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Author Topic: career advice
stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted July 28, 2006 12:54      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm almost at that ripe old age of 16 a time where i would like to know where my future is going. All i know is that i want a career in computers. Since i love computers and everything about technology.

Now over the last couple of years i have been gaining priceless information about computers from the web and school. But i would like to dive into the deep end and get my hair wet. so does anyone have any recomendations on books, site's, or anything which will help me learn more about computers (hardware, programing languages,etc) and related technology?

Thanks,

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Comic Book Guy: There is no emoticon for what i'm feeling.

Posts: 1199 | From: Canada eh? | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
rivenGlitch
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Icon 1 posted July 29, 2006 07:47      Profile for rivenGlitch     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:
But i would like to dive into the deep end and get my hair wet.

Hey there, well we have all been there at one point, mind you I started at an earlier age and what I did was just that “dive in” , pick a main focal point, I picked both; hardware and programming. Now 20 years later I feel that Java is my first language, and English is my second and the internal hardware of a system is my favorite view (w/a nice soft blue LED glow… ). As for the hardware and just simple diagnostics of systems and how they work, well you will learn all about that as you follow the best computer course there is: “Hands on, trial and error trouble shooting!” As your skills grow so will your knowledge base of where to find the answers and fixes.

So my advice is:

Pick a programming language (if that is your cup of… Java?)
Take in something cool to look at while you ponder your code (something cool like an… Eclipse?)

Just by trying to learn how to install and configure tools so that you can use them, will start you on that never ending path of the digital world.

/Happy/paths/and/good/luck.log

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Programmer (def): An organism that converts caffeine into software.

Posts: 27 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted July 29, 2006 09:10      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I disagree with rivenglitch- stay away from Java as a first language. It results in bad programmers, from my experience.


I'd say: start out learning the basics of a low-level language, like C. Then learn a higher-level language like Python or Ruby that's object oriented. Then go back to the advanced parts of C (pointers, dynamically allocated arrays, etc), floating-point arithmetic, etc. Then pick up perl, because it's handy to have, but if you pick it up last, it won't destroy your coding skills.

Hardware wise... I don't fool around a lot with my computer hardware. It usually works the way I like it and I don't feel like tweaking with it. However, I do fool around a lot with audio equipment and I enjoy repairing simple electronics. Probably one of the best things you could do after learning to program is grab a PICmicro development board and start building simple robots. Plenty of books bout that at your local library.

Just my 2.0E-2 USD.

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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Demosthenes
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Icon 1 posted July 29, 2006 09:30      Profile for Demosthenes     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Do what I did and learn Scheme and Haskell first, and learn your hardware on small form factor Macs. After that, everything seems easy. [Big Grin]
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Spiderman

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Icon 1 posted July 29, 2006 09:34      Profile for Spiderman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
One of the best ways to decide that programming is not fun, and subsequently give up entirely, is to start a beginner out on C.

Obviously everyone learns differently, and maybe there are a few unusual individuals out there who can immediately grasp the seemingly esoteric process of writing programs in a low level language, but most I think will find more pleasure, and success by starting out with something a bit kinder to the brain.

This is the part where I insert an obligatory "Learn language X because *I* think it's best!". While I am a Ruby fan and truly believe that this language would be a perfect fit for a beginner, so would Python.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with becoming familiar with simpler programming concepts like loops, iteration, datatypes (arrays, hashes, etc) while at the same time being able to simply understand what's going on.

As one becomes familiar with the concepts of programming (and I should add that either of the languages I mentioned will give the learner an excellent taste of what this is all about), the hunger to go deeper becomes natural, and *then* something like C may be appropriate.

<rant>

Nothing pisses me off more than bigots who insist "Oh, he *must* learn assembly programming before anything else, otherwise he can never be a good programmer since he won't be familiar with the guts of what he's working with".

Absolute bullshit for reasons I mentioned above and it scares away individuals who may have made excellent programmers, but flipped because they believed everything had to be ridiculously complex.

</rant>

stevenback: Whatever you do, make sure you're enjoying it. If you're not, try a new approach. Everyone follows their own path to proficiency in these things, and ultimately you must create your own. With some guidance of course. [Smile]

Edit: And in the real world, Python and Ruby are damn useful. My place of employment utilizes a rather large Python codebase, and an ever increasing number of Ruby apps...(not RoR stuff, but a decent collection of network management automation utilities). All languages have their place, and one can not live on <insert dynamic languages of choice> alone, but they're certainly a good start.

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Math problems? Call 1-800-[(10x)(13i)^2]-[sin(xy)/2.362x]

Posts: 846 | From: Chicago | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted July 29, 2006 12:13      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the advice.

Now Turing is my begginer language i'm learning in my computer science class and i've been very succesfull so far. I've tried several times to pick up learning a language over internet tutorials such as basic C and Python. But my problem is that they tell you the very basics and then they say " okay go make a program now". Does anyone know any good tutorials which has worked with them or any books which has taught them the language?

On the hardware side of things i'm gradually learning. A month ago i bought two old computers and just started taking them apart and putting them back together. Even though one is broken it was still fun.

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Comic Book Guy: There is no emoticon for what i'm feeling.

Posts: 1199 | From: Canada eh? | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
AntonTakk
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Icon 1 posted July 29, 2006 18:50      Profile for AntonTakk   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
for programming, I'd say setup a *nix box and try the diferent languages, then start with the one you like most, but keep in mind most serious apps and OSs are still written in C, and of corse perl is always usefull for quick text processing jobs or simple network tools (IMHO)

for hardware, yeah, just keep playing with it, download manuals when you can find them, if you want help learning, you might pick up an A+ cert book (thou you don't necesesarily need to get the cert it's self) i'd recommend the latest easily available
"All-In-One A+ Certification Exam Guide" by Mike Meyers

and it never hurts to pick up machines of other hardware types and play with them

(the first time I saw a processor on an expansion card was really fun)

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`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!' - Percy Bysshe Shelley

Posts: 83 | From: Denver, CO | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted July 29, 2006 19:23            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Career advice? I .. I advise you to get a career. What can I say?
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Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted July 29, 2006 20:11      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I started learning how to administrate when I accidentally erased the entire drive on an old system.

I started learning how to replace hardware when I accidentally fried a modem.

I started learning how to program when I wrote my first infinite loop.

The key is to just do it and break some stuff if you have to. If you want to learn how to program, start writing some programs! (Pick up a book if you need to in order to help you with the language, but only to help you with the language! The most important skills for a programmer cannot be learned from a book; they must be learned from experience and analaysis).

I would wager that the majority of successful IT people are in the field because they are passionate about technology. Simply calling this career advice is not enough.

Posts: 664 | From: Morganville, NJ | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted July 29, 2006 20:13      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Spiderman:
One of the best ways to decide that programming is not fun, and subsequently give up entirely, is to start a beginner out on C.

As much as people like to criticize it, Basic is a perfect first language (save, perhaps, for the lack of pointers, which is why you show them some other language concepts after a year or so). It's what I started with, and I think it made me a better programmer, not a worse one.

The important thing for a beginner is not to grasp specific language concepts - doing so would be much like the method computer-illiterate people use to get work done in applications (trying to memorize a specific set of instructions to produce a desired result... this fails when something as simple as the path in a dialog changes). What you want to start out learning is how to analyze a problem and break it down into simple statements that the computer can understand. Once you are capable of doing that, associating syntax with behavior is easy, and the behaviors themselves will become familiar enough that if the syntax changes (IE, you learn a new language), you can adapt quickly.

Posts: 664 | From: Morganville, NJ | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted July 29, 2006 20:26      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Administrate is not a word...just a back-formation of 'administration.' Administer is the word you want.

Regarding languages, I think Java is better for learning, as it gives you strict rules on how to program, but doesn't require one to know advanced, arcane details of a language. Once you learn a general language like this, if you really understand what you're doing, another language might appeal to you more as 'fun.' For me, that's Perl...and I think I'm going to tackle Ruby next. Out of necessity, not desire, I've become proficient at PHP, and think it's a vile POS.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 1 posted July 29, 2006 20:44      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just write a few quick programs in Malbolge. Once you've done that, you'll be ready for more difficult things.

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Worst. Celibate. Ever.

Posts: 6364 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
uilleann
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Icon 1 posted July 29, 2006 20:45            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Nor is burglarize a word. Burgle is the word you want.
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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted July 30, 2006 03:43      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Nor is burglarize a word. Burgle is the word you want.
I'm afraid burglarize is a word. It is one of those new-fangled american ones. It always seemed ugly to me, but there you go.
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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted July 30, 2006 17:47      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by littlefish:
quote:
Nor is burglarize a word. Burgle is the word you want.
I'm afraid burglarize is a word. It is one of those new-fangled american ones. It always seemed ugly to me, but there you go.
I was originally going to writerize a detailed rebuttal of your position, but I thinkerized better of it.

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted July 30, 2006 19:30      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
Administer is the word you want.

I thought so, but it was in the dictionary.
Posts: 664 | From: Morganville, NJ | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted July 30, 2006 21:02      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Metasquares:
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
Administer is the word you want.

I thought so, but it was in the dictionary.
That's from WordNet, actually. (the source of `dict`)

You'll notice it's linked/tied to administer.

I checked OED, and it is listed as a particple stem of the Latin administrare. It is most notably cited as a by-form of 'administer' and or compared to it in usage. Also, not that it's a judge of anything, but the info. on '-trate' takes 1 page, the info. on '-ster' takes 4 pages.

/no apologies for length...

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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Jace Raven

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Icon 1 posted July 30, 2006 21:49      Profile for Jace Raven         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You want some career advise?

Never blow 9 grand on a woman who's never going to speak to you again!

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Stereo

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Icon 1 posted July 31, 2006 04:21      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I started learning programming with Pascal. It's a good starter language, but somewhat restrictive. (Mind you, at that time, that was still the language of the Mac Toolbox.)

I started really learning OOP with Smalltalk. C++ was so obfuscated I couldn't make no sense of it.

But yes, if you just want to get a start with programming, Basic, in any of his incarnation, is a good start. So would be Javascript. They won't go as far as other languages, but they're quick to grab, and you'll be happy to move on to better languages. As being a good programmer, the most important point would be: learn to think and express yourself coherently. Then get some book (like "Enough Rope to Shoot Yourself In The Foot") that will show you good programming practices.

Now, as a carrer advice, I'd say: choose an area of application. Programming and hardware skills can be used in just about anything. Finding a specialisation could give you an edge. It could be computer vision, remote controlling, embarked systems, data mining, biotechnology, etc. What you'll learn will still be good for general purpose, if need be, but will open you more doors. Remember: computers are tools made to help accomplish tasks. They are a mean, not a finality. Keep that in mind, and you'll do fine.

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Eppur, si muove!

Galileo Galilei

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GrumpySteen

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Icon 11 posted July 31, 2006 05:47      Profile for GrumpySteen     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Stereo wrote:
Remember: computers are tools made to help accomplish tasks. They are a mean, not a finality.

Heresy!

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Worst. Celibate. Ever.

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted July 31, 2006 06:35      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Turing is a language developed at the UofT that has a very Pascal-y vibe to it.

To begin with programming, it might be better to take a good look at what exactly the actual outcome of your software to decide the language.

Lots of web-side dynamic stuff? Try Javascript.
Lots of server-side dynamic stuff? Try perl or ruby.
Lots of random simple *nix applications? python.
Lots of random more advanced *nix applications? C
Cross-platform, simple gui applications? Java.
Want to get raped by learning the shittiest language ever designed? PHP.

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Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted July 31, 2006 18:07      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jace Raven:
You want some career advise?

Never blow 9 grand on a woman who's never going to speak to you again!

....especially when $20 in Tijuana will get you the same thing.

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(!) (T) = 8-D

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AgingAmigaoid
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Icon 1 posted August 01, 2006 09:52      Profile for AgingAmigaoid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by stevenback7:
Does anyone know any good tutorials which has worked with them or any books which has taught them the language?

I've only perused these books but I'm thinking about using them to introduce my home-schooled 7th grader to programming this year... Check them out and see if they work for you.

How To Think Like a Computer Scientist

As for hardware... start shopping for a motherboard, stick a CPU and some RAM in it, add a case and a power supply, pick a video card. Setup a home router even if you don't have broadband (some home routers will handle an external modem) start messing around with userids and privileges on a small network... There's so much you can "dabble in" these days!

Good Luck!

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stevenback7
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Icon 1 posted August 01, 2006 14:56      Profile for stevenback7   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
As for hardware... start shopping for a motherboard, stick a CPU and some RAM in it, add a case and a power supply, pick a video card. Setup a home router even if you don't have broadband (some home routers will handle an external modem) start messing around with userids and privileges on a small network... There's so much you can "dabble in" these days!

Good Luck!

Thanks for the advice.

i all ready got several computers i've been messing around with. And as for the home network, i'm getting wireless high speed internet in a week or two. Which will allow me to setup a network.

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Comic Book Guy: There is no emoticon for what i'm feeling.

Posts: 1199 | From: Canada eh? | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged


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