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    The Programming Thread

    This thread might not get a lot of traction, but slow day at work today so here it is: a thread specifically for the computer programmers on our site.

    A bit of history for me:

    Spent 2011 - 2014 studying programming at a college in Ontario, and have been out in the wild since then, primarily using Java, and now a lot of Cerner CCL. I've worked for four different companies in total, two of which were done in an internship program.

    So.. uh.. what do you do? How long have you been doing it? etc

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    Wrote my first code in the late 70s.

    I've made a living at it for about 30 years now. Professionally, Quickbasic, Delphi and C#.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Wrote my first code in the late 70s.

    I've made a living at it for about 30 years now. Professionally, Quickbasic, Delphi and C#.
    What kind of projects are you a part of these days?

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    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
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    I think of myself as a programmer wannabe. I love to write shell scripts.

    I've tried to teach myself programming more than once and get stuck. I'm not sure why--I deal with loops and variables and deciding on the proper balance for commenting code. People tell me that it's about the same, just different syntax, but for some reason it's not the same.

    I'm trying to get into AWS Lambda Development, and that means learning Python.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Brown View Post
    I think of myself as a programmer wannabe. I love to write shell scripts.

    I've tried to teach myself programming more than once and get stuck. I'm not sure why--I deal with loops and variables and deciding on the proper balance for commenting code. People tell me that it's about the same, just different syntax, but for some reason it's not the same.

    I'm trying to get into AWS Lambda Development, and that means learning Python.
    The hard problem is really that you don't know what you don't know. In other words, before you know programming it's really hard to guide yourself through it because you don't have a sense of what's important, what any of it means, or how it all fits together.

    This is why the diploma I took was so helpful. Five semesters of guided learning until the sixth semester, where they simply told us 'build an Android app', 'build an app in ASP.NET'. And by that time, to my surprise, I actually could do those things.

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    the baby-eater
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    Got into web development a few years ago. I program in JavaScript, Python, and PHP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Wrote my first code in the late 70s.

    I've made a living at it for about 30 years now. Professionally, Quickbasic, Delphi and C#.
    What kind of projects are you a part of these days?
    I've spent my entire career in the cabinet industry.

    First, writing software for the industry at large--layout only.

    Then writing custom software for one cabinet outfit--layout, pricing and manufacturing control.

    Now, most custom software. They're using a standard package for the industry that does a decent job on layout and a good job of telling the people what to do. However, it's designed to produce paper reports for craftsmen, it does not do a decent job of the bigger picture. What I'm doing now takes their reports and feeds them to the workers properly (for example, checkoff screens instead of a pen, prints labels if needed etc) and handles the other areas where their system is lacking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    The hard problem is really that you don't know what you don't know. In other words, before you know programming it's really hard to guide yourself through it because you don't have a sense of what's important, what any of it means, or how it all fits together.

    This is why the diploma I took was so helpful. Five semesters of guided learning until the sixth semester, where they simply told us 'build an Android app', 'build an app in ASP.NET'. And by that time, to my surprise, I actually could do those things.
    I disagree on the helpfulness of the diploma. Yes, at first having a guide is a good thing because that first bite is huge. Beyond that, though, I learned little in school. Once you've digested that first huge bite you can jump into new stuff without much. When I decided it was time to jump ship on Delphi I picked up a book on C# and the compiler--then set out to write things. When I hit a roadblock, google time.

    (In the old days there was more need of school as there wasn't google.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    The hard problem is really that you don't know what you don't know. In other words, before you know programming it's really hard to guide yourself through it because you don't have a sense of what's important, what any of it means, or how it all fits together.

    This is why the diploma I took was so helpful. Five semesters of guided learning until the sixth semester, where they simply told us 'build an Android app', 'build an app in ASP.NET'. And by that time, to my surprise, I actually could do those things.
    I disagree on the helpfulness of the diploma. Yes, at first having a guide is a good thing because that first bite is huge. Beyond that, though, I learned little in school. Once you've digested that first huge bite you can jump into new stuff without much. When I decided it was time to jump ship on Delphi I picked up a book on C# and the compiler--then set out to write things. When I hit a roadblock, google time.

    (In the old days there was more need of school as there wasn't google.)
    It's really about getting started.

    I'm a pretty smart guy, and when I was trying to self teach before I went to college I was lost, like literally lost. Now, after the diploma, I'm highly employable. But yes the diploma is just a start, afterward it's extremely easy to self-teach and add to one's skillset.

    I have to say, though, in the diploma I took what we learned was so intensive as well as extensive, that coming out of school my skill-set was head and shoulders above most comp sci and comp eng graduates. We coded, and we coded a lot. After I finished I could easily jump into any given codebase in any given technology and be pretty much up to speed.

    Hard for anyone self-teaching, or coming out of a bootcamp to be able to say that.

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    I dropped out of a graduate program in 2013, then in 2015, did a one year professional Masters in data science, the hot buzzword these days. I've been employed for the last year as a data scientist at a small start-up working in health tech / medical NLP. After I graduated, my buddy offered me a place to stay in San Francisco, and I took it and found work in the Bay Area pretty quick. Although I do some data-sciency stuff, I'm basically a software engineer.

    My software engineering chops probably lag behind my programming chops - that is, building large maintainable software projects wasn't what I was trained to do, but I found out that I really really love programming, and it's sort of been trial by fire for the last year.

    So, professionally right now it's Python. I have a good grip on Java as well, although, hardly use it nowadays, though some of our core tech is written in it so I find myself reading a lot of Java code. Glad I don't have to work with it all the time though, because coding in Python is a sheer joy, and it's much more of a drudge in Java.

    I've dabbled in a lot of things. C, Javascript, Haskell, Scala (currently taking a Coursera sequence on this, it's great, it's free and Martin Odersky teaches it!), a little bit of stuff using front-end technologies i.e. HTML, CSS, d3.js but mostly for creating visualizations. Also R in school, but I find R to be a pain in the ass. Seriously, no built-in hash-map? Three (or is it four?) different class-systems? No thanks, I'd rather use Python/numpy/scipy/pandas

    I think I'm starting to drink the functional programming Kool Aide, and I'm hoping to push towards moving some of our tech towarads Scala/Spark, which it will probably eventually have to if we ever have to scale.

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