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  #1  
Old 02-16-14, 03:54 PM
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Unhappy Difficulty learning computer programming...

Hi all,


As a trained Graphic Designer, I don't feel satisfied with creating logos and print documents, and I find designing layouts for websites and in particular, apps, much more exciting. I'm really keen to get involved in creating apps for mobile devices, and in particular, games. So I thought it would be a great idea to start learning how to program.

Unfortunately, I'm having a really hard time learning. I find it so difficult to read. I think that's my main issue. I understand the English language very well, so I mean I know what the words say, but my brain just refuses to read everything in front of me!

Here's what happens. I'm reading a web page or book (prefer books as there's less distraction although the web-based articles/courses are lot easier to understand) on the basics of a particular programming language, I start reading the first few words and instantly my mind wants to skip through it extremely quick, words turn into nonsense, and my mind starts thinking of other things uncontrollably. I'll also start fidgeting and moving around in my chair, and a general tense feeling. I realise I'm doing it quickly and either try focusing again, or repeat the sentence or paragraph. But with learning how to program, it's not just a case of reading something that happened, understanding it, then dealing with those thoughts as you please, but actually remembering every detail of something that you have read to allow you to use those details and create/edit something.

Sometimes I am unaware that I am not focusing properly while reading and assume I've just learned something from a paragraph of text, but when it comes to having to actually use some sort of detail from that paragraph, I cannot remember what it was, because I wasn't concentrating.

So I guess concentration is the problem, I just can't do it. It's too difficult, but its destroying me as I'm so eager to learn these things. Programming, as well as many other things. I've never ever managed to read a whole book from start to finish, even as a child I used to lie that I had read a book and just went silent when I was asked questions about it.

Can anyone offer me any sort of advice here please? I am so determined to be able to read and understand programming languages as well as other stuff with comfort and ease, but not sure whether I should give up entirely and stick to things that don't involve this sort of learning. Which would be a shame as I'm really interested in programming for mobile devices.

Just to let you know, I've not been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD by a doctor, I'm in the middle of being referred (NHS in UK), but consultants have already told me that they don't think I have ADD and just tell me I have OCD and anxiety problems. Although my symptoms are identical to ADD-Inattentive type.

Thank you so much in advance!

Last edited by Pixelite; 02-16-14 at 04:02 PM.. Reason: Edit formatting
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  #2  
Old 02-16-14, 07:03 PM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

I might be able to shed some light on this as a graphic designer with ADHD who is woefully inept at programming.

I personally love designing for print. I love its history, I love how it looks, and I love how ink looks and smells and how good paper feels. So, I can't say I find designing for the screen more exciting. The same rules of design apply, of course.

I abhor web design. I wish I didn't, because there's good money in it. I learned HTML and CSS in school, and I've even taught these, along with Flash. I've concluded, however, that to make websites today which people really want (as opposed to a crappy late-nineties era site that your uncle might be satisfied with for his one-man plumbing operation), you really must excel at coding to the point where it comes to you naturally. You need to be able to write very clean and functional standards-based code I mean HTML5 and CSS (up to 3 now, I believe) and you really should feel comfortable with JavaScript, or at least JQuery. I have tried over and over through the years to master the left brain aspects of coding websites and integrating that into my natural right brain thinking for design. I can't do it. This is just my experience.

Are you good with math? I mean, can you grasp math intuitively and learn it without too much mental pain? I can't. I'm convinced that this is a good indicator. I actually have a friend who is a great designer and coder. He makes great sites and designs cool games. I have found that most of us are one or the other, with a fortunate few being able to use both of these cognitive areas to do stuff like this. I wish you luck, though!
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  #3  
Old 02-17-14, 09:11 AM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

I worked for a while as a coder/analyst doing web stuff for the financial sector.

what i would say is that... for me.... reading a book about programming is about the WORST way to go about learning to code.... just about everyone I know who codes well learnt on the hoof so to speak... learning by doing... starting with coding simple stuff then moving up.

what also marks the good coder out from the mediocre is that they constantly want to write good code... and are constantly on the lookout for quick hacks, new ideas and different ways of doing things. This means they're always wondering how stuff works... and are good at analysing code... they learn by having a problem in front of them or by taking stuff apart.... very geeky.

Try heading over to the Bootstrap pages... they have a bunch of CSS and HTML5 widgety things to pull apart and play with....

kilted
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Old 02-17-14, 09:37 AM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

In additions to what the others said, try do a community college course or 6month course at a local college... there are also a few php meetups and whatnot. This achieves two things... it schools you on the lastest methods... also, it shows you the larger picture of how these little lines fit in with the wider code world.

Both of these things are key to making good code and getting work doing so. You'll feel lost at first and if the course is an old clunky one it's a waste of time...

At home, make a big flowchart on the wall ( actually two )

1 is all the different tequniques... you've heard "hello world" that then the next then the next etc. etc.

2 is how all the pieces/standards/components tie in together...

Then all you need is a little project to capture your passion and your away!

For instance, my android music app has this thing called ratings... they are not stored on the song file ...

So, i'm learning some new stuff, by pulling the database out and retagging files on the pc with any new ratings every time my phone is plugged in. Yours might be a little windows that you tick when you feed the cat and if you don't it emails you etc. etc.

Good luck!
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Old 02-18-14, 02:04 AM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

I don't think you need to read, either in a book or online, to learn programming. There are tons of free online classes that have short videos to teach different languages. Try coursera.org, edx.org, udacity.com, codeacademy.com (I think they might charge, but not very much), developers.google.com/edu, among others.

This link might have some others: http://education-portal.com/articles...es_Online.html

Also, depending on where you live, there could be some Meetup groups for people who are beginning coders.
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Old 02-18-14, 04:27 AM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

I've been programming for decades but do the same thing with books. Skimming turns to gibberish and stuff.

What works better for me is to have a project in mind and then look up things as I need them. Either in a book or better on Google. I do better at figuring out what I need at the moment than trying to absorb everything to be used at a later date, if that makes sense.

Or, look at the table of contents and read something that looks interesting. Jumping around in the book.

It also can help for me to go through step by step tutorials.
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Old 02-22-14, 06:33 AM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

Urg, dont learn to program by reading!
Ive been coding since I was 13 and im dyslexic. I originally tried getting books and learnt nill in like 2 weeks. The terms used meant nothing to me.
I then fell into it a few months later. There was a program you wrote scripts for to play games for you, generating real money in the process. I started by editing scripts, just changing values of stuff and observing the effect. After a few days I realised I understood all the code, I just couldn't write it bc of my **** memory. So I was taking code from various places and fitting it together to make it work with edits.
I was picking up sooo much without even realising it. I wasnt bogging myself down with details, or terms or names of stuff. I didn't even know what a variable was, but when I went back to a bit of reading on programming, I was suddenly able to make the link from the books what it was talking about where I previously could not.
Im 22 now in my 5th and last year at uni doing cs . Programming can be learnt very hands on, why not do it that way?
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Old 03-24-14, 01:53 AM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

10 things you need to become a good coder

problems to solve and the internet
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Old 03-24-14, 11:31 AM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

I find a good way, for me, is to look on YouTube for tutorials on the particular programming language you are trying to learn. There are ones out there which are in a "type this line of code, and this will happen." format. Personally, those don't work for me.

The best ones I've found will teach you how to think through the programming process and how to use the code reference for the particular language you are learning to find what you need.
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Old 04-16-14, 11:31 PM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

Sorry no time to read the whole thread currently.
Just wanted to throw a tip at you:
Ruby and REBOL are among the easiest languages to start with, but they will leave you disappointed when it times to satisfy your urge to build GUI applications.

Instead of Ruby and REBOL, aim to learn Xojo (formerly RealBASIC).
It's really simple and yet powerful, and teaches you the fundamental OOP concepts you will need.
Then after mastering Xojo (and by mastering I mean coding a dozen complete real applications) you can move on to Xcode (Mac OS X) or VB.NET, and later any other language you ever dreamed of mastering.
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Old 04-16-14, 11:33 PM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

And I forgot to say, to learn programming, ditch the books, pick the language reference, and go build the real applications you always wanted.
You won't learn HOW TO program inside any books.
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Old 04-17-14, 02:45 AM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

I started learning Ruby on Rails because it seemed ADD friendly. I really regret stopping. Three years later and it is still useful. Don't believe those lists that say x language is hot, but x language is obsolete because they are often wrong.
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Old 04-21-14, 05:42 AM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

Might want to figure out whether you are a visual learner, lingual learner, aural learner, etc. You can take tests online to figure out your best learning type. If you can figure out an analogue to the language (maybe you visualize it as Legos that all go together, or parts of a story, or parts of a car), it may help to put it together. But learning from a book is perhaps the most difficult way to approach it! (I think, anyway.)

It helps to learn in a classroom setting (or at least a cooperative, helpful classroom) as well as meet-up groups where people will be jazzed about cool new things.

Congrats on your instinct to learn, though! Way to go!
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Old 04-21-14, 11:53 AM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

Well, I am an EE student, so I have to know languages such as C/C++, Java, and MATLAB backwards and forwards. I also happen to love programming so much that I could program code in a closet locked for 24 hours straight without getting bored. It wouldn't matter if I was coding on paper or an electronic device, I love it that much. It's an acquired love, for me, and I am talented at it.

It takes a lot more commitment than you actually think. I think you understand the frustration it takes to become proficient, but not the commitment overall, including time. It takes 10 years to become a master programmer. If you want to become a master programmer, read this page from the Google director of research. http://norvig.com/21-days.html

I would personally get some really good *textbooks* from amazon.com, and a Lynda.com subscription (all the programming videos you will need to get started up-teamtreehouse.com is for more advanced users, by the way), and just plug away for hours on end, for days at a time. That is what it takes.

C/C++ Books

Illustrating C

C++ How to Program: Late Objects Version

C++ Templates: The Complete Guide

A First Book of ANSI C, Fourth Edition

The C++ Programming Language


The Standard C Library

Problem Solving with C++ (9th Edition)

Lynda.com Programming Material


C/C++ Essential Training


Java Essential Training


Javascript for Web Designers


Ruby on Rails 4 Essential Training


etc., etc.


Good luck! (You need to get started--you have the resources!!! )











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Old 05-18-14, 05:47 PM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kilted_scotsman View Post
I worked for a while as a coder/analyst doing web stuff for the financial sector.

what i would say is that... for me.... reading a book about programming is about the WORST way to go about learning to code.... just about everyone I know who codes well learnt on the hoof so to speak... learning by doing... starting with coding simple stuff then moving up.

what also marks the good coder out from the mediocre is that they constantly want to write good code... and are constantly on the lookout for quick hacks, new ideas and different ways of doing things. This means they're always wondering how stuff works... and are good at analysing code... they learn by having a problem in front of them or by taking stuff apart.... very geeky.

Try heading over to the Bootstrap pages... they have a bunch of CSS and HTML5 widgety things to pull apart and play with....

kilted
Kilted,

Where are these 'bootstrap' pages that you are referring to? I am a new member (both of my sons have adhd and I found this site while researching ways to help them with their issues).

Are the bootstrap pages on this site, or another one that is geared towards programming/teaching?

Any help you would provide is greatly appreciated.
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