Torturing newbies WAS Re: Financial Programming 
Author Message
 Torturing newbies WAS Re: Financial Programming

Please read this posting from comp.programming

Quote:


>:>Hi Pros
>:>
>:>I am learning to program in C++. I work at a brokerage firm.  I am not
>:>trying to be a professional programmer but I am very much interested in
>:>using programming to value {*filter*} options and other derivative products.  
>:>Also, I am trying to incorporate it with Access database and Visual Basic
>:>prograaming.  As you can tell I have a lot on the plate and trying to
>:>learn everything at the same time.  Is there a good website I can consult
>:>or even a good online course that I can take.  Any and all advice would be
>:>greatly appreciated.  Thanks.  A

>: C++ is definately not the best language to start (and VB either): C++
>: has huge amount of (mostly silly and messy) details that will keep you
>: away from learning the core concepts of CS, and VB (as all basic
>: dialects) somehow encourages bad programming habits.

>: If you are serious about it, I suggest you forget C++ for a while (a
>: few months) and take the time to read this book: "The Schemer's Guide"
>: (it's very unexpensive and you can buy at www.schemers.com).  It's an
>: _excelent_ introduction to CS that will teach how to program using
>: Sheme as a sample language (it's a dialect from Lisp, and it's a very
>: simple yet powerful language.).
>< snip >

>No.  Learn a "real" computer language.  If you definitely have
>decided that you don't want to program at a professional level,
>my advice would be to learn Visual Basic, or, if you want a
>little more challenge, Java.

I don't know why, but it's extremely comon to find people that think
that learnng how to program is the same thing as learning the syntax
of some specific language.  Even worse, the suggested languages are
usually the less fitted as a first language (C++, VB, etc...).

How do you convince these guys? O:-)

I started with c and Vb (I really wonder why I didn't give up ...),
and I wish I met Scheme earlier, it would have saved me many
headaches... :-(

The original poster works for a brokerage firm.  I don't know what
kind of programming he will be doing, but I think that any Lisp
dialect would be a great tool to code complex decision making
algorithms (stuff like choosing the best investment option to maximize
benefits...).  But no, I'm sure the por guy will buy a "Learn C++ in
24 hours" (this book exists, I'm not kidding) and spend days trying to
implement trivial algorithms, and worst of all: will no real knowledge
about what's going on... :-(

//-----------------------------------------------
//      Fernando Rodriguez Romero
//
//      frr at mindless dot com
//------------------------------------------------



Wed, 10 Apr 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Torturing newbies WAS Re: Financial Programming

Quote:

>I don't know why, but it's extremely comon to find people that think
>that learnng how to program is the same thing as learning the syntax
>of some specific language.

I don't believe that they really think that. Instead, I believe that
they have no concept at all of programming outside of the context of
"writing code in a particular language." Ideas like abstraction and
decomposition are entirely beyond their experience and perhaps even
beyond their understanding.

Quote:
>How do you convince these guys?

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. In this case I don't
think it's impossible to do so, but it's certainly very difficult.
However, I'm not sure that there's much point. Many, if not most, good
programmers (in the sense of understanding the art of program design
as opposed to coding in a particular language) started out with a
less-than-ideal language (fortran, in my case). Yet they were able to
overcome the handicap and eventually see the light, so to speak. On
the other hand, a lot of people who are taught principles like those
espoused in SICP from the very beginning never really "get it." The
ability to think abstractly doesn't seem to be an easy skill to
learn--you either have it or you don't.

-Steve



Wed, 10 Apr 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Torturing newbies WAS Re: Financial Programming

Steve

Quote:
> >I don't know why, but it's extremely comon to find people that think
> >that learnng how to program is the same thing as learning the syntax
> >of some specific language.

> I don't believe that they really think that. Instead, I believe that
> they have no concept at all of programming outside of the context of
> "writing code in a particular language." Ideas like abstraction and
> decomposition are entirely beyond their experience and perhaps even
> beyond their understanding.

Having come down that route, can I be a little defensive please.
Eventually when spaghetti code has given you enough headaches,
you do start to think about modularisation.
When a global variable named i has caused you a 24 hour
stint for a delivery, you do start to think about containment/
objects/whatever you want to call it (our rule was 'no globals',
in a Pascal and C environment)
When you have written enough 'similar' modules you do start
to think about 'taking the common bits and just looking at the
different ones'. You might call it abstraction, we viewed it
as saving work.

Admittedly, we were a bunch of hardware designers turned
software eng's. The end result is possibly similar, but a
good dose of CS would have helped and saved a lot of
frustration. The perspective then was that its easier to
make softies out of hardware engineers when the beast
you are dealing with is a fairly complex mess of micro-
processors, instrumentation etc. We never found a
software engineer that could grasp it in a reasonable time.

Just another perspective.

DaveP



Thu, 11 Apr 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 3 post ] 

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