Am I wasting my time? 
Author Message
 Am I wasting my time?

I'm currently studying COBOL as a first language to enter the world of
progamming.  My view is that it's a good first language, but my first
programming job is more likely to be in the  VB arena.
Do you get my drift?  Learn an easy language and then move on to more
contemporary languages once the principles have been learnt.
Am I making sense or have I lost it?  Either way, it will only be a few
months now before I start the job hunting.
Please give me some sort of reassurance, it must be out there somewhere!
However, am I completely wrong?

Graham Williams



Thu, 01 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?
I'm currently studying COBOL as a first language to enter the world of
progamming.  My view is that it's a good first language, but my first
programming job is more likely to be in the  VB arena.
Do you get my drift?  Learn an easy language and then move on to more
contemporary languages once the principles have been learnt.
Am I making sense or have I lost it?  Either way, it will only be a few
months now before I start the job hunting.
Please give me some sort of reassurance, it must be out there somewhere!
However, am I completely wrong?


Thu, 01 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?

: I'm currently studying COBOL as a first language to enter the world of
: progamming.  My view is that it's a good first language, but my first
: programming job is more likely to be in the  VB arena.
: Do you get my drift?  Learn an easy language and then move on to more
: contemporary languages once the principles have been learnt.

In what way is a Basic derivitive 'more contemporary' ?
Basic is from the 60s.  VB is a proprietry language that is
rwritten with each new version and is stuck on one platform
(unless you consider all the fragmented versions of MS Windows
as several platforms).

--
/* --------------------------------------------------------------

Azonic Associates
-------------------------------------------------------------- */



Thu, 01 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?
If it is your goal to study the language-de-jour, that is the only job
you will ever have.

We had a thread recently where a programmer found a COBOL program in
his shop that was used every day and that had not been revised in
twenty-three years!

Further, COBOL is not an 'easy' language - none of them are. But COBOL
is a good tool to teach programming in that it more closely resembles
English. Those folk not comfortable with symbol manipulation can grasp
the concepts of programming more easily than if the school used, say,
(God forbid!) Java.

It's OK to learn lots of languages; your programming language skills
will make you a coder - someone who translates a flow-chart into
machine-sensible source code. If you want to be a professional
programmer or system analyst or programming manager or vice-president
or entrepreneur, take all the mathematics (at least through
differential equations) and business courses you can find.

In sum, don't strain on the nuances of COBOL in your course;
concentrate on the concepts. In the case at hand, COBOL is only a
means, not an end.

Best wishes, and let us know how the course turned out.



Quote:
> I'm currently studying COBOL as a first language to enter the world
of
> progamming.  My view is that it's a good first language, but my
first
> programming job is more likely to be in the  VB arena.
> Do you get my drift?  Learn an easy language and then move on to
more
> contemporary languages once the principles have been learnt.
> Am I making sense or have I lost it?  Either way, it will only be a
few
> months now before I start the job hunting.
> Please give me some sort of reassurance, it must be out there
somewhere!
> However, am I completely wrong?

> Graham Williams



Thu, 01 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?
I too studied COBOL as a first language to enter the job market.  While it
did seem like it was a relatively 'easy' language in school, I have found
that the programs I encounter in the work world are far different from the
ones I worked on in school.   'Real' programs are far more complex and
involved at work,  they routinely incorporate principles that we only
touched on in school, and it takes more than a few months to learn the
nuances of any programming language (imho), let alone to  master that
language.

If you apply at and get hired by a company that uses Cobol for the majority
of it's programming needs,  then you are likely to do your first 'official'
programming in Cobol.  On the other hand,  If the place you work uses little
Cobol and instead uses VB, VC++, C, or some other language then it would
seem that you would be more likely to program in a language besides Cobol.

I believe that the decision as to what you want to do as far as programming
is mostly up to you at this point.  There are places that use Cobol and many
of them will continue to use Cobol for quite some time.  Also, there are
places that don't use it and have no plans to use it.  From what I have
seen, Cobol is still a vital language, and you may find it more challenging
to program in than you think.  If you are perhaps worried that Cobol will
not be stimulating enough to hold your interest, I would urge you to
reconsider your opinion.

Sincerely .... Cheezer

Quote:

>I'm currently studying COBOL as a first language to enter the world of
>progamming.  My view is that it's a good first language, but my first
>programming job is more likely to be in the  VB arena.
>Do you get my drift?  Learn an easy language and then move on to more
>contemporary languages once the principles have been learnt.
>Am I making sense or have I lost it?  Either way, it will only be a few
>months now before I start the job hunting.
>Please give me some sort of reassurance, it must be out there somewhere!
>However, am I completely wrong?

>Graham Williams


>I'm currently studying COBOL as a first language to enter the world of
>progamming.  My view is that it's a good first language, but my first
>programming job is more likely to be in the  VB arena.
>Do you get my drift?  Learn an easy language and then move on to more
>contemporary languages once the principles have been learnt.
>Am I making sense or have I lost it?  Either way, it will only be a few
>months now before I start the job hunting.
>Please give me some sort of reassurance, it must be out there somewhere!
>However, am I completely wrong?



Fri, 02 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?
I too studied COBOL as a first language to enter the job market.  While it
did seem like it was a relatively 'easy' language in school, I have found
that the programs I encounter in the work world are far different from the
ones I worked on in school.   'Real' programs are far more complex and
involved at work,  they routinely incorporate principles that we only
touched on in school, and it takes more than a few months to learn the
nuances of any programming language (imho), let alone to  master that
language.

If you apply at and get hired by a company that uses Cobol for the majority
of it's programming needs,  then you are likely to do your first 'official'
programming in Cobol.  On the other hand,  If the place you work uses little
Cobol and instead uses VB, VC++, C, or some other language then it would
seem that you would be more likely to program in a language besides Cobol.

I believe that the decision as to what you want to do as far as programming
is mostly up to you at this point.  There are places that use Cobol and many
of them will continue to use Cobol for quite some time.  Also, there are
places that don't use it and have no plans to use it.  From what I have
seen, Cobol is still a vital language, and you may find it more challenging
to program in than you think.  If you are perhaps worried that Cobol will
not be stimulating enough to hold your interest, I would urge you to
reconsider your opinion.

Sincerely .... Cheezer

Quote:

>I'm currently studying COBOL as a first language to enter the world of
>progamming.  My view is that it's a good first language, but my first
>programming job is more likely to be in the  VB arena.
>Do you get my drift?  Learn an easy language and then move on to more
>contemporary languages once the principles have been learnt.
>Am I making sense or have I lost it?  Either way, it will only be a few
>months now before I start the job hunting.
>Please give me some sort of reassurance, it must be out there somewhere!
>However, am I completely wrong?

>Graham Williams


>I'm currently studying COBOL as a first language to enter the world of
>progamming.  My view is that it's a good first language, but my first
>programming job is more likely to be in the  VB arena.
>Do you get my drift?  Learn an easy language and then move on to more
>contemporary languages once the principles have been learnt.
>Am I making sense or have I lost it?  Either way, it will only be a few
>months now before I start the job hunting.
>Please give me some sort of reassurance, it must be out there somewhere!
>However, am I completely wrong?



Fri, 02 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?
I too studied COBOL as a first language to enter the job market.  While it
did seem like it was a relatively 'easy' language in school, I have found
that the programs I encounter in the work world are far different from the
ones I worked on in school.   'Real' programs are far more complex and
involved at work,  they routinely incorporate principles that we only
touched on in school, and it takes more than a few months to learn the
nuances of any programming language (imho), let alone to  master that
language.

If you apply at and get hired by a company that uses Cobol for the majority
of it's programming needs,  then you are likely to do your first 'official'
programming in Cobol.  On the other hand,  If the place you work uses little
Cobol and instead uses VB, VC++, C, or some other language then it would
seem that you would be more likely to program in a language besides Cobol.

I believe that the decision as to what you want to do as far as programming
is mostly up to you at this point.  There are places that use Cobol and many
of them will continue to use Cobol for quite some time.  Also, there are
places that don't use it and have no plans to use it.  From what I have
seen, Cobol is still a vital language, and you may find it more challenging
to program in than you think.  If you are perhaps worried that Cobol will
not be stimulating enough to hold your interest, I would urge you to
reconsider your opinion.

Sincerely .... Cheezer

Quote:

>I'm currently studying COBOL as a first language to enter the world of
>progamming.  My view is that it's a good first language, but my first
>programming job is more likely to be in the  VB arena.
>Do you get my drift?  Learn an easy language and then move on to more
>contemporary languages once the principles have been learnt.
>Am I making sense or have I lost it?  Either way, it will only be a few
>months now before I start the job hunting.
>Please give me some sort of reassurance, it must be out there somewhere!
>However, am I completely wrong?

>Graham Williams


>I'm currently studying COBOL as a first language to enter the world of
>progamming.  My view is that it's a good first language, but my first
>programming job is more likely to be in the  VB arena.
>Do you get my drift?  Learn an easy language and then move on to more
>contemporary languages once the principles have been learnt.
>Am I making sense or have I lost it?  Either way, it will only be a few
>months now before I start the job hunting.
>Please give me some sort of reassurance, it must be out there somewhere!
>However, am I completely wrong?



Fri, 02 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?
I also find it amusing that someone thinks it an advantage to program in an
difficult language.  I always thought the purpose of a compiler was to make
it easier, not to make it harder.  If I want hard, I can just go back to
coding in hex, the way we bootstrapped up to this point.

Mind you, expecting intelligence from a school kid is a bit much,
considering the quality of the teaching.

Quote:


>: I'm currently studying COBOL as a first language to enter the world of
>: progamming.  My view is that it's a good first language, but my first
>: programming job is more likely to be in the  VB arena.
>: Do you get my drift?  Learn an easy language and then move on to more
>: contemporary languages once the principles have been learnt.

>In what way is a Basic derivitive 'more contemporary' ?
>Basic is from the 60s.  VB is a proprietry language that is
>rwritten with each new version and is stuck on one platform
>(unless you consider all the fragmented versions of MS Windows
>as several platforms).

>--
>/* --------------------------------------------------------------

>Azonic Associates
>-------------------------------------------------------------- */



Fri, 02 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?

Quote:

> I'm currently studying COBOL as a first language to enter the world of
> progamming.  My view is that it's a good first language, but my first
> programming job is more likely to be in the  VB arena.
> Do you get my drift?  Learn an easy language and then move on to more
> contemporary languages once the principles have been learnt.

Which is the easy language?  I know VB is harder to maintain, but for the
functions it is designed to be good in, it is pretty easy.  If you have a
good instructor who can teach you why various programming techniques were
developed for COBOL, and how file formats have changed, you will find COBOL
useful.

Or if you want to work with a widely used language which doesn't have lots
of new programmers competing with you, it could be useful.  It might be good
to look at what kind of jobs are offered in your area and decide which kinds
you would enjoy working in.  And a job is more than the tool (language), it
is the business environment.

Of course, what you really need is a variety of skills with experience.  A
career plan (subject to change) is essential.  Keep relatively current with
different tools and be ready for change.

Quote:

> Am I making sense or have I lost it?  Either way, it will only be a few
> months now before I start the job hunting.

Good time to do this research.


Fri, 02 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?

Quote:

>If you want to be a professional
>programmer or system analyst or programming manager or vice-president
>or entrepreneur, take all the mathematics (at least through
>differential equations) and business courses you can find.

While I agree with the general thrust of your post, and my own formal
educational background is in physics and math, and I am for learning
as much as possible; other than algebra and statistics, I have never
had the need for higher math in business programming.  I have used
calculus on some personal projects, but never for business.  In the
sciences, yes.  But business?  I would be interested in hearing what
needs others may have encountered in business programming for math
beyond algebra and statistics?
--

Sun Valley Systems    http://www.sunvaley.com
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."


Fri, 02 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?

Quote:

> While I agree with the general thrust of your post, and my own formal
> educational background is in physics and math, and I am for learning
> as much as possible; other than algebra and statistics, I have never
> had the need for higher math in business programming.  I have used
> calculus on some personal projects, but never for business.  In the
> sciences, yes.  But business?  I would be interested in hearing what
> needs others may have encountered in business programming for math
> beyond algebra and statistics?

My undergraduate degree is in physics, and I have never had any reason to
use any math which I didn't learn in the couple of weeks spent in high
school learning the slide rule.  Unfortunately, when the slide rule died,
so did many of the lessons which it taught students:

1.  With a slide rule, you learn proportion and inverse proportion.  Not
only are these useful for math, this whole method of thinking is useful in
non-math topics (which is why it is use in English portions of SATs (big
is to little as giant is to X).
2.  With a slide rule, you learn the value of significant digits.  You
know that a circle which is about a yard in diameter isn't
3.1415926589793... yards in circumference.  PI=3 to one significant
digit.  This is even a voting issue when people talk about dangers of
cyclamates, etc.
3.  With a slide rule, you learn to estimate your results before you make
them.  You have to know what answers make sense and recognize when the
numbers you get are silly.

How many people know these lessons?



Fri, 02 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?

Quote:


>> While I agree with the general thrust of your post, and my own formal
>> educational background is in physics and math, and I am for learning
>> as much as possible; other than algebra and statistics, I have never
>> had the need for higher math in business programming.  I have used
>> calculus on some personal projects, but never for business.  In the
>> sciences, yes.  But business?  I would be interested in hearing what
>> needs others may have encountered in business programming for math
>> beyond algebra and statistics?

>My undergraduate degree is in physics, and I have never had any reason to
>use any math which I didn't learn in the couple of weeks spent in high
>school learning the slide rule.  Unfortunately, when the slide rule died,
>so did many of the lessons which it taught students:

>1.  With a slide rule, you learn proportion and inverse proportion.  Not
>only are these useful for math, this whole method of thinking is useful in
>non-math topics (which is why it is use in English portions of SATs (big
>is to little as giant is to X).
>2.  With a slide rule, you learn the value of significant digits.  You
>know that a circle which is about a yard in diameter isn't
>3.1415926589793... yards in circumference.  PI=3 to one significant
>digit.  This is even a voting issue when people talk about dangers of
>cyclamates, etc.
>3.  With a slide rule, you learn to estimate your results before you make
>them.  You have to know what answers make sense and recognize when the
>numbers you get are silly.

>How many people know these lessons?

That's a good point.  Exposure to mathematical reasoning and process
might be more important than the math itself, in many cases.  I also
took a slide rule  course, but the single math course that most expanded
my mental horizons was high school geometry, which introduced me to
formal mathematical proof and reasoning, followed by calculus where I
learned where all those formulas for area, volume, acceleration, etc.
came from that I had been memorizing all those years. :-)  I found my
physics courses tougher than the math, because in physics they take
knowledge of the math as a given, merely a tool to solve the *real*
problem.  It's probably Newton's fault; he invented calculus simply
as a tool, an incidental side issue, to study gravity, which was the
*real* problem.  A fact that Leibniz no doubt pondered upon from time
to time. ;-)
--

Sun Valley Systems    http://www.sunvaley.com
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."


Fri, 02 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?
The better profesionals in this field don't consider one language to
be better than another.  The correct answer should always be "it
depends upon what needs to be done".  Your ability to "go with the
flow" of the current business need is a better measure of your
profesionalism.

You will often have un-pleasurable languages thrown at you.  Proving
you can do well in COBOL even though you hold a negative attitude
towards it would look good on your resume.

You might find it interesting what my 'real world' is like;
We don't use VB here because it has limitations we don't like.  We use
PowerBuilder and Oracle Forms for our big desktop applications.  Our
primary database for PowerBuilder is DB2 running on a mainframe, and
we found that if our PowerBuilder programs call COBOL programs on the
mainframe, the desktop applications run faster.  We still hire COBOL
programmers here.

Pete

Quote:

>I'm currently studying COBOL as a first language to enter the world of
>progamming.  My view is that it's a good first language, but my first
>programming job is more likely to be in the  VB arena.
>Do you get my drift?  Learn an easy language and then move on to more
>contemporary languages once the principles have been learnt.
>Am I making sense or have I lost it?  Either way, it will only be a few
>months now before I start the job hunting.
>Please give me some sort of reassurance, it must be out there somewhere!
>However, am I completely wrong?

>Graham Williams



Fri, 02 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?

<snip>

Quote:
> 3.  With a slide rule, you learn to estimate your results before you make
> them.  You have to know what answers make sense and recognize when the
> numbers you get are silly.

> How many people know these lessons?

Pilots who have to use a flight computer (circular slide rule)
learn this lesson visually.  I hadn't used a slide rule for so
long that when I took up flying, it took me a week to remember
how to use one (I have several slip sticks in my old Electronics
class stuff).  Since then, I prefer the circular slide rule
(Flight Computer) to the calculator.

Lastly, my instructor is an ME.  And one of the things he keeps
harping about is the reasonability tests.  I can't tell you how
many errors I've caught while planning a cross-country just
because of recognizing when a number is just plain silly (or, too
good to be true, etc.).

--
Steve Thompson
OSP LLC
330/335-9907 office
330/334-2097 fax

Remove "_" in email address to contact me -- anti-spam measures
in use



Fri, 02 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 Am I wasting my time?
Since my 8 years since high school, I have used calculus 1 time and trig one
or two times.  At work, I have yet to use anything more sophisticated than
algebra which, in my opinion, is a good thing.

Jeff

----------

Quote:

> While I agree with the general thrust of your post, and my own formal
> educational background is in physics and math, and I am for learning
> as much as possible; other than algebra and statistics, I have never
> had the need for higher math in business programming.  I have used
> calculus on some personal projects, but never for business.  In the
> sciences, yes.  But business?  



Fri, 02 Aug 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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