (with Apple //e) and, later, with 65C816, C, Pascal with Apple IIGS. Cobol under IBM36, turbo pascal/turbo C under IBM-PC. And after a long break, back to ASM with FASM (Very Happy), Pascal & C (Very Happy).

_________________
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Post 01 Jul 2005, 15:38
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THEWizardGenius



Joined: 14 Jan 2005
Posts: 382
Location: California, USA
THEWizardGenius
I'm a kid in high school. I learned Visual Basic first, but I soon learned quickbasic (I know, both are backwards loser languages). I know Visual Basic, Turbo Pascal, Flat Assembler, HTML, PHP, and Perl. I do know the basics of C, though I've never written any C programs in my life (I was going to start, but then I discovered FASM and the rest is history...)

I've been programming since I was about 11 or 12, and now I am 14.
Post 01 Jul 2005, 18:24
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Reverend



Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 408
Location: Poland
Reverend
I'm programming since about 2-3 years. My dad is a programmer and sysadmin. He programs in delphi and always tried to convince me to Pascal/Delphi programming, but I preferred playing games Smile But then came the milestone, I just realized that games are great, but are not everything and tried myself in assembly. I remember also that when I presented my father the idea of learning asm, he laughed and told me that he always wanted to learn it but never actually did, because it's too complicated language. Fortuantely, I managed to learn it and now am proud of it Smile Also later I learned C and PHP and I think it took me less effort to do it, because I already knew assembly
Post 01 Jul 2005, 21:29
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THEWizardGenius



Joined: 14 Jan 2005
Posts: 382
Location: California, USA
THEWizardGenius
Assembly really isn't that complicated. Writing an assembly program is complicated, but assembly itself is so simple that you can learn in a few days if you want. Then of course you have to learn about the API's for DOS, Windows, Linux, or whatever OS you are using, and that can take time. Once you understand assembly, it is easier to understand other languages. It'll still take a bit of time to learn them, but I know it would have been much easier if I had started with assembly (Visual Basic is THE WORST language to start with!) My dad is a teacher who enjoys programming when he has time- which is never. He learned to program in High School, in BASIC, and he taught me QBasic. He wants to learn, but never has time. Maybe some day...
Post 05 Jul 2005, 22:36
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veach1



Joined: 16 Jul 2004
Posts: 165
veach1
More I write in ASM - less I understand HLL, but HLL teached me to think alorithmically.

I started in 1994 with basic on z80 (48kb version), from 1998 - pascal, C, C++, and after all - ASM in 2001.
Post 06 Jul 2005, 08:11
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