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  #16  
Old 06-19-14, 02:16 PM
PurpleTulip PurpleTulip is offline
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

Hi! I'm new here. I came upon this thread and just wanted to point out some things that helped me in my first year of college as a Computer Engineering major.

Background:
I learned Java in high school in my AP Computer Science class. I had a horrible teacher and the book confused me a ton. We always had homework but I never understood anything so I just gave up.

In my first of year of college, I started out as a Electrical Engineering major. Second semester, we took a class on C++ and I LOVED IT. I switched my major to Computer Engineering.

Myself, as a visual learner, find physical copies of items better than reading off of the computer. Like someone else said, take some quizzes and see what kind of learning style best fits you. Accommodate to that style.

Visual Learner and using Textbooks:
-We used "Programming: Principles and Practice Using C++" by Bjarne Stroustrup (creator of the language...he was a prof as my school!) Good textbook, probably better ones out there. Second edition was just released! (nerd hype)

-HIGHLIGHTING!!! big thing here...I highlight important words in paragraphs. It helps a lot when go back to refresh your memory. Helps with overwhelming concepts too.

-Do NOT continue reading if you don't understand a topic. If the text isn't helping after a couple of re-reads, PRACTICE PROGRAMMING! Try out what you understand and make "mistakes"...."if i do X i think Y will happen. how is X related to Y? oh now i understand how they're related!" keep playing around.

-If that still don't work, look up on YouTube for a video on that particular topic. Once you understand it, continue on :)

-Once you have finished a topic, summarize it! I know, ew, but if you REALLY enjoy the subject (I did) you will enjoy "seeing" (words) what you have learned :) PLUS, it's in your diction ( let's be real here...this is YOUR book, so go ahead and write informally) this is a great self-esteem booster!!

-While reading, you'll come across sections of sample code and paragraphs that explain it...like I said, if you don't understand it, do NOT go on! This is sometimes immensely frustrating, but besides writing code, you should be decent in reading code as well. you should be able to explain to someone else what that piece of code is doing after some appropriate scrutinization.

-Draw on the sample code! :) it's like a puzzle or pattern...you begin to see the logic behind the language. This is was very fun for me (visual learner!!!)

-write in your textbook...another self-esteem booster because you get to see the condition of the textbook fail...in other words, YOU DID SOME WORK ON IT!!! yay! you're seeing yourself conquer a book full of technical words! woooohoo!!

-put tabs on some important charts or topics

-There are some great YouTube series out there for learning to program in Java and C++...I haven't checked other languages, but I'm sure you can find some out there.

-Don't give up! :) Join a forum and ask for help! Internet is the greatest resource. There are plenty of people wiling to help out newbies.

& sorry for such a long post...definitely procrastinating on my homework right now!
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  #17  
Old 06-19-14, 02:34 PM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

Skip to the exercises section.

Once you have a programming exercise in mind, go back to the text to figure out how to do the exercise. You'll have an idea in your mind of what you want to do, so looking for specific keywords and constructs and thus won't be bored.

Code as much as you can until you get stuck, then go back to the book.

I recommend Internet and World Wide Web How To Program 5th Edition by Harvey and Paul Deitel and PHP and mySQL Web Development 4th Edition by Luke Welling and Laura Thomson.
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  #18  
Old 06-19-14, 02:43 PM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abi View Post
Skip to the exercises section.

I was going to say that in a much lengthier, less clear way. In fact ..

I am a sucky reader. I am GREAT at math,.. but making change, ... or 24* 3 divided by 2 in my head: NOPE!! And go f* yourself!!! That's not math, that's arithmetic. You need math, not arithmetic, for programming.

DO NOT READ A BOOK. Copy from a book, experiment, play,.. I would expect most people who would be good at reading the book to be mediocre at best when it comes to coding. Coding is easy and the languages are changing and becoming more ADHD friendly all the time.
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  #19  
Old 06-19-14, 04:16 PM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

my advice to you, is to avoid ebooks,instead , it will better for you to read quick guides,or quick tutorials,and right after you finish reading the quick tutorial,start develop a real and serious app,and each time you stuck,do quick search on google on the specific problem\information you need in order to complete the task,this project\app may take you month or more to accomplish ,but in the end you will feel satisfied,this what i did,and i still doing every time(i developed some web apps in asp.net with c# and other programming languages as well) i think it is the best practice for you and for many others with adhd . (and when you feel hyperactive,leave your chair and smoke cigarette )
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  #20  
Old 06-19-14, 04:19 PM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

I did okay in programming courses, but I don't think I could've learned the basics by reading a book. Like most here, even though I am expressly *not* a visual learner, I *do* learn much better by doing.

If you have the basics under your belt (you know the concepts of iteration, data structures, logical elements of programming, etc.), then skipping to the exercise section and playing around with stuff in context is great. That's how I was able to work with the handful of scripting languages I needed for data analysis in one of my jobs. MATLAB has a great help/documentation section which allows you to play and figure out what works, etc., for example. Visual Basic: you'll probably have to invest in a good book 'cause the help section that comes with *sucks*.

If you don't know/ aren't comfortable with the basic data structures and the concepts that carry from language to language, I'm wondering if it might be better to start off with a Logo/Corel (yes I'm totally dating myself here ) type sandbox environment where you can get a feel for the concepts in a simplified environment.

Apparently http://www.alice.org/index.php is a pretty good one. It came recommended to me cuz I really don't know object oriented design at *all*, though I haven't played with it yet.
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  #21  
Old 06-19-14, 05:44 PM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

Hope this isn't too irrelevant, but I had to read this thread because I was thinking about whether I could learn something like CAD and 3D graphics with my "right brained" brain (yes, I know, that left-right brain concept is up for debate these days but it still makes a nice metaphor).

Backstory - after about 4 years attempting and giving up, and 1 year of becoming super-determined to plow my way through, I have finally learned my way around - to a point - in GIMP (open-source Photoshop-like program). I was frustrated because my old Windows 95 computer had some photo-altering software I'd had a lot of fun with. But this whole "layers" thing in PS or GIMP - I got the concept but putting it into practice? Headdesk! Bad words! Lather, rinse, repeat!

How I finally broke through: I am so bad with the spoken word and so impatient - I am a book/printed material person - that I don't have much patience to watch very many videos of any sort online (except maybe cute animals) but I forced myself to go on YouTube and find some GIMP tutes - short ones! - and then I'd flip between those and GIMP until I got the concept. Once I started having "aha!" moments, I was able to get more out of the GIMP manual myself. I can now do a basic variety of techniques in GIMP, and am poised to add new ones to my repertoire. And build on that towards the 3D stuff eventually.

Even so, there are still times I get flummoxed and stuck in the middle of a project, can't remember how to get it to do that cool thing I did so effortlessly in a prior session, etc. Sometimes I have to drop back 20 yards and punt. But it's steadily coming along, and I'm really glad I persevered. That's my main point, persevere. Keep looking, as others have said, for the right learning method or tools that will get you over the hump. Good luck!
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  #22  
Old 06-20-14, 12:41 AM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

I know a decent number of programming languages and I find online videos, tutorials, sample code, project oriented classes and personal projects much more helpful than books. I don't think I've ever learned a programming language from a textbook and every time I tried I failed for the reasons you described above. You could start by watching an introductory video and following an online tutorial and then work on your own projects. Creating things that you actually need is often very motivating. If you don't know how to implement something you need for your project, just google it and try to understand the code, debug it and modify it to work the way you want it to work. Some development environments come with sample projects that help you learn the basics, like "hello world". Also, development environments that have auto complete tend to be really helpful (e.g. Eclipse really helped me learn Java).

Last edited by Jenn1202; 06-20-14 at 01:03 AM..
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  #23  
Old 06-27-14, 08:49 AM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

Perhaps learning through tutorials might help? It might take more time, but tutorials always do the trick for me because it's always learning in steps. And you get to see results right away.
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  #24  
Old 06-27-14, 11:09 PM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

I wonder how these coding bootcamps that are popping up (at least in the US) are at teaching really solid skills. Looking at this list makes them seem very attractive: www[.]skilledup[.]com/learn/programming/the-ultimate-guide-to-coding-bootcamps-the-most-selective-bootcamps/
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Old 07-14-14, 08:46 AM
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Re: Difficulty learning computer programming...

I can teach myself several things with textbooks, but I am hopeless when it comes to learning how to use a software (the textbooks are often the most dull thing you can ever read) and I'll chuck it aside, and start to click the buttons here and there, and then got it to work, somehow. @_@ Till date I gained a reputation for knowing how to use a handful of software required for work, and get them to work better than the 'official method' printed in the textbook.
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