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Can I be a programmer?

P: n/a
Daz
Hi everyone,

Sorry for the unusual topic title, I'll bet a few of you are probably a
bit confused as to what I might be writing about.

It's a general question, but as non of my friends are programmers, I
can't find an answer to my question without the help of you.

I have been programming for about 6 months now, and whilst I am loving
it, I am concerned that I spend a lot of time searching the
documentation for the syntax to a lot of common functions and keywords,
that I have used at least a dozen times before.

My question is, does anyone else have to keep looking up the syntax for
particular functions and commands, as there really is so much to learn,
or is it just me?

It's a bit of a moral dilhema, as I am very concerned with regards as
to whether or not I will ever become the programmer I would like to be,
with regards to writing good code, before a deadline.

I would appreciate any input here.

Thanks in advance

Daz

Jun 17 '06 #1
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18 Replies


P: n/a
Daz wrote:
Hi everyone,

Sorry for the unusual topic title, I'll bet a few of you are probably a
bit confused as to what I might be writing about.

It's a general question, but as non of my friends are programmers, I
can't find an answer to my question without the help of you.

I have been programming for about 6 months now, and whilst I am loving
it, I am concerned that I spend a lot of time searching the
documentation for the syntax to a lot of common functions and keywords,
that I have used at least a dozen times before.

Only 6 months? I've been programming for over 20 years and I still look
stuff up! Why clutter your brain with the contents of a book when you
can remember the index :)

--
Ian Collins.
Jun 17 '06 #2

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Daz

Ian Collins wrote:
Only 6 months? I've been programming for over 20 years and I still look
stuff up! Why clutter your brain with the contents of a book when you
can remember the index :)


Thanks Ian, much appreciated and much needed.

I was starting to doubt my own abilities. I seem to be learning at
(what I consider to be) a colossal rate, but I was getting paranoid
that I may not have what it takes to be a good programmer.

Jun 17 '06 #3

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Daz wrote:

Ian Collins wrote:
Only 6 months? I've been programming for over 20 years and I still look
stuff up! Why clutter your brain with the contents of a book when you
can remember the index :)


Thanks Ian, much appreciated and much needed.

I was starting to doubt my own abilities. I seem to be learning at (what I
consider to be) a colossal rate, but I was getting paranoid that I may not
have what it takes to be a good programmer.


You might want to start putting as much as possible into re-usable
functions, so you don't need to look up the _same_ functions, over and
over again.

Programs should duplicate as little as possible. That is the heart of all
design and architecture.

--
Phlip
Jun 17 '06 #4

P: n/a
In article <11**********************@f6g2000cwb.googlegroups. com>,
"Daz" <cu********@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi everyone,

Sorry for the unusual topic title, I'll bet a few of you are probably a
bit confused as to what I might be writing about.

It's a general question, but as non of my friends are programmers, I
can't find an answer to my question without the help of you.

I have been programming for about 6 months now, and whilst I am loving
it, I am concerned that I spend a lot of time searching the
documentation for the syntax to a lot of common functions and keywords,
that I have used at least a dozen times before.

My question is, does anyone else have to keep looking up the syntax for
particular functions and commands, as there really is so much to learn,
or is it just me?

It's a bit of a moral dilhema, as I am very concerned with regards as
to whether or not I will ever become the programmer I would like to be,
with regards to writing good code, before a deadline.


Don't worry about it. I was the same way until I started doing it 8
hours a day, 5 days per week. Then the function signatures just started
sticking in my head. I still have to look up the ones I don't use very
often. :-)
Jun 17 '06 #5

P: n/a
Daz

Phlip wrote:
You might want to start putting as much as possible into re-usable
functions, so you don't need to look up the _same_ functions, over and
over again.


That's one thing I try to do, but struggle with as I can never seem to
write code that actually 'can' be used elsewhere, but then again,
saying that, I have only written about 50 or so small cammand line
programs that perform relatively simple functions, so I will no doubt
start learning that as time goes by. I was hoping that it wasn't just
me, and I didn't have the mental capacity to absorb information as most
others might. I was being paranoid and needed the boost.

Much obliged. :)

Jun 17 '06 #6

P: n/a
Daz

Daniel T. wrote:
Don't worry about it. I was the same way until I started doing it 8
hours a day, 5 days per week. Then the function signatures just started
sticking in my head. I still have to look up the ones I don't use very
often. :-)


It's nice to also get positive feedback, even when a question may be
way off-topic.

The ability to communicate with a whole wealth of kind people, with
lots of knowledge certainly has it's good points. And who says Usenet
is pants? :oD

Thanks everyone.

Daz

Jun 17 '06 #7

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On 17 Jun 2006 15:17:09 -0700, "Daz" <cu********@gmail.com> wrote:

Phlip wrote:
You might want to start putting as much as possible into re-usable
functions, so you don't need to look up the _same_ functions, over and
over again.


That's one thing I try to do, but struggle with as I can never seem to
write code that actually 'can' be used elsewhere, but then again,
saying that, I have only written about 50 or so small cammand line
programs that perform relatively simple functions, so I will no doubt
start learning that as time goes by. I was hoping that it wasn't just
me, and I didn't have the mental capacity to absorb information as most
others might. I was being paranoid and needed the boost.

Much obliged. :)


I'm sure you'll do fine, and will be a good programmer if you keep
approaching things in the way that you are currently. However, if it
turns out that you are unstoppably bad, don't worry about it too much.
It doesn't stop most software engineers!
Jun 17 '06 #8

P: n/a
> I have been programming for about 6 months now, and whilst I am loving
it, I am concerned that I spend a lot of time searching the
documentation for the syntax to a lot of common functions and keywords,
that I have used at least a dozen times before.


There's good news and bad news.

The good news is that as you become a better programmer, you'll soon
leave behind the need to look up common functions and keywords.

The bad news is that as you become a better programmer, you'll pick up
the need to look up algorithms and concepts and everything else. :)

Two more things. One, I just finished a Master's in computer science.
Despite that, I still have to look things up three or four times a day
at the minimum. So far today, I've hit the books at least twenty-five
times.

Two, don't be in awe of any programmer--whether academic degree or
famous name or a long and respected career or anything else. We were
all once newbies, and the absolute best programmers never lose their
newbie status. The best programmers are always chasing something new
that they don't understand, they're always caught up in the sheer joy
of "oh, I didn't know you could do that".

Welcome to programming. You're among friends. :)

Jun 17 '06 #9

P: n/a
Daz wrote:

Phlip wrote:
You might want to start putting as much as possible into re-usable
functions, so you don't need to look up the _same_ functions, over and
over again.
That's one thing I try to do, but struggle with as I can never seem to
write code that actually 'can' be used elsewhere, but then again, saying
that, I have only written about 50 or so small cammand line programs that
perform relatively simple functions, so I will no doubt start learning
that as time goes by. I was hoping that it wasn't just me, and I didn't
have the mental capacity to absorb information as most others might.


You don't need to write re-usable functions. Pro-active re-use is a mirage.

You need to make sure your programs don't have duplicated lines, so
programs can make the best use of their narrow set of application-specific
functions.
I was
being paranoid and needed the boost.


Oh, dear. www.boost.org ! ;-)

--
Phlip
Jun 17 '06 #10

P: n/a
"Daz" <cu********@gmail.com> wrote:
My question is, does anyone else have to keep looking up the syntax for
particular functions and commands, as there really is so much to learn,
or is it just me?


Absolutely. Once I know a package, I'll remember that there's a function
that does X, and if I'm lucky I'll even remember the exact name, but it's
pretty rare that I'll remember details like how many arguments it takes,
what type they are, what order they go in, etc. Having a well organized
reference quick at hand is essential.

At one point, I was writing C++, Perl, Python, and Tcl for the same
project. It got the the point where I sometimes had to look up how to
write a for loop in the particular language I was using at the moment.
Jun 17 '06 #11

P: n/a
Ian Collins wrote:
Daz wrote:
Hi everyone,

Sorry for the unusual topic title, I'll bet a few of you are probably a
bit confused as to what I might be writing about.

It's a general question, but as non of my friends are programmers, I
can't find an answer to my question without the help of you.

I have been programming for about 6 months now, and whilst I am loving
it, I am concerned that I spend a lot of time searching the
documentation for the syntax to a lot of common functions and keywords,
that I have used at least a dozen times before.

Only 6 months? I've been programming for over 20 years and I still look
stuff up! Why clutter your brain with the contents of a book when you
can remember the index :)


Yep. Ditto. Whenever someone asks me something and I can't answer off
the top of my head, the answer is "I don't remember, but I can look that
up".
Jun 18 '06 #12

P: n/a
Daz posted:

I have been programming for about 6 months now, and whilst I am loving
it, I am concerned that I spend a lot of time searching the
documentation for the syntax to a lot of common functions and keywords,
that I have used at least a dozen times before.

Most humans don't have photographic memory.

Nonetheless, with constant re-use, we can become very familiar.

Take a simple function like "memcpy"; I know off-by-heart that the first
parameter is the address of the destination, and that the second
parameter is the address of the source, therefore I don't need to think
twice when using "memcpy".

However, as any real expert in any field will tell you, "expertism" isn't
about how much you can remember, but about how much you understand and
comprehend.

Notwithstanding that, there are some things which you just have to commit
to memory because they're used so regularly and so often.

When I'm writing code, and need to seek reference as to how exactly to
use a particular function, I hold down the "Windows key" and press "R",
then I type in "www.google.com", and then I search for the name of the
function. Within a minute, I've all the info I need... and then I'm
straight back to coding.

My question is, does anyone else have to keep looking up the syntax for
particular functions and commands, as there really is so much to learn,
or is it just me?

Well, without any intention of boasting, I've pretty much have no problem
with the C++ core language. However, I'd regularly look up a function or
class of the C++ standard library.
--

Frederick Gotham
Jun 18 '06 #13

P: n/a
On 2006-06-18, Frederick Gotham <fg*******@SPAM.com> wrote:
Daz posted:

I have been programming for about 6 months now, and whilst I am loving
it, I am concerned that I spend a lot of time searching the
documentation for the syntax to a lot of common functions and keywords,
that I have used at least a dozen times before.


Most humans don't have photographic memory.

Nonetheless, with constant re-use, we can become very familiar.

Take a simple function like "memcpy"; I know off-by-heart that the first
parameter is the address of the destination, and that the second
parameter is the address of the source, therefore I don't need to think
twice when using "memcpy".

However, as any real expert in any field will tell you, "expertism" isn't
about how much you can remember, but about how much you understand and
comprehend.

Notwithstanding that, there are some things which you just have to commit
to memory because they're used so regularly and so often.

When I'm writing code, and need to seek reference as to how exactly to
use a particular function, I hold down the "Windows key" and press "R",
then I type in "www.google.com", and then I search for the name of the
function. Within a minute, I've all the info I need... and then I'm
straight back to coding.


Hmm. I press Ctrl+Alt+F2 to switch to another terminal, log in (if I'm not
already), and type "man [function]".

I do that several times per hour when I'm actually writing code. So the OP
is certainly not alone in not being God. :-)
--
Andrew Poelstra < http://www.wpsoftware.net/blog >
To email me, use "apoelstra" at the above address.
I know that area of town like the back of my head.
Jun 18 '06 #14

P: n/a
Daz wrote:
I have been programming for about 6 months now, and whilst I am loving
it, I am concerned that I spend a lot of time searching the
documentation for the syntax to a lot of common functions and keywords,
that I have used at least a dozen times before.

My question is, does anyone else have to keep looking up the syntax for
particular functions and commands, as there really is so much to learn,
or is it just me?

It's a bit of a moral dilhema, as I am very concerned with regards as
to whether or not I will ever become the programmer I would like to be,
with regards to writing good code, before a deadline.

i am using "GNU/LINUX" or call it LIGNUX, my invention :-) from last 1
year, still i pick up Fedora Bible to learn something sometimes.

I am programming from last 10 months but still i need to pick up the
book i read frequently but i think other reviewers have explained it in
this way. i will explain in other way. if you like programming, then go
to -- http://paulgraham.com/love.html -- & see why you and i can
become excellent *technical* personalities, no matter how much IQ
eachof us have. the author of that article is a well-known programmer
who sold his software for $40 million to YAHOO.

make sure you read it, at least once. I am providing you this link
because he is not popular like Arnold, Isaac Newton. he is/was just
another guy like us.

thanks

-- arnuld

Jun 18 '06 #15

P: n/a
"Daz" <cu********@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:11**********************@f6g2000cwb.googlegro ups.com...
Hi everyone,

Sorry for the unusual topic title, I'll bet a few of you are probably a
bit confused as to what I might be writing about.

It's a general question, but as non of my friends are programmers, I
can't find an answer to my question without the help of you.

I have been programming for about 6 months now, and whilst I am loving
it, I am concerned that I spend a lot of time searching the
documentation for the syntax to a lot of common functions and keywords,
that I have used at least a dozen times before.

My question is, does anyone else have to keep looking up the syntax for
particular functions and commands, as there really is so much to learn,
or is it just me?

It's a bit of a moral dilhema, as I am very concerned with regards as
to whether or not I will ever become the programmer I would like to be,
with regards to writing good code, before a deadline.

I would appreciate any input here.

Thanks in advance

Daz


One day a visitor stopped by to chat. As the visitor departed, the need
arose to get Einstein's telephone number. The visitor was surprised to see
Einstein walk over to the telephone book and look up his own telephone
number. When asked why he did not know his own number, he responded, "My
dear boy, I have so many things to remember. I never bother to memorize
anything that I can easily look up."
Jun 19 '06 #16

P: n/a
"Jim Langston" writes:
One day a visitor stopped by to chat. As the visitor departed, the need
arose to get Einstein's telephone number. The visitor was surprised to see
Einstein walk over to the telephone book and look up his own telephone
number. When asked why he did not know his own number, he responded, "My
dear boy, I have so many things to remember. I never bother to memorize
anything that I can easily look up."


If Einstein had been just a little brighter he would have looked in the
center of the dial on his telephone. The number was right there in front of
him.
Jun 19 '06 #17

P: n/a
design patterns! don't forget that!

Jun 20 '06 #18

P: n/a
Daz
Wow! So much support on a single page! :)

Thanks everyone.

Jun 22 '06 #19

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