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Posted: 5/29/2002 3:11:59 PM EDT
Right now I am a Desktop Support Technician. Replacing any, and all hardware of desktops, laptops, and printers. Installing and resolving problems with Windows OS and applications. I can't find a job in this field, seems like there are 100 to 1, programmer jobs to hardware support. My question for all you programmers out there is, what is the best language and easiest to learn, to get in on the ground level or as an entry level programmer. What kind of time frame, are we talking about to become proficient, and hired as entry level?
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 3:15:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/29/2002 3:16:36 PM EDT by RWS_Eagle1]
Oh, I haven't posted here in awhile, OK a long while. I emailed and tried to get my password reset, but never heard anything. So I reregistered. Some of you may remember my name or know me from other boards. Thanks for any help.
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 3:20:44 PM EDT
Start with VB.NET. It's easy to learn and the framework is comparable, if not better than Java. VB is easy to read and the concepts are fairly easy to grasp. I am sure there will be more techie purists who jump on here and tell you to skip the MS platform in lieu of harder, or more obscure languages. You can always go there, but there is a huge demand for VB and especially .NET. If you want to make life harder on yourself with a longer learning curve, then jump into C++ or Java. The demand is there for both of these too and they are (theoretically) cross platform. But the leaerning curve is a lot longer and takes a while to become productive. There are other, more obscure alternatives like Python or even scripting platforms like PHP(or PHP/GTK). But there are few toolsets to accelerate your learning curve and support is less available. All in all, VB is your target. I have been programming for 23 years and professionally for 18 of those years and started on DEC VAXs in the 70s. I am a true geek child because I am only 31.
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 3:27:32 PM EDT
I don't know if programmer jobs to hardware support is anthing close 100 to 1 like you say, however programmers definately make more. I would say without question C/C++ is the best language to start off with. It is used ALOT. I don't know the figures off the top of my head but it is definately the most popular language. Most of the languages are similar anyway. Once you know C you can learn others fairly easily. As for as getting a programming job, there I can't help you much. I can tell you one thing - companies seem to only care about what you have experience in. So if you could fib alittle and say you program at your current job (after you teach yourself some C) you will help you odds considerablely. I'll put it bluntly - no one wants entry level programmers. Most places, at least around here, want at least 2 years experience.
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 3:31:31 PM EDT
Pretty much concur with BenDover - seems alot of the entry level "programming" positions in my company are also looking for VB skills, so it may be best to start there. You also can't go wrong with C/C++, especially if you like working in a unix environment, but it has a steeper learning curve. Like anything else, though, there is only so much you can learn in a classroom situation. You won't really become proficient in anything until you start using it on a daily basis. However, once you pick up one language, others are easy to learn - it is more getting yourself into a programming mindset than anything else. Rocko
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 3:33:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/29/2002 3:34:14 PM EDT by BenDover]
Originally Posted By Philadelphia_GunMan: I'll put it bluntly - no one wants entry level programmers. Most places, at least around here, want at least 2 years experience.
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Govt sector is hot right now and will even hire straight out of college. We just brought in 4 new graduates. You are right about C being the overall best to start with but it takes so much longer to become productive and there are few toolsets to accelerate the framework. Now that VB supports true inheritance with .NET, what more do you really need? I don't think too many entry level developers are going to start off pushing 1s and 0s at the stack level or programming native multiprocessor supported applications with thread manipulation. Even if you have to go there, the .NET framework will jump the gap with common language runtime. BTW... there are 8.5+ million VB programmers. VB has consistently been the most popular language for several years. It's futile to argue language semantics at this point because you have to learn fundamental logic. A=A+1 in every language.
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 3:56:31 PM EDT
Forgive my ignorance, when you say VB, is that Visual Basic? And what is .NET? The only programming I have had, was 15 years ago, and that was Machine Language.
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 4:08:34 PM EDT
Originally Posted By RWS_Eagle1: Forgive my ignorance, when you say VB, is that Visual Basic? And what is .NET? The only programming I have had, was 15 years ago, and that was Machine Language.
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Yes, Visual Basic. [url]http://www.microsoft.com/net/[/url] [url]http://msdn.microsoft.com[/url] [url]http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/vs/techinfo/default.asp[/url] [url]http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/nhp/Default.asp?contentid=28000520[/url] FREE CODE: [url]http://freevbcode.com/listcode.asp?Category=16[/url]
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 4:10:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/29/2002 4:11:30 PM EDT by rogerb]
Why not go into networking, it fits your profile as you already have a stong hardware background. Just pic up some unix skills, also database administration (DBA) pays well , I think it is easier to pick up oracle or db2 than c/c++. I started in programming (fortran on punch cards !!) now I use perl on ocassion when i need to write a script but mainly I support catia and about 70 servers.
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 4:33:56 PM EDT
The question is, what do you want RWS_Eagle1? The suggestions to learn the proprietary, single-source language VisualBasic are good to get you in the door in a less clueful organization, but what do you want to do after that? Do you really want your job to depend on Microsoft's whims? If you learn some SQL, a lot of HTML, and a C-like language (like C, Java, or PHP), you can do any web-based programming you need to. If you're more interested in desktop (GUI) stuff, then TCL/TK or Java are probably your two best bets. You code will be portable. If you want to become a sysadmin, might be the next logical step from your current job, then Perl is all but a requirement. Processing log files and config files is what Perl is about.z
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 5:15:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By rogerb: Why not go into networking, it fits your profile as you already have a stong hardware background. Just pic up some unix skills, also database administration (DBA) pays well , I think it is easier to pick up oracle or db2 than c/c++. I started in programming (fortran on punch cards !!) now I use perl on ocassion when i need to write a script but mainly I support catia and about 70 servers.
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Oracle, Informix, DB2 or SQL. Definitely. They are easier to pick up than learning a procedural language. Added to which, the DBA's where I work make much more than any other programmers or system administrators. Just avoid, at all costs, the lure of the MCSE or Cisco paths. Those lead to the dark side. Too many know-nothing test takers have about ruined that whole field.
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 5:29:09 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 5:42:25 PM EDT
To do Oracle you have to learn SQL and SQL/PL which is programing language, but much easier than C. I am an Oracle 8i DBA, and just recently (less than 2 weeks) I achieved the MCSA certification, which I understand will be the hottest ticket around (don't quite believe this 100%) but since you are already in the field, why not just upgrade your knowledge and increase your edge? I did it in only 8 weeks so can you. Karl
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 5:43:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/29/2002 5:48:16 PM EDT by ron97ws6]
Originally Posted By RWS_Eagle1: Right now I am a Desktop Support Technician. I can't find a job in this field, seems like there are 100 to 1, programmer jobs to hardware support.
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I'm surprised that when questions like this have been posted, peeps don't ask the [i]obvious[/i] question: [b][i]Do you think you'll *like* programming?[/i][/b] Let's face it, computer programming, [i]good[/i] programming, takes the spark that enables a person to start with a clean sheet and create a short story, or web page, or program, or novel. Before we starting counting the paycheck numbers, let's first do a self check, are we a writer?!! If you believe so, it's easy enough to pick up some books on Java, ASP, VBScript, HTML. Try to pick up some small free-lance stuff while you learn. When you are doing this, and before you spend big money, find out if you have the talent, the creative edge! What rogerb says makes sense also . . .
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 6:20:45 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 6:58:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By BenDover: Govt sector is hot right now and will even hire straight out of college. We just brought in 4 new graduates.
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That it is. The branch of the company I work in (Defense Contractor) took in I believe well over 100 new graduates (some 300 or so new employees) last year. RWS_Eadgle1...ron97ws6 makes a good point, in asking about your intentions. The way I usually put it is this: Imagine yourself in a lab. On Monday. At 3:30am in the morning. You've been working on a project for the last 39 hours living on nothing but Mountain Dew and coffee. Your brain is fried, and your program is spitting out more complaints than a tax auditor, and it's due in 4 hours. If you can imagine yourself in this situation and can honestly say 'Damn I'm having fun!', then programming is for you. And before anyone asks yes I did live this. And I loved it! If all you are looking for is something to give you a paycheck, then I think BenDover is right. VB is rather easy and it'll find you a job. It may not pay what you expect, but it'll find you a job. Another thing you might want to look into, especially if you take the C++/Java route, is a good book on OO (Object Oriented)...it's a methodology for creating software. Whether or not one agrees with the concepts, it's what a lot of companies work with and look for. But if you are looking for a serious whole career change, you really need to take a step back and determine what you want out of it. The one problem I've noticed is that if you really want a career in programming, the most important things to learn are rarely found in books, and only begin to get discussed in higher level college courses, if at all. To explain it, I sometimes use the following phrase to describe the difference between a tech school and a university CS program: "One teaches you how to write code, the other teaches you how to program". The logic, the intuition, the understanding of abstract concepts and their application....that's what it really takes to be successful. Another VERY important skill is adaptability...picking up new languages and architectures on the fly. When I left college I was strictly C++. In two and a half years that jumped to C, Motif, SQL, Java, CMS 2, some perl, lexx/yacc, and a few other dribs and drabs. All in all, it's basically akin to fast-track sado masochism. If you love it, you'll do well. If you don't, it'll kill you.
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 11:22:52 PM EDT
A lot depends on what you expect. If you need to make money ASAP as a programmer, then perhaps VB is a good choice. If you want to take your time and learn to be a good programmer, then you will probably want to start with truly structured languages such as Pascal and C or OO languages such as C++ and Java. I know a lot has been added to VB, but it is still a shit language and always will be. I know, you can get a lot done with less lines of code (if you have 20 ActiveX controls, that is), but I don't believe in using glorified scripting languages (such as BASIC) until you already know at least one good structured or OO language. Once you've used a good language, you are better qualified to judge the crappy ones such as BASIC. Also, a lot depends on what tools you have access to. You can download free C/C++ compilers and free Java IDEs (Netbeans and many more). If you want to learn .NET, you need to get hold of a VB.NET, which will not be cheap (hopefully, your employer will pay). Anyway, before you jump on any bandwagon, try a little C or Pascal programming to see if you really like it. If you decide that level of programming is not for you, try the scripting languages such as VBScript, JScript, Perl, etc. These languages are easier to learn, but are not normally considered general purpose languages. Once you have a couple under your belt you can look at specializing. J2EE, .NET, Oracle SQL/PL, whatever.
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 1:24:15 AM EDT
I don't believe in using glorified scripting languages (such as BASIC) until you already know at least one good structured or OO language.
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Agree strongly! Dijkstra wrote in "Selected Writings on Computing: A Personal Perspective" that "It is practically impossible to teach good programming style to students that have had prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration." It also encourages bad habits that make using better languages much harder. I've worked with more fly by night programmers than I care to remember, and almost every single one of them either started with Basic or dBase. (insert bad analogy here) You want to learn how to shoot well with a 223 rifle, you don't buy a Ruger Mini-14. You buy a bolt action (C programming language) or an AR-15 (Java). Honesty, if you're going to seriously study programming, you want to stay away from Java. You'll find the lack of pointers annoying when many of the algorithms you will study require them. Also, stay away from single-platform and closed-source libraries. You'll find that once you become used to using a library, you will greatly miss it (and miss the productivity that you once had) if you have to change platforms or if it's a closed source library and the vendor stops updating it. I've had both happen, and it wasn't fun.z
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 2:11:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/30/2002 2:20:17 AM EDT by cgwahl]
I'm coming up to my last year as a Comp Sci major. Learn C/C++. Depending on where you want to go learn VB and/or Java. Possibly COBOL...people hate it but apparantly in some/many areas its still used. Ada is still alive as well. I think its different now but in my school they had us all start with Pascal and then move up to C++. Me, since my emphasis is systems programming (although now I kind of wish I went IS, seems to be what all the recruiters I've talked to want; still its not a hard leap luckily), C++ is required for all, and I had to learn Ada. The IS guys have to learn C++, VB and/or Java. The commercial programming emphasis has to learn C++ and COBOL and I think VB. The scientific programming emphasis has to learn C++ and FORTRAN. Basically, learn C++ and VB (from what I've been told its very easy to learn, in fact sickeningly easy...heck business majors have to learn it so that should tell you something to how easy it is [;)]). Java shouldn't be to hard once you know C++ although at the rate I'm trying to teach myself off and on I'll probably never learn it. If you're going the IT/IS route you don't have to know Ada. Although I believe learning Unix/Linux if you don't know it already would be a good idea. Heres the thing though, people want programmers that know stuff, usually. If you can find an entry level job that wants you even if you know nothing, they'll train you which is nice (and they'll help you unlearn all that crap you learned in college). I know a few IS guys who went to school to be programmers and they wanted them to know stuff right out of college which usually isn't going to happen unless you got lucky and found a good internship (and many times even they seem to want you to have some experience), not to mention they want you to know stuff that they never taught in college. What they ended up doing is going the tech support route and then got a job as the IS guy for some company or in the case of the people I know for the city. Someday they might go and get a job programming but after so many years, whats the point? Frankly, right now I'm trying to find a tech support job since I need [i]something[/i] that has to do with computers. Hopefully after that I'll have some computer job experience even if its just tech support (its something) I can get a job in IS (getting a job for the Department of State working on embassy computers and whatnot sounds interesting to me) or maybe a nice company will hire me entry level and train indoctrate me into what I need to know about life in their company. Other than that if I'm able to get in shape by next year maybe I can become a Fed and get a job as a US Customs cybercrimes investigator, think I can handle the academic stuff but I'm not exactly thin so don't think I can handle the physical stuff at the moment...oh yeah this thread was about you...[:)]
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 3:45:50 AM EDT
Originally Posted By mattja: I know a lot has been added to VB, but it is still a shit language and always will be. I know, you can get a lot done with less lines of code (if you have 20 ActiveX controls, that is), but I don't believe in using glorified scripting languages (such as BASIC) until you already know at least one good structured or OO language. Once you've used a good language, you are better qualified to judge the crappy ones such as BASIC.
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How is VB "still a shit language" with the advent of .NET? ActiveX isn't even used anymore. COM is history as well. I thought all languages were scripts until they were compiled.
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 4:58:44 AM EDT
Originally Posted By BenDover:
Originally Posted By mattja: I know a lot has been added to VB, but it is still a shit language and always will be. I know, you can get a lot done with less lines of code (if you have 20 ActiveX controls, that is), but I don't believe in using glorified scripting languages (such as BASIC) until you already know at least one good structured or OO language. Once you've used a good language, you are better qualified to judge the crappy ones such as BASIC.
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How is VB "still a shit language" with the advent of .NET? ActiveX isn't even used anymore. COM is history as well. I thought all languages were scripts until they were compiled.
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First, because it's the only language Bill Gates knows. he he Actually, it's a shit language (glorified scripting language) because it lets you get away with things good procedural, typed-checked languages do not. And the fact it does a lot for you (not always well) does not make it a good candidate as one's first language because most languages don't do anything for you. This is how you learn programming. One exception would be Java with its built-in garbage collection. How about types? How big is an integer in BASIC? In virtually every language it is identical in size to your machine registers. Not in BASIC. An integer is always 16-bits, a long is 32-bits. What next? A "long long integer" when everyone moves to 64-bit CPUs? This kind of thinking should be the exception, not the rule. All this playing around with size guarantees BASIC can never be used as a systems language. Let's talk type conversions. You have to be extremely careful when dealing with precision in BASIC. Sometimes, the final outcome of an expression is not 100% clear, especially when working with mixed types in the same expression. At least in C, the compiler is smart enough to give you an integer when all is said and done, even if you screw up. How about passing parameters on the stack? Hell, how many years did it take BASIC to even get a stack? I know newer versions of BASIC allow one to create function prototypes similar to C, but how long did that take? And can you control how parameters are passed? By register, left to right, right to left? Last time I checked, you could not. Does VB finally support recursion? If so, can you control the size of your program's stack? I'm looking at VB6 right now and see no way to set standard WIN32 EXE options such as heap and stack size, etc. Nothing. This can be problematic if you need to recurse. Why does array indexing start at 1? Computer memory does not start at the next location, it starts at the base address. I know, it's so they can range check your arrays. At least, it used to be. more...
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 4:59:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/30/2002 5:04:06 AM EDT by mattja]
OnError should be banned. At least in C++ and Java you can throw an exception, and based on the type of exception thrown, take appropriate action. OnError has always been a stupid solution since it required you to remember numbers. And, of course, there is no way to unwind the stack. You have to hope Mr. Bill does right by you. How about threads? I believe you must associate a window with every thread in BASIC. This is not true in other languages because most others are portable, not VB. VB is M$ only. This is just scratching the surface. Don't even get me started on data structures. How often do you see C++ STL-like implementions in BASIC? How about linked lists, minimum spanning trees, directed graphs, heaps, RB trees, etc? You don't, because BASIC is not an academic language. It is not used in schools to teach programming. Why? Because it's a crappy langauge. It is just now that BASIC is getting to the level Pascal was at 30 years ago. You know, if it wasn't for Bill Gates, BASIC would disappear. No substantial companies are writing commercial BASIC interpreters these days. Having said that all that, VB is good for certain tasks. It's an okay prototyping environment, but in my mind Delphi and C++ Builder are both superior. VB is used for many in-house and vertical applications where database access is necessary as it's easy to access databases via the old DAO or ADO. Of couse, Delphi also supports ADO, so this is nothing special. However, I see more mission-critical database applications written in Visual C++ these days than I used to. I think VC is surpassing VB in this regard as well. BASIC is an easy to learn language, so many managers are comfortable with it, as they may have taken BASIC in business school. Don't discount this fact. Anyway, if you cannot take your first year college algorithms book and implement the assignments in BASIC, you kind of have to assume the language is a piece of shit. Edited to add: historically scripting languages did not support heap functions, stack functions, procedures, user-defined data structures, recursion, functions, procedures, etc. This is how BASIC started. Mr. Bill has improved on BASIC, so now it's a "glorified scripting language", still far behind languages such as C++ and Java.
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 5:11:00 AM EDT
Oh noooo... this thread is turning into a geek war, time to get out the kydex pocket protectors !!
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 5:32:53 AM EDT
ok, i've been coding since 1978, started on a PDP8. front panel switches, paper tape, punch cards. Assembler, PL/I, DL/I, CICS, CoBOL, MVS JCL, Forth, several dialects of BASIC, MSDOS, VB, WIN 3.1-2000, PL/SQL, UNIX. been there, done that. in time it becomes tedious, and you get to take orders from people who couldnt code their way out of a wet paper bag who get paid (your salary)*10. 1) programming is a dying field. it will never die out completely (like CoBOL), but other jobs like network admin, system admin and DBA will be more available and remunerative. 2) there is nothing inherently wrong with BASIC, it is a powerful general purpose language. it does allow you do do stupid things, but so do cars and guns and C++. it's called power and ease of use. what is important here is not the language itself but design and coding technique. ive seen lots of C coders use the evil GOTO improperly and create a nightmare. ive used basic for 20+ years, and it's still my personal language of choice. 3) programming is a peculiar vocation, it really demands a special type of person. you may want to look into "Software Engineering" instead. programming involves a lot of late-night hair-pulling creativity while "SE" is basically looking in your lego box of applications and building a system. different mindset, different traits, different rewards. having said all that, go get a C++ class and see if you really like it before you set your sights on a glorious career tweaking bits.
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 8:09:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/30/2002 8:10:16 AM EDT by Guzzler]
Are there programing theory classes anymore? One of my best classes didn't have us type a single line of code for the fist semester. All we did was write algorithms. I admitt that the instructor was a bit "odd". But his argument was "When you know the concepts, routines of programming, and can hand write a good algorithm, writing the actual code is easy. It is just a matter of syntax." So, like I said. The first semester was nothing but writing algorithms. The second semester we took our algorithms and put them to use in Basic, Pascal, Fortran, and C. (Yep, all 4 languages in one semester. C++, VB, Java, Pearl weren't around yet). I admitt some the algorithms didn't work in all the languages (stacks and pointers), but that was one of the point he was making. Use the right language for the right job. It made alot of sense afterwards. Unfortunately, I realized that writting code wasn't for me, later on. Just wasn't creative enough to come up with the initial idea of what the program should do. I did get really good at debugging other peoples code! Concept and syntax. Wasn't much of a market for that, so I went into hardware, then sys admin, now looking for a teaching gig.
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 8:33:39 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 8:35:20 AM EDT
Originally Posted By mattja:
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I am in complete and total agreement with each of your statements. I have to ask the questions though because there are a ton of anti-MS script kiddies running around who have no concept of stack or thread. Now, there was a day and time when processing was an expensive proposition. But with chips running 2 Ghz for less than a few hundred $$, does it really matter that I am not writing code to eek out the unused 30% of my processor for not having written optimized source? It doesn't very well make sense to spend $50K worth of additional coding and debugging to gain that extra $80 of unused processor. I know this sounds like a cop-out, but for all practicality sakes, what's the big deal? Hardware is dirt cheap. Programmers are still expensive. Getting to market quickly with an application is the priority. If your platform is easy and allows you to prototype a functional app that could be pushed into full production, then why would you encumber a heavier development cycle? If we are after pure optimization, then why don't we still write everything in Assembler specific to the processor? It's just not feasible. There has to be a balance between business requirements and theoretical engineering. You are going to roll your eyeballs on this, but the happy medium between where I am coming from and where you have made your valid assertions is C#. MS recognized the void between ease of prototyping and speed of delivery vs. intrinsic computing power and finite control. Thus, you have the hybrid language of C# (sharp). It's a bonafide, ISO recognized language. Java can't even make that claim because Sun has never submitted it for standardization review. Long live .NET
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 8:36:18 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 8:40:08 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 10:10:37 AM EDT
APL
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 12:03:25 PM EDT
Originally Posted By BenDover: Start with VB.NET. It's easy to learn and the framework is comparable, if not better than Java. VB is easy to read and the concepts are fairly easy to grasp.
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The only problem with vb.net is that it's a very limited language in terms of platform support. It may be implemented better than Java, as that's not hard to do, but you can run Java on just about any machine. In order for Microsoft to get the same with VB.NET, they'll have to start producing runtime environments for other platforms, which we all know they won't do. MS's solutions all count on a homogenous MS world, which just isn't reality and hopefully never is. If you want to make life harder on yourself with a longer learning curve, then jump into C++ or Java. The demand is there for both of these too and they are (theoretically) cross platform. But the leaerning curve is a lot longer and takes a while to become productive.
There are other, more obscure alternatives like Python or even scripting platforms like PHP(or PHP/GTK). But there are few toolsets to accelerate your learning curve and support is less available.
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Calling Python, PERL, or even PHP 'obscure' is a bit dishonest. Maybe it's just the circles we work in, but I use those three tools more often than any other scripting or compiled language on a daily basis. Personally, I'd suggest getting started with C. It's not exactly an easy language to learn, but you can do anything in it, and your local community college probably offers a course in it. It's a structured language, and there are literally tons of books on it at the bookstore and resources for it available on-line. However, experience is what gets you a job in the programming field, but it's not hard to get some. Just get involved in any Open Source or Free Software project and get to work. I've been involved with a project that has been used by just about every UNIX person out there since it was written. God Bless Texas
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 4:39:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/30/2002 6:00:22 PM EDT by RWS_Eagle1]
I went and talked to the local college today. I am strongly considering taking Visual Basic 6.0. They have a virtual online 6 week course for $55.00. I will have to purchase VB 6.0 myself, $449.00 Visual Basic 6.0 with plus pack [URL]http://www.office-software.com/visbaspro60w.html[/URL] $99.00 Visual Basic 6.0 Pro [URL]http://www.studica.com/microsoft/[/URL] Does anyone know if there is a 30 day trial verision out there anywhere? After I complete the 6 week VB 6.0, I will take another language, not sure which one just yet. After 12 weeks, I may be able to streach it to 24 weeks, it will be time to get a job and start bring home a pay check. I am going to search all the job sites on the net to see what is needed. I am going to email all the local Employment Agencies, to see what they have a need for. So tell me what do you think of this PLAN?
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 5:16:13 PM EDT
RWS_Eagle1, go ahead and try the VB course. It is a small investment. If you like it, try to take some basic algorithm classes to increase you basic skills. The basic algorithm skills will help you in whatever particular skill you choose to focus on (C/C++, Oracle, Java, VB, etc.). Then check out the local job market and see which skills are in high demand and sound interesting. Then try to find a class or just play with that particular language and/or product. MySQL is a free relational database management product that you can download off the web and is very easy to install and play with. It should teach you a lot about databases - which almost all computer people have to deal with sooner or later. You can also use notepad and write your own html web pages and then code buttons and script in Javascript. Javascript is very easy to learn. Both MySQL and Javascript will allow you to get a 'feel' for programming without spending any money for anything other than books. If you end up liking programming, I would strongly recommend that you get a 4-year or MS degree in Computer Science. Not only will a degree help to open doors, it will also help you be a more rounded professional and not a one-tool-monkey. Most employers will also reimburse for college tuition if you have a good attitude. IBM paid for a lot of my undergrad courses and all of my Masters Degree -saving me big bucks. Good luck!
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 5:53:14 PM EDT
I guess I will add my 2 cents. I am on the other side of the fence, and fight against the Dark Side the rest of these guys are on. I have taken programming classes, and even use some in my work as QA,(You must know your enemy to fight them.) I don't think vb is the best choice to start with if you are truly interested in this for the long term, as it doesn't really teach much. My problem with VB is that the engine does 90 perecent of your coding for you. You learn the cool buttons and features of the VB engine, not how to code. I really would start out slow, and start with Turbo Pascal if you have no real experience in programming. This will teach you the basics on the rest, and the only difference after that is really the syntax. Be aware you are looking at long hours, and people like me giving you nothing but heartache and pain for months at a time. It gets worse as the deadline gets closer. I have seen QA work 110 hour work weeks(I only did 60, but I was doing 12 semester hours at the time,) keeping up with development, and I have seen developers work the rest of those hours sleeping on the floor when they can. (Well most got futons or couches, we slept on the floor.) I too think you could do well looking for a sys admin job. Just take a unix course and combine it with your hardware and network knowlege. Hardware people seem hard to find with other skills. There are very few that have two skill and it makes you valuable. Do not become the hardware guy that kind of programs because you will be the first to go when they downsize. Be the programmer that helps on some hardware problems.
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 6:32:39 PM EDT
Learn C/C++, Perl, Unix, SQL, and Networking, and focus on architectual aspects and the "bigger picture" of IT. Specializing yourself too much in a single area = long boring hours locked in the bowels of some programming company, fixing bugs and running endless tests.... but hey, someone has to. I just prefer it not be me. Doing the same thing over and over gets boring.... thats why us Unix geeks invented shell scripts, the bash shell, and Cron -- we're inherently lazy and hate doing the same thing more than once.
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 12:06:26 AM EDT
Originally Posted By lurker: 1) programming is a dying field. it will never die out completely (like CoBOL), but other jobs like network admin, system admin and DBA will be more available and remunerative.
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They've been saying that for 20 years, but I've never heard it come from a programmer because they usually know better. Hmm... perhaps you should tell that to the 10,000 imported Indians and Chinese making six figures in Silicon Valley as programmers. Out of curiosity, what good is a network, a computer system, or a database if you have no applications making use of the same?
2) there is nothing inherently wrong with BASIC, it is a powerful general purpose language. it does allow you do do stupid things, but so do cars and guns and C++. it's called power and ease of use. what is important here is not the language itself but design and coding technique. ive seen lots of C coders use the evil GOTO improperly and create a nightmare. ive used basic for 20+ years, and it's still my personal language of choice.
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The newer versions of BASIC are more structured and in general, much better than the original version. But, again, BASIC is very limited in what it can do simply because it never was a structured language, has no useful heap management routines, etc.
3) programming is a peculiar vocation, it really demands a special type of person. you may want to look into "Software Engineering" instead. programming involves a lot of late-night hair-pulling creativity while "SE" is basically looking in your lego box of applications and building a system. different mindset, different traits, different rewards. having said all that, go get a C++ class and see if you really like it before you set your sights on a glorious career tweaking bits.
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There is a fine line between programming and SE. I don't know anyone who does 100% design. All the guys I know, even if they focus on design, also program if for no other reason than they need to prototype.
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 12:09:32 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Guzzler: Are there programing theory classes anymore?
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Of course, everyone is required to take at least a semester of algorithms, even for an AA in CS. And programming languages is required for the BSCS.
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 12:28:31 AM EDT
Originally Posted By BenDover: Now, there was a day and time when processing was an expensive proposition. But with chips running 2 Ghz for less than a few hundred $$, does it really matter that I am not writing code to eek out the unused 30% of my processor for not having written optimized source? It doesn't very well make sense to spend $50K worth of additional coding and debugging to gain that extra $80 of unused processor. I know this sounds like a cop-out, but for all practicality sakes, what's the big deal? Hardware is dirt cheap. Programmers are still expensive.
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I agree with that. I remember when C++ became popular everyone griped it was slower than C because of all the pointer indirection required to manage the v-table. But when CPUs got faster and memory increased, this was not as much of an issue. VB is good for prototyping and developing database applications, but there are some things it cannot do. For instance, you cannot use VB to develop any sort of drivers. Actually, if I were going to gripe about speed, I would not gripe about VB. I would gripe about Java, at least the WIN32 implementations, which are significantly slower than native code, regardless of what Sun says.
Getting to market quickly with an application is the priority. If your platform is easy and allows you to prototype a functional app that could be pushed into full production, then why would you encumber a heavier development cycle? If we are after pure optimization, then why don't we still write everything in Assembler specific to the processor? It's just not feasible. There has to be a balance between business requirements and theoretical engineering.
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I agree. My argument was never against VB as a prototyping tool or for use in vertical markets, especially database applications. My gripe is if you want to learn a language that will help you become a better programmer, BASIC is probably not the best choice. Having said that, I can prototype database applications in C++ builder just as fast as VB and in the end I am using a better language with superior libraries, such as the C++ Standard Library, which VB has no notion of. And I can use ActiveX controls just as easily as VB, in addition to native VCL controls. And I can port the code to Linux with minimal effort. Can't do that in VB.
You are going to roll your eyeballs on this, but the happy medium between where I am coming from and where you have made your valid assertions is C#. MS recognized the void between ease of prototyping and speed of delivery vs. intrinsic computing power and finite control. Thus, you have the hybrid language of C# (sharp). It's a bonafide, ISO recognized language. Java can't even make that claim because Sun has never submitted it for standardization review.
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Yes, but ISO or not, in the end if C# is not adopted for other platforms, then the point is kinda moot. When I first looked at C#, the first thing that came to mind was how could MS get away with it? It's like a 99% copy of Java! Talk about gall!
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 2:22:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/31/2002 2:23:17 AM EDT by BenDover]
Originally Posted By mattja: ...VB is good for prototyping and developing database applications, but there are some things it cannot do. For instance, you cannot use VB to develop any sort of drivers.... ...My argument was never against VB as a prototyping tool or for use in vertical markets, especially database applications...
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I agree that you cannot program low-level machine code with VB. But the majority of development work is in the vertical markets, especially for lesser experienced programmers. Niche enterprise applications are varied and many, while hardware level development jobs require a higher level of experience. This is why I suggested that he learn what is going to give him the best opportunity with the shortest timeframe investment. Once you're in the game, it becomes an evolutionary lifestyle. Or maybe he'll find fame and riches in cranking out the next best vertical app and never get to machine-level development. Unless he wants to develop his own 3D gaming engine or simulation platform.
...I can prototype database applications in C++ builder just as fast as VB...
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If you can prototype C++ frameworks for productivity apps as fast as someone can in say, VS.NET, then you should never have a problem finding work.
...I would gripe about Java, at least the WIN32 implementations, which are significantly slower than native code, regardless of what Sun says...
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I refuse to implement Java on Win32. Hell, even the Oracle Forms Java client is a 400+K download to instantiate an app. Not real thin. Linux or embedded processors? It's fantastic, but it's a hopeless cause to try and get real world performance with it on top of the Win32 kernel. I recently was forced to replace some proprietary application redirector with Tomcat on Win32. All I can say is..."BLECHH!!!"
Yes, but ISO or not, in the end if C# is not adopted for other platforms, then the point is kinda moot....
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Well, since VB is crusty rusty and still only runs on Win, I would seriously doubt that anyone will port C# - which is actually a shame because it's a cool language. I do have to say that the JIT compiler aspect of the .NET framework kicks butt. MS might have some serious gall, but they are finally listening to the partner community and doing some very cool things. I know it's popular to bash them and harrangue people who like MS. But I have made more money with MS than any other platform in my career. While their business practices may be heavy-handed with horizontal technology competitors, I have earned serious $$ in my life in vertical markets with their stuff. They've always bent over backwards to assist me in any way. Of course, I am designing in their server products everytime I engage with a client, so go figure. The bottom line for me though is who has been there to support my personal efforts and career? I tend to pull my hair out trying to find answers to critical issues within the open source community. When my business is at stake with a client, there's nobody to point to if I am using an open source platform. MS is ALWAYS there for me to support any efforts when I am using their products to implement for a client. It's kind of an insurance policy for contract development.
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 3:43:13 AM EDT
Originally Posted By BenDover: I agree that you cannot program low-level machine code with VB. But the majority of development work is in the vertical markets, especially for lesser experienced programmers. Niche enterprise applications are varied and many, while hardware level development jobs require a higher level of experience. This is why I suggested that he learn what is going to give him the best opportunity with the shortest timeframe investment. Once you're in the game, it becomes an evolutionary lifestyle. Or maybe he'll find fame and riches in cranking out the next best vertical app and never get to machine-level development. Unless he wants to develop his own 3D gaming engine or simulation platform.
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I agree 100%.
If you can prototype C++ frameworks for productivity apps as fast as someone can in say, VS.NET, then you should never have a problem finding work.
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I agree, but there are not as many jobs for C++ Builder as there are for VB or Visual C++. And VC++ is a nightmare for any kind of RAD development, so VB is the only game in town for a lot of people.
I refuse to implement Java on Win32. Hell, even the Oracle Forms Java client is a 400+K download to instantiate an app. Not real thin. Linux or embedded processors? It's fantastic, but it's a hopeless cause to try and get real world performance with it on top of the Win32 kernel. I recently was forced to replace some proprietary application redirector with Tomcat on Win32. All I can say is..."BLECHH!!!"
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No argument there, although some of the WIN32 server-side Java stuff is cool. What gets me, is two of the best Java IDEs, NetBeans and JBuilder are themselves written in Java, and although they are wonderful development platforms, they are so bloody slow, I find myself pulling out Visual Cafe 1.0 because that IDE is native WIN32 and 30 times faster. I don't give a crap if my IDE was written in Java, I just don't want to waste my time waiting for the IDE to scan a directory and open a file. Drives me nuts. [more]
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 3:43:55 AM EDT
Well, since VB is crusty rusty and still only runs on Win, I would seriously doubt that anyone will port C# - which is actually a shame because it's a cool language. I do have to say that the JIT compiler aspect of the .NET framework kicks butt. MS might have some serious gall, but they are finally listening to the partner community and doing some very cool things. I know it's popular to bash them and harrangue people who like MS. But I have made more money with MS than any other platform in my career. While their business practices may be heavy-handed with horizontal technology competitors, I have earned serious $$ in my life in vertical markets with their stuff. They've always bent over backwards to assist me in any way. Of course, I am designing in their server products everytime I engage with a client, so go figure. The bottom line for me though is who has been there to support my personal efforts and career? I tend to pull my hair out trying to find answers to critical issues within the open source community. When my business is at stake with a client, there's nobody to point to if I am using an open source platform. MS is ALWAYS there for me to support any efforts when I am using their products to implement for a client. It's kind of an insurance policy for contract development.
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Me too, 90% of my income is made with C++ Builder, Visual C++, and SQL Server. 15 years ago it was Turbo C and Borland's TASM Assembler. I've always liked the Borland products much more than MS, but I understand the jobs are with MS tools. But there are more and more vertical apps being written in Delphi and C++ Builder today, so Borland has found their niche. I too like the .NET common runtime. It has an edge over J2EE in that it supports multiple languages, yet J2EE has the edge in being cross platform (something MS will NEVER support, like you said). So, I think we can agree if someone is looking to make some money sooner than later, he can probably start with BASIC and not do himself too much damage, especially if the focus is business applications. But if one has the time to follow a CS curriculum or perhaps needs the ability to program some of the higher-level data structures, there are superior languages to start with.
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 3:49:17 AM EDT
Wow! So we agree! Cool! Is this an AR15 first? Boy we sure did turn this thread into a geekfest didn't we. [;)] Viva la geek!
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 5:06:52 AM EDT
Hey, when all is said and done, it's the geeks who have the most money to spend at the nudie bar. [thinking]
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 5:31:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/31/2002 5:31:49 AM EDT by Tinker]
Originally Posted By marvl: APL
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They don't make keyboards like that anymore!
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 5:38:52 AM EDT
Originally Posted By RWS_Eagle1: I went and talked to the local college today. I am strongly considering taking Visual Basic 6.0. They have a virtual online 6 week course for $55.00. I will have to purchase VB 6.0 myself, $449.00 Visual Basic 6.0 with plus pack [URL]http://www.office-software.com/visbaspro60w.html[/URL] $99.00 Visual Basic 6.0 Pro [URL]http://www.studica.com/microsoft/[/URL]
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Get the MS Visual Basic 6.0 Deluxe Learning Edition. I paid about $85 each for a couple of copies, and the people using them have been happy. As I recall, you don't get the optimizer code in this version, but other than that it is complete. You get a self-paced training manual, VB 6 Programmer's Guide and the software. You can upgrade to VB Pro Edition later, at a discount, if it works out.
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 5:50:08 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Tinker:
Originally Posted By marvl: APL
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They don't make keyboards like that anymore!
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Yes, I know, and it's a shame. Microsoft Word would be a 23-character APL program, instead of 1,000,000 lines of C/C++. [;)]
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 4:30:25 PM EDT
1) programming is a dying field. it will never die out completely (like CoBOL), but other jobs like network admin, system admin and DBA will be more available and remunerative.
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Actually, after the .COM fallout, this is completely untrue. I've had 7 years experience building and securing TCP/IP networks over everything from coax/thicknet to Gig-E to Sonet. And right now there are very few networking jobs in the Houston area. However, the programming jobs are plentiful. As of my last check of all the on-line sources, not taking into account multiple postings for the same job, I'd say programming jobs outnumber network jobs by about 7 to 1. The presence of BMC, Pentasafe, and others may be responsible for that.
3) programming is a peculiar vocation, it really demands a special type of person. you may want to look into "Software Engineering" instead. programming involves a lot of late-night hair-pulling creativity while "SE" is basically looking in your lego box of applications and building a system. different mindset, different traits, different rewards.
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This is very, very true. Programming takes a certain logical mindset to do properly, but that doesn't seem to stop a lot of people these days. [}:D] Remeber the Alamo, and God Bless Texas.
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 5:20:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/31/2002 5:34:03 PM EDT by RWS_Eagle1]
I want to thank everyone for their comments. These boards are the greatest to get info. I think I could ask how to remove stripes from a Zebra, and someone would have the correct answer. Thanks for the help. So far I have decided to take Visual Basic 6.0 first, then as I can in a quick as manner as I can to follow up with, Visual C++, .NET, C++, Java, Algorithms, SQL. That's the plan, it may change, as I go. I am going to give some serious thought and research in getting away from Microsoft, and picking up Unix/Linux. Again, thanks for all the advice!!!!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 7:39:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/31/2002 7:45:36 PM EDT by zonan]
Originally Posted By mattja: When I first looked at C#, the first thing that came to mind was how could MS get away with it? It's like a 99% copy of Java! Talk about gall!
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I know the cool thing to do is to hate microsoft, but you don't see any hypocrisy in the situation? MS was trying to develop for java but was sued by Sun and prevented from doing so. OF COURSE C# is like java -- because they were barred from using java. [rolleyes]
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 8:52:44 PM EDT
Originally Posted By zonan:
Originally Posted By mattja: When I first looked at C#, the first thing that came to mind was how could MS get away with it? It's like a 99% copy of Java! Talk about gall!
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I know the cool thing to do is to hate microsoft, but you don't see any hypocrisy in the situation? MS was trying to develop for java but was sued by Sun and prevented from doing so. OF COURSE C# is like java -- because they were barred from using java. [rolleyes]
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That is not what happened. Unless you define "develop for Java" as meaning the creation of a proprietary version of the language! Microsoft wanted to hijack the Java language specification, like they do everything else, to support COM technology, which would kill the cross-platform functionality of the language. It wasn't enough that Java already had a native methods API, so the language could call WIN32 DLLs, Mr. Bill wanted to integrate COM and crap like that. This is why the "Pure Java" initiative was introduced. Sun already had Java Beans in the works, so it wasn't really necessary to support COM. Around 1997, the MS propaganda machine was in full force, with MSDN Magazine (I think it was called MSJ back then) spewing forth total lies and propaganda in their "Ask Dr. GUI" columns. Their excuse for bastardizing the Java language was that programmers were committed to COM and did not have time to wait for Java to support its own component architecture. Developers and their customers demanded COM support now! Of course, this was total BS as people we getting along fine using COM from VB and VC++. So they could wait. The fact is, Mr. Bill could not stand the fact he did not have control of the Java language and that it did not support COM, his beloved component technology that virtually every programmer hates! He tried to bastardize the language and lost. This is why C# came to be. Think about it. Why would MS go to the trouble of specifying a totally new language when Java already exists? Could it be because Sun controlled the language specification? And why is MS now refusing to include a Java VM in Windows XP? Could it be sour grapes? Listen, I've been earning 90% of my income from development on Microsoft platforms for 15+ years now. Starting with DOS, Windows 3.x, 9x, whatever. The fact is MS is not a company we should be proud of. They have their own agenda that is totally separate from the best interests of developers and users alike. IBM was the same way when they were the only game in town. Now it's MS's turn. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, I don't care who you are.
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 9:18:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/31/2002 9:22:17 PM EDT by hmeyne]
I've been programming .NET for about 2 years, and I do a lot of training and consulting with companies about moving to .NET. I exclusively use C# - no VB, but I have found that people are interested not in C# but in VB.NET by an overwhelming margin. By people, I mean corporate programming teams as well as the staff of web and app development companies. In fact, I have been turning down training gigs lately because they keep asking me to teach their staff VB.NET, which I don't want to do. So, what I am trying to say is that VB.NET is a good place to be right now, and probably for quite a few years. I just hope that C# doesn't end up being still-born. Also, I wrote a book on C# and I know some other guys who did VB.NET books; their books are kicking mine's ass in sales.
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