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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2004 8:37 am 
What is a good way to go about learning a programming language? I hear that C++ is the best language to learn. Any other languages that are important? Any tips on starting out, or materials (besides a compiler :P) I should get before I starT?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2004 9:00 am 
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I'd recommend something easier first, perhaps a few days of JavaScript to get used to variables, functions, methods etc. I started with PHP which is loosely typed, meaning variable type is not explicit. C++ and its like give you complete control of the memory, so you can run into problems straight away. Here's a few links of good stuff for C/C++:

http://www.mingw.org The best compiler available, OK MS's produces smaller exe's but if you learn the GNU stuff then you can use any platform (You can even build windows apps from Linux with GCC)

http://www.programmershelp.co.uk/c++tutorials.php some tutorials.

http://www.cppreference.com/ Reference
http://www.phim.unibe.ch/comp_doc/c_manual/C/cref.html Refernce
http://www.sourcepole.com/sources/progr ... pqref.html Reference
http://h30097.www3.hp.com/docs/base_doc ... /TITLE.HTM Reference

http://jrfonseca.dyndns.org/projects/gnu-win32/ Stuff for Mingw

http://www.austinlinks.com/CPlusPlus/ More Links.

It's a while since I used those links, but I think they're decent enough to get you started.
If you want I can look through and find some more, win32 API, wxWidgets, Java? I've hundreds of good programming links.

EDIT: http://www.bloodshed.net/devcpp.html best IDE for mingw
http://visual-mingw.sourceforge.net/ 2nd best IDE for mingw


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 5:09 am 
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Java would be a good starting language, and C++ is an efficient language - which gives you enough control to really gum things up if/when you miss a detail.

PC Programming for fun, C++ might be a good tool - remember to make some notes about what you are trying to do, try to put common functions into callable routines to avoid the sprawl of redundant coding. Planning makes coding easier.

In the next 4-5 years there will be a shortage of Mainframe COBOL Programmers - the market will be seeking those with PC/Network/Mainframe skills and some Business understanding(Accounting would be good for Mainframe work). We suffer from a myth that Mainframes are "Dinosaurs" about to become extinct - but the truth is that they will not go away for applications with very large customer bases (Govt. [IRS/Medicare/Medicaid/USDA Crop Insurance}, Insurance [especially Medical, where complexity will increase also], Banking [Mortgages and loans, Checking/plastic, and E-Commerce to some extent], and large scale retailing [Target collects store data on servers, which send the data to the Corp. Mainframes, for example]). I have seen attempts to move these applications to servers, they fail for various reasons (Stability, Integrity, Channel capacity, ease of maintenance and testing, ease of growth) and ended up back on the Mainframes. These are the industrys that Mainframes were built for in the first place, in the later 1950's - many other applications are best on servers (email, POS, shared management functions planning/tracking/specifying/Budgets/workstation control). COBOL training may be difficult to find (in the USA, not in India), and even in an extreme outsourcing scenario, testing function is least likely to be outsourced (we want to assure that the outsourced code is working as it should and will be hesitant to simply trust outsourced developers to do final acceptance testing for us).

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2004 8:56 pm 
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i don't know about other parts of the US, but here in wisconsin we don't have a shortage of COBOL programmers...especially in mainframe work. my dad was a mainframe application analyst and programmer with about 15 years of experience under his belt. he got "downsized" so that entry-level university students could take his position...so this topic is kind of near-and-dear to me. :evil:

they still teach COBOL in a couple 4-year universities here in the UW system, and almost every tech/2-year campus has COBOL programming. my school currently doesn't offer it, and now we're actually phasing C++ out and replacing it with Java as the entry-level coding classwork. however, i help with the 2 large tech schools near us with programming structure and they do COBOL and Pascal pretty hard-up. :?

as far as i can tell the schools have no intention of stopping COBOL programming, which means there's still a whole slew of 16-or-so-year olds and up that will be prime pickings for the schools to pick up. not to mention the thousands of displaced workers going back to school for computer classes...

my opinion: there'll be plenty of COBOL programmers...it's the applications and their complexity which is limiting the positions offered. it also doesn't help that people don't ever want to move anymore...

anyways...rambled on too much on this. :roll:

-Roach


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 6:06 am 
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Good point, Roach, about unwillingness to move impacting careers...many companies today want to use 'temporary workers' for projects. Although the companies might pay, say $50/hr - the pay that the worker gets may be 1/2 that, then have sizable deductions for Health Insurance, etc. So the companies will pay about $100000/yr for a contractor making $50000-$60000 (I am amazed at the reluctance to hire, but the 'savings' is because of a 'sue-happy' mentality - so having the worker 'pre-fired' is apparently worth quite a premium).

But if one is willing to relocate, the opportunities are plentiful (I know - I have a house in Mpls. area and am working ion Des Moines).

The other problem with Programming as a career is that, while entry-level rates are good - many places do not want to hire anyone with more than 5-7 years (or less than 2-3) experience because they will only pay for that much experience - so older workers actually may need to take pay cuts to keep working (and that sucks, but not as bad as being unemployed - my rate has dropped over 33% in the last 5 years).

Web development might command higher rates, but the contracts are shorter as well...

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:30 am 
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i totally hear what you're saying about jobs being scarce for people w/ 6+ years of experience....and then companies turn around and say "oh, we won't even look at an entry-level applicant unless they have 2-3 years of experience". i mean honestly, wtf is that? :x

how are the incoming technology professionals supposed to get experience, when jobs posted as "entry level" require experience for application? :?

i would probably be considered a person that wouldn't mind having a position that didn't pay a "considerable" salary...as long as i knew i had some sort of security of the position being there. the major players in technology seemed to have rubbed off on a lot of the little guys over the last few years, and even now they do a lot of the same practices like you mentioned.

it's a crazy crazy mixed up world...

-Roach


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:41 am 
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I am aware that many of these very practices may cost these companies in 'Maintenance', which might have been made easier or avoided (eg; external option tables vs hard-coded, or control files that verify logical integrity of runs vs needing to re-run it all later due to perhaps a scheduling problem).

To get that entry-level job try this (be sincere, although it might be illegal for a company to accept such an offer).

Offer to work for them for two weeks - FREE, so that they can see what a good worker you are... :lol: it shows confidence, but not conceit...

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 5:57 pm 
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Well dudes, I have to say you are absolutely right. No one wants to hire you on permanently. And it's not just with programmers: It's with System Admins, Systems Engineers, Network Engineers, etc. Any of the skilled IT Pros - we are all having trouble.

I have been looking hard for a job since June. I was laid off after 3 months with a company that I moved 400 miles to take a job with. They said "lack of work" was the reason. Right.

Bottom line - there is no job security any more so you'd better be prepared to move wherever you need to go to make a living.

Sad but true.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 5:04 am 
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EvLwMn wrote:
Well dudes, I have to say you are absolutely right. No one wants to hire you on permanently. And it's not just with programmers: It's with System Admins, Systems Engineers, Network Engineers, etc. Any of the skilled IT Pros - we are all having trouble.

I have been looking hard for a job since June. I was laid off after 3 months with a company that I moved 400 miles to take a job with. They said "lack of work" was the reason. Right.

Bottom line - there is no job security any more so you'd better be prepared to move wherever you need to go to make a living.

Sad but true.


would there be work as a type of consultant? if co's don't want full time, is there a way to do contractural work on site, or remotely as needed? perhaps IT planning/ implementation consulting for co's?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 7:44 am 
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Len444: This is the current trend now where I work and live. The consulting arena is booming, especially for large multi-nationals. I've seen the local economy gone from boom to bust here. Plus I personally have gone down the consulting route after my seperation from my pervious company.

EvLwMn: I feel your pain so to speak. It took me 5 months to land a consulting gig with a large bank, even then it was a short-term assignment. I happen to agree 100% with your comments regarding job security.

HP69: IMHO I would recommend Visual Basic which is transferable across buisness industries (ie. Banking, retail, etc.), as well as across disciplines.

Good Luck to all

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