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Beginning Programming

by rty640
Tags: beginning, programming
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rty640
#1
Jan27-09, 12:34 PM
P: 16
I'm a high school senior planning on majoring in computer engineering. In my spare time I would like to get a head start on programming. What language should I learn that would best prepare me for what I might be exposed to? My guess is C++ or Java, but I'm not sure. I'm also looking for book recommendations and a free compiler. Thank you!
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Potential
#2
Jan27-09, 02:49 PM
P: 25
You may want to go to several job web sites, where one would normally go to find a job, to get a feel of the market demand and salary ranges for your area you intend to eventually reside. My intention is not to encourage you in choice of programming language or operating system targets or even books. I prefer one language over alll others so you might want to figure out your preferences between all of them. If you know the school you are going to attend, you can also find out what languages they are teaching.
signerror
#3
Jan27-09, 03:16 PM
P: 223
Easy: first Scheme, then C.

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
Abelson, Sussman, and Sussman
wikipedia
(this one is available for free on its MIT webpage)

The C Programming Language
Kernighan and Ritchie
wikipedia



Compilers to get you started:


C
Linux/UNIX: gcc (probably already installed)
Mac OS X: Xcode (contains gcc)
Windows: Visual C++ Express or Bloodshed Dev C++

Scheme
All platforms: DrScheme

All are free.

rty640
#4
Jan27-09, 04:47 PM
P: 16
Beginning Programming

Thanks for the replies.

I'm going to look into Scheme.
phragg
#5
Jan29-09, 01:56 AM
P: 2
You're going to want to be familiar with many languages. Whatever can get the job done quick and efficient. Maybe you'll need to make a quick GUI, I'd say go with VB (ugh..) It really depends on the circumstances.
rty640
#6
Jan29-09, 07:14 AM
P: 16
I'm really just looking for learning something that will help me understand concepts that I can apply elsewhere.
DaveC426913
#7
Jan29-09, 07:32 AM
DaveC426913's Avatar
P: 15,319
I've never even heard of Scheme. How well will that prepare the OP for what s/he'll encounter? Are there any real-world applications that use it, or is it a learning tool?

Something that will definitely help you that is language-independent is to pick up a book on object-oriented programming principles.
You need to have a good understanding of:
inheritance
abstraction
encapsulation
polymorphism
Understanding these concepts will get you muuuuuuch farther than learning any specific language.
rty640
#8
Jan29-09, 07:54 AM
P: 16
Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
Something that will definitely help you that is language-independent is to pick up a book on object-oriented programming principles.
You wouldn't happen to have any recommendations on a book would you?

Thanks.
shoehorn
#9
Jan29-09, 07:55 AM
P: 448
Scheme is, to be frank, a pretty strange suggestion for a first language. A few American universities used to use it as an introductory language but it has largely been dropped in favour of Python. Moreover, apart from some limited use as a scripting language for Gimp, I can't think of any examples of where Scheme has seen real-world adoption.

For what it's worth, my suggestion would be Python.
signerror
#10
Jan29-09, 09:49 PM
P: 223
Scheme is, to be frank, a pretty strange suggestion for a first language.
Tell that to the CS faculty at MIT, who've been teaching intro courses with it for the past 30 years. (6.001 - see the page I linked to earlier)

Universities and Colleges using SICP
signerror
#11
Jan29-09, 09:59 PM
P: 223
I've never even heard of Scheme.
It is a very small academic dialect of Lisp. It has minimal syntax, which makes it very easy to learn, without the usual complications of C-like languages.
cam875
#12
Jan30-09, 08:48 AM
P: 230
I started with python for my first month, got bored of it and moved to C++ and never looked back lol. Its all about how your introduced to C and C++. If you get an amazing book like I did than youll really enjoy it and everything seems to go well. But if your introduced to it poorly than usually it ends up becoming the devil and scaring you away.
rty640
#13
Jan30-09, 12:19 PM
P: 16
Quote Quote by cam875 View Post
I started with python for my first month, got bored of it and moved to C++ and never looked back lol. Its all about how your introduced to C and C++. If you get an amazing book like I did than youll really enjoy it and everything seems to go well. But if your introduced to it poorly than usually it ends up becoming the devil and scaring you away.
Do you remember what book? Thanks.
shoehorn
#14
Jan30-09, 01:16 PM
P: 448
Quote Quote by signerror View Post
Tell that to the CS faculty at MIT, who've been teaching intro courses with it for the past 30 years. (6.001 - see the page I linked to earlier)

Universities and Colleges using SICP
Which was a famously muddled and not-at-all missed course. That scheme course was dropped a number of years ago in favour of a new one based on Python.
MaxManus
#15
Jan30-09, 01:31 PM
P: 297
Here is a Python book:
http://folk.uio.no/hpl/INF1100/INF1100-ebook-Aug08.pdf
The source code for the examples:
http://www.ifi.uio.no/~inf1100/book-examples.zip
Solutions to some of the exercises:
http://www.ifi.uio.no/~inf1100/live-...mming/?C=M;O=D
These are not orginized, but their names are the same as in PDF file(Ctrl-f), the top three are not from the book, but from:
http://www.ifi.uio.no/~inf1100/ODE_project.pdf

Some more solutions:
http://www.ifi.uio.no/~inf1100/solut...ercises_08.pdf

The book is used in an introduction to programming for science students in Oslo, Norway
mgb_phys
#16
Jan30-09, 02:02 PM
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
P: 8,953
Learning scheme as an intro to programming isn't (IMHO) a good idea.
Yes it's an interesting language with an elegant syntax without all the real world baggage of C++ or Java - but it's like Tolkien inventing elvish to study language, great if you are a grad student in language design but we don't teach kindergarteners anglo-saxon first before English.

I would say the best languages to learn from are Python/Ruby (see http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=284748 for links to books etc)
I would also recommend reading this book (http://www.amazon.com/Code-Language-...3345643&sr=8-1) although it's written in a non-technical manner it's an excellent introduction to what happens inside a computer.
rty640
#17
Jan30-09, 04:25 PM
P: 16
Thank you all so much!


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