Which is the best language to learn? 
Author Message
 Which is the best language to learn?

I would like to learn how to program! However, I'm not sure the best
way to start. These are some questions that I have concerning my new
career.

1. I have been involved with computers for several years, working with
an assortment of packages from search engines like Folio Views 3.1 to
building home pages with HTML. I realize that this does not much, but
I have to start somewhere. So the question is this: If you were
starting to learn how to program, would you start off learning C++,
Visual Basic or what?. I am also very interested in learning to
program for the Internet. Will these help or should I s{*filter*}these and
try to learn Peal first?

2. Is programing something that can be learned from a book, or is this
something I will need to take classes in for a couple of years.

3. What are some good resources for learning this programing -
Community Colleges?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Michael A. Ward




Sat, 06 Jun 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which is the best language to learn?

Quote:

>I would like to learn how to program! However, I'm not sure the best
>way to start. These are some questions that I have concerning my new
>career.

>1. I have been involved with computers for several years, working with
>an assortment of packages from search engines like Folio Views 3.1 to
>building home pages with HTML. I realize that this does not much, but
>I have to start somewhere. So the question is this: If you were
>starting to learn how to program, would you start off learning C++,
>Visual Basic or what?. I am also very interested in learning to
>program for the Internet. Will these help or should I s{*filter*}these and
>try to learn Peal first?

BASIC is a good place to learn the basics of programming since most DOS
comes with a free copy. Afterwards you can move onto things that are more
of your interests -- C if you are into a portable and powerful language;
CGI/PERL, JAVA, VRML, etc., if you are into more WWW/Internet related
programming language; VisualBASIC  if you are into more quick and fast
programming language; powerbasic if you are into serious but painless path
through DOS and Windows programming; Pascal/Delphi if you are somewhere
between portability, power, and ease of programming; Assembly if you want
absolutely the least portabililty, lots of research, and lots of power.
Your choice. Oh, and expect some "I beg to differ" opinions regarding my
programming language list above, and take them seriously since the above
list is only my side of view of the programming languages.

Quote:
>2. Is programing something that can be learned from a book, or is this
>something I will need to take classes in for a couple of years.

Taking a class is a good start. But I'd do some pre-programming to get an
idea of what it's like first before taking a class -- it always helps to
get the mind set in "programming mode" before taking such a class since
most teachers are already in the mode the first time they take a roll
call. :P There's a lot more after a calss, however -- most classes do not
go in very far as to advanced programming (like graphics, memory
manipulation/management, etc. Learn those from books and... right where
you are in the midst of the net-ocean (where you net-surf)

Quote:
>3. What are some good resources for learning this programing -
>Community Colleges?

Like I've mentioned above, it's a good place to start. But expect a lot
more afterwards.

-Mark



Sat, 06 Jun 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which is the best language to learn?

Quote:

> I would like to learn how to program! However, I'm not sure the best
> way to start. These are some questions that I have concerning my new
> career.

The first thing is to ask yourself why you want to learn and what you
want to learn.

IF you wish to learn Windows Programming THEN
        GOTO Delphi
ELSEIF you wish to learn programming for accounting THEN
        GOTO Vbdos
ELSEIF you wish to make games with lots of graphics THEN
        GOTO PowerBasic
ELSEIF you want to do very low level stuff THEN
        GOTO C and C++
        GOSUB Insanity
ENDIF

and remember good programmers NEVER use GOTO

If you want to make a living from this then you have to GOTO school
because that bit of paper is quite useful !

Phil



Sun, 07 Jun 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which is the best language to learn?

:       GOTO Delphi

:       GOTO Vbdos

:       GOTO PowerBasic

:       GOTO C and C++

: and remember good programmers NEVER use GOTO

<ROFL> Are you a good programmer?  Do it again and show us pseudocode
that doesn't use GOTO.  ;)

: If you want to make a living from this then you have to GOTO school
: because that bit of paper is quite useful !

Useful, but not all important.  I never went to college and I got my first
programming job out of high school, have contracted for IBM, and now
work for myself.  I'm only 28.  I like to think that I'm not the only one.

Carl Gundel, author of Liberty BASIC
--
------------------------------------------------------------------

author of Liberty BASIC,  "EASY Windows and OS/2 programming!"
http://world.std.com/~carlg/basic.html



Sun, 07 Jun 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which is the best language to learn?

Quote:

> <ROFL> Are you a good programmer?  Do it again and show us pseudocode
> that doesn't use GOTO.  ;)

I musn't be - I use GOTO's quite a bit.  Actually is was a shot at the
thread "Goto's are killing me" which I found quite interesting.

As for being a good programmer.. Well I write programmes that work and
sell enough to make a good living.  I don't "know it all" by any means.
I learn just enough about a language to make it work for me.

It has been proved to me time and time again that "This can be done in
a better way".  So it is a continual learning process.

After using PDS for many years Tom Werry has just pointed out to me
that COMMON SHARED variables use their own 64K memory block.  I didn't
know this !! I still can't find it in the manuals but it must be there.

Made me feel like a complete idiot....

Quote:
> : If you want to make a living from this then you have to GOTO school
> : because that bit of paper is quite useful !

> Useful, but not all important.  I never went to college and I got my first
> programming job out of high school, have contracted for IBM, and now
> work for myself.  I'm only 28.  I like to think that I'm not the only one.

> Carl Gundel, author of Liberty BASIC

I am a bit older than you (Umm quite a bit actually) (Er even my son
is older than you) Just a minute while I sit down .

I also do not have a degree.  But I am not looking for a job.  When I
started programming there was no degree available.

However the industry is now not so "New" To advance or start in this
industry then it is a MUST HAVE.  I have met newly qualified programmers
from university and to be honest they don't know a lot about the real
world.  But to an employer that bit of paper is the only guide that
they have.

Most government or public service jobs here in Australia require a
degree.  If you can actually write programmes or not does not come in
to it. No degree - No interview.

For fun I am doing a course right now which will eventually lead to
a degree.  OK I don't NEED it and I will finish it just in time to
retire.  Problem is the teachers don't seem to know a lot either.  I
spend a lot of time arguing with them but all in good fun.

Good Programmer ? Ask me to write a game (Or Liberty Basic) and I
would fall flat on my face.  Ask me to write a database programme and
I would have it up and running and rock solid in no time at all.

What then is the definition of "Good Programmer" I wonder.

BTW what does ROFL mean ?  IMHO you got me (g) !

Phil



Sun, 07 Jun 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which is the best language to learn?

: >
: > <ROFL> Are you a good programmer?  Do it again and show us pseudocode
: > that doesn't use GOTO.  ;)

: I musn't be - I use GOTO's quite a bit.  Actually is was a shot at the
: thread "Goto's are killing me" which I found quite interesting.

I hope you understand I'm laughing with you, not at you, Phil.  :)

: As for being a good programmer.. Well I write programmes that work and
: sell enough to make a good living.  I don't "know it all" by any means.
: I learn just enough about a language to make it work for me.

: It has been proved to me time and time again that "This can be done in
: a better way".  So it is a continual learning process.

: After using PDS for many years Tom Werry has just pointed out to me
: that COMMON SHARED variables use their own 64K memory block.  I didn't
: know this !! I still can't find it in the manuals but it must be there.

: Made me feel like a complete idiot....

: > work for myself.  I'm only 28.  I like to think that I'm not the only one.

: I am a bit older than you (Umm quite a bit actually) (Er even my son
: is older than you) Just a minute while I sit down .
: I also do not have a degree.  But I am not looking for a job.  When I
: started programming there was no degree available.
: However the industry is now not so "New" To advance or start in this
: industry then it is a MUST HAVE.  I have met newly qualified programmers
: from university and to be honest they don't know a lot about the real
: world.  But to an employer that bit of paper is the only guide that
: they have.

That'a one great thing about working for one's self.  No interview
is required (but lots of grit and hard work).  It's also very satisfying
because to stay afloat it's not an option to do the best one can do.  I
enjoy surveying a job well done.

: Good Programmer ? Ask me to write a game (Or Liberty Basic) and I
: would fall flat on my face.  Ask me to write a database programme and
: I would have it up and running and rock solid in no time at all.

: What then is the definition of "Good Programmer" I wonder.

You must be good at what you do then.  I guess that makes you a good
programmer.

: BTW what does ROFL mean ?  IMHO you got me (g) !

Rolling On the Floor Laughing!

Happy Holidays,

Carl
--
------------------------------------------------------------------

author of Liberty BASIC,  "EASY Windows and OS/2 programming!"
http://world.std.com/~carlg/basic.html



Mon, 08 Jun 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which is the best language to learn?

Quote:
>Useful, but not all important.  I never went to college and I got my first
>programming job out of high school, have contracted for IBM, and now
>work for myself.  I'm only 28.  I like to think that I'm not the only one.
>Carl Gundel, author of Liberty BASIC

Uereka!!! This is always good to hear; I am in pretty much the same
boat; absorbing every bit of info I can get my hands on without the
benefit (curse?) of a 3 or 4 year College degree.

I am always glad to be reminded that it is possible to succeed
in such a demanding field ( to me at least) without formal training.

Tony



Mon, 08 Jun 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which is the best language to learn?

Quote:

> I hope you understand I'm laughing with you, not at you, Phil.  :)

Of course..
        (But I don't mind either way !)

Quote:

> That'a one great thing about working for one's self.  No interview
> is required (but lots of grit and hard work).  It's also very satisfying
> because to stay afloat it's not an option to do the best one can do.  I
> enjoy surveying a job well done.

I used to work for myself but I found that I had to be Programmer,
Salesman, marketing manager and general dog's body - All at the
same time.  

Sometimes I made lots of money and sometimes none at all !  Now I
work for a small company that sells my software world wide.  All I
have to do is give them something to sell.  I think over a year I
don't make as much money these days (40K(Au) + expenses) but at least I
I know that the pay cheque is in the bank every week.

To all the Basic people out there.  Yes YOU can make a good living
out of programming it just takes hard work and a bit of luck (Or do
we make our own luck ?)

Seems I have to start writing for Windows in '96.  I have looked at
what is available.  VB is just not quite good enough so lookout
Delphi here I come....

Hang on while I ROFL

Happy Xmas to all

Phil



Mon, 08 Jun 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which is the best language to learn?

writes:

Quote:
>>Useful, but not all important.  I never went to college and I got my
first
>>programming job out of high school, have contracted for IBM, and now
>>work for myself.  I'm only 28.  I like to think that I'm not the only
one.

>>Carl Gundel, author of Liberty BASIC

>Uereka!!! This is always good to hear; I am in pretty much the same
>boat; absorbing every bit of info I can get my hands on without the
>benefit (curse?) of a 3 or 4 year College degree.

It's true that college degree is not the major factor, but keep in mind
that it was easier to get into programming field without college degree
because... there wasn't any college degree in computers way back. I figure
Carl got out of high school when he was 18 or so, thus he probably
graduated high school around 1985. That's back when 386 computers (1985),
Macintosh (1984), and WordPerfect (1984) were just coming out, back when
everything was still written for the original 8088 computers. Back then,
although I really wasn't around to say anything much, I think it's safe to
say that college degree didn't carry much weight (or not as much as it
does now). I'm just pointing out the different situation Carl was in and
people nowadays are in. But it's true that college degree isn't everything
-- still, every bit, including college degree, helps....

-Mark

Footnote: The dates for the release dates fo 386 computers, Macintosh, and
WordPerfect were obtained from "Star Trek The Next Generation: 20th
Century Computers and how they worked" by Jennifer Flynn, Copyright
(c)1993 by Alpha Books. (Yeah, yeah yeah... I'm a trekkie... so sue me (my
address is... just kidding!); it's not like I bought the book myself or
anything, alright? It was my birthday present.)



Mon, 08 Jun 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which is the best language to learn?
Quote:

>>Useful, but not all important.  I never went to college and I got my first
>>programming job out of high school, have contracted for IBM, and now
>>work for myself.  I'm only 28.  I like to think that I'm not the only one.

>>Carl Gundel, author of Liberty BASIC



Quote:

>Uereka!!! This is always good to hear; I am in pretty much the same
>boat; absorbing every bit of info I can get my hands on without the
>benefit (curse?) of a 3 or 4 year College degree.

>I am always glad to be reminded that it is possible to succeed
>in such a demanding field ( to me at least) without formal training.

>Tony

Just don't let that lull you too much.  While I am also in the same boat, I am
finding that if I had finished that degree I would probably be a lot more
comfortable than I am now.  I may land a pretty nice contract deal within the
next few weeks, but even then it's hard to say what will happen in 6 months.

Places like Microsoft will not touch you with a ten foot pole unless
a:  You have a degree (and probably a pretty good GPA--They've got pick of the
litter)
or
b:  You are some kind of C++ prodigy.

If you can come up with a killer software idea, and support yourself during
development, do that.  Otherwise, you may have to do consulting.  I can tell
you from personal experience that, without a BSCS, a traditional job search
for anything computer related (development, software test, etc.) is, shall we
say, unpleasant.

So anyway, I'm way off-topic here..  I better go see if I can scrounge up some
tuition money.. :)

Rick
Zodiac Computer Services

 -Roderick (Rick) M. Riensche    |   o  o      |

 -Zodiac Computer Services       | Have a day. |
"Captain, I must protest!  I am NOT a Merry Man!"--Lt. Worf



Tue, 09 Jun 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which is the best language to learn?

: Just don't let that lull you too much.  While I am also in the same boat, I am
: finding that if I had finished that degree I would probably be a lot more
: comfortable than I am now.  I may land a pretty nice contract deal within the
: next few weeks, but even then it's hard to say what will happen in 6 months.

On the other hand, a close friend of mine has the degree, worked at DEC
for six years writing parts of VMS and the kernel for their X-Windows
terminals (he quit before they laid anyone off the payroll), and now he
cannot find satisfactory work.

The degree is no guarantee.  Three or four years after you get the
bachelors degree, you'll feel you need a masters (or you'll decide to
pursue something not related to computers).  Etc.  The grass is always
greener...   :)

Carl
--
------------------------------------------------------------------

author of Liberty BASIC,  "EASY Windows and OS/2 programming!"
http://world.std.com/~carlg/basic.html



Tue, 09 Jun 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which is the best language to learn?


Quote:
>It's true that college degree is not the major factor, but keep in mind
>that it was easier to get into programming field without college degree
>because... there wasn't any college degree in computers way back. I figure
>Carl got out of high school when he was 18 or so, thus he probably
>graduated high school around 1985. That's back when 386 computers (1985),
>Macintosh (1984), and WordPerfect (1984) were just coming out, back when
>everything was still written for the original 8088 computers. Back then,
>although I really wasn't around to say anything much, I think it's safe to
>say that college degree didn't carry much weight (or not as much as it
>does now). I'm just pointing out the different situation Carl was in and
>people nowadays are in. But it's true that college degree isn't everything
>-- still, every bit, including college degree, helps....

College degrees in the computer field have been around at least since the
1960s, and in the 1980s you could expect to be paid around $10,000 US more per
year starting out WITH a degree than WITHOUT.

Some types of jobs were (and are) just not gettable without a degree.  You
don't see high school dropouts getting paid $60,000 US per year to start a job
unless they have done something spectacular, and most high school dropouts are
anything but spectacular (and I dropped out in the 9th grade, so I have some
idea whereof I speak).

I have two college degrees.  At my point in life they don't mean much.  It
wouldn't mean much if I had a Ph.D., except I could apply for some research or
teaching positions I'm presently not "qualified" for.

There is a great deal of prejudice both in the corporate world and academia
toward "wild programmers" who don't have degrees and the formal background
that ensures they have read most of the jargon-words at least once.

Entrepeneurial programming is the only field where you are assured of an equal
opportunity for development and success.

And note that not once did I make qualitative comparisons of degreed versus
non-degreed programmers.

--
  ++   ++   "Well Samwise: What do you think of the elves now?"


  ++   ++------------------------------------------------------



Tue, 09 Jun 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which is the best language to learn?

Quote:
>Useful, but not all important.  I never went to college and I got my first
>programming job out of high school, have contracted for IBM, and now
>work for myself.  I'm only 28.  I like to think that I'm not the only one.
>Carl Gundel, author of Liberty BASIC

Uereka!!! This is always good to hear; I am in pretty much the same
boat; absorbing every bit of info I can get my hands on without the
benefit (curse?) of a 3 or 4 year College degree.

I am always glad to be reminded that it is possible to succeed
in such a demanding field ( to me at least) without formal training.

Tony

********************************
"Never laugh at live dragons..."
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
*********************************



Sun, 22 Nov 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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