[H-GEN] Programing

Paul Gearon pag at PISoftware.com
Sun Jul 30 20:35:57 EDT 2000

[ Humbug *General* list - semi-serious discussions about Humbug and ]
[ Unix-related topics.  Please observe the list's charter.          ]

On Sun, 30 Jul 2000, Martin Pool wrote:

> On Sun, Jul 30, 2000 at 05:41:31PM +1000, Simon Robertson wrote:
> Although formal training is useful, getting it *into your head* is the
> most important thing.

In terms of programming... yes.  Employability is a different issue  :-)

I must agree that ALL the competent programmers I know taught themselves,
regardless of their qualifications.  So if you want to be any good, then
the formula Martin gives is basically the only way to go.

However you mentioned wanting to move your career in this direction.  
Most companies will only talk to you if you have some kind of formal
qualification.  Sometimes they will take on someone who is in the process
of getting a qualification, but it varies.

Occasionally you will even find a company who will be willing to take on
someone without qualifications, but you really need to be able to
demonstrate some good code to do this.  Demonstrating to someone who is
more interested in human resources than in technical issues can be
problematic.  Not a lot of Brisbane (or Australian) companies are
enlightened enough to know about contributions to OpenSource.

A lot of people are getting jobs with 6 month courses from Interim, etc,
so training courses like that could help.  A uni degree is always highly
regarded.  Bear in mind that (IMHO) you won't actually become a good
programmer with these qualifications!!!  But employers take them very
seriously.  Uni is also a good place to learn about data structures,
algorithms, and other techniques that just knowing a language won't teach

So if you want to be a good programmer, follow Martin's advice.  It's
quite sound.  If you want to get a job with your new skills then get a
qualification of some type.  This will help pave the way into a new job.

BTW, since you're starting out... ignore C++.  It's better to get your
programming skills in place before you tackle anything major, otherwise
all the intricacies of the language can get in the way of your learning
(and C++ is quite complex).  Python is great.  C is probably a good second
language to learn (yes, C is simple, but it's terseness can be hard for
beginners, and coping with pointers should be left until you've had just a
little experience).  Java is also pretty good as an easy language to

Paul Gearon
pag at PISoftware.com

Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum
immane mittam.
(Translation from latin: "I have a catapult. Give me all the money,
or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.")

* This is list (humbug) general handled by majordomo at lists.humbug.org.au .
* Postings to this list are only accepted from subscribed addresses of
* lists 'general' or 'general-post'.

More information about the General mailing list