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Teach yourself programming in 10 years


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#21 atosniper

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 01:02 AM

Okay, some new questions: How many languages on average does someone employed in the industry know? How many are they expected to know? For example, if you were hiring someone how many languages would you want to see on their resume (assuming they have at least the language that is the 'main' one for the job they apply for)? How do you keep up with the turnover of new languages? I studied Turbo Pascal back in uni, but that isnt used anymore. I have an older friend who was a fortran programmer back in the day, but he is now a maths teacher. He said once he got a bit older and got a family, responsibilities etc he just couldnt keep up with having to learn new languages so he could keep working in that field (he does enjoy teaching too, and is good at it so I'm being a little disingenuous if I suggest he took a teaching job because he couldnt take the computer industry). In ten years time, how will you feel if most of the languages you work with now are obsolete? When and how will you find the time and resources to both study the new languages and get the 10 years worth of experience you suggest with that new language, so you can remain employed?

#22 smakme7757

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 04:34 AM

Okay, some new questions: How many languages on average does someone employed in the industry know? How many are they expected to know? For example, if you were hiring someone how many languages would you want to see on their resume (assuming they have at least the language that is the 'main' one for the job they apply for)?

How do you keep up with the turnover of new languages? I studied Turbo Pascal back in uni, but that isnt used anymore. I have an older friend who was a fortran programmer back in the day, but he is now a maths teacher. He said once he got a bit older and got a family, responsibilities etc he just couldnt keep up with having to learn new languages so he could keep working in that field (he does enjoy teaching too, and is good at it so I'm being a little disingenuous if I suggest he took a teaching job because he couldnt take the computer industry). In ten years time, how will you feel if most of the languages you work with now are obsolete? When and how will you find the time and resources to both study the new languages and get the 10 years worth of experience you suggest with that new language, so you can remain employed?


I would say that if you have 10+ years experience with programming picking up a new language wouldn't be too difficult. I'd imagine that most languages have some similarities with regards to syntax?

#23 kikz

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 08:38 AM

atosniper: depends. 1-2 years experience, I'd think 1 or 2 languages. A few more years and maybe still 1 - 2 languages. Realistically I have a about 6-7 languages on my resume, C#, VB, Java, C++, Javascript, SQL (though SQL is a stretch). Java is at the bottom of my list for experience. It's prob a stretch to say I'm experienced with Java. I've never used it professionally but I KNOW I can do all the basic stuff I can professionally in .NET, in Java. Such as web pages/sites and desktop apps. That's with 12 years experience. I"m sure it happens, perhaps even often, but I personally am yet to work at a place where the language is picked to suit the job. Yep I've read in books that's what you do, but in my experience companies invest time and money in building resusable components and frameworks, as well as building their staff up, in a particular language or set of languages (such as .NET). I've had someone go "we built that app in Java last year, but lets do it in C# this year" IMO knowing a language is more a junior level thing. A big differentiator between junior and senior devs are the senior devs knowledge and understanding of the other stuff, like patterns, OO techniques, good modelling, clean code, writing testable applications etc. That knowledge spans languages. When it comes to hiring new developers, it's about looking at the level of the position you're filling and testing their understanding of the above. That said, plenty of SMART people say you should be learning a new language a year :)

Edited by kikz, 06 August 2011 - 08:41 AM.


#24 harhis23

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 08:55 AM

You don't have to be a "master" programmer to make a program that's useful for everyone. Theoretically, he may be right in his post that learning programming may take so much time. But there is a great difference between becoming a "master" and working for a living. I've never been a master of any programming language but at least I'm earning a decent amount every month from it. Besides, mastery doesn't have to be in "all" fields of programming, it should on a specific department. If it were then there would be a monopoly of programmers in our world today.

#25 Girvo

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 06:18 PM

Give me another 2 years and I've been programming for 10. Professionally, only about 4 years though :( I'm still learning every day, but I already am one of the go-to guys in the office. Problem is, we've such a legacy code-base and our head developer is in love with procedural programming and tables for layout that it's hard to do anything the Right way. *sigh
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#26 kikz

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 06:53 PM

Don't sweat it girvo. I've been programming for 27 years this year and I still suck :p harhis I don't think the awesome programmers are masters or experts in a particular language. People with 10,000 hours up are master programmers in general. At a senior level, software development is about a-bugger-alth about a particular programming language and more about knowledge of patterns and experience eliciting and analysing user requirements and manager the process of developing software. It's about effective communication too. e: haha or what I said in August :p

Edited by kikz, 14 February 2012 - 06:57 PM.


#27 Girvo

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 07:11 PM

Yeah, I agree. Our head programmer though, despite his wealth of experience, hasn't really changed his ways since the mid-90's in terms of design patterns and procedures, and his communication extends to "My way, or fuck off" at times... *sigh. Of course, I could just be bitter that my boss, who is also my client, just changed the entire scope of the project I'm working on. As in, "throw it away and start again". *sighhhhhhh
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#28 kikz

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 08:06 PM

Yeah. Years of time spent doing the same thing doesn't equate to years of experience :)

#29 Girvo

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 08:49 PM

Yeah. Years of time spent doing the same thing doesn't equate to years of experience :)


So so so so true. Also, hurry up and move to south bank for work already.
brains: NO U R RONG N00B VISTA IS 4 N00BZ N LINUX IS HIPPIE SHIT

#30 kikz

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 08:58 PM

Yeah. Years of time spent doing the same thing doesn't equate to years of experience :)


So so so so true. Also, hurry up and move to south bank for work already.

Start March 5!

#31 SledgY

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 12:20 PM

I'd certainly agree entirely with the article, his main contention is more that learning one language is only a small part of being a programmer. To become a true master you learn skills that cross all languages. There are no short cuts. 4-5 years would technically give you the time but in reality much of that time is also dedicated to writing boilerplate code or simply implementing a solution there isn't much time for learning new things while doing that. One of my biggest frustrations with many professional developers who may be "experienced" is that they only learn on the job, becoming a true master means learning, reading and writing software outside of your job. Be it free/open source software or hobby projects, this is where you truly learn to be a master. That said the day I stop learning is the day it's time to find a career and I don't see that happening any time soon. Oh and if there is any decent python programmers in Sydney PM me. Of course when I say decent there will be a challenging technical interview ;)
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