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Are there levels in programming in which enthusiasts can't get to?


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#1 chromebuster

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 09:24 AM

As of this year alone, I've found that one of my technology enthusiasms is programming along with networking and eventually hosting my own web site. I've found that I can understand programming languages when I'm working on them alone rather than in a classroom setting so much better. I feel like in a classroom setting I am somehow barred from the real power of the language due to either limits of the schedule in the class, or just professors who act like a real pain. I've discovered that I can catch onto languages really quickly, and that I learn them so much better when I'm on my own time and my own schedule. I have over 500 books having to do with programming, and as technology updates itself, my electronic library gets updated to reflect the change. Will I learn all I want to learn about Microsoft programming without classes? Are books that present material in a tutorial like fashion good enough for an enthusiast to drive on and then eventually be able to create anything? My professor tells me that books will only take me to a certain level, and then there's one place I'll reach and I'll not be able to go on without the help of a college professor or computer training school. Is he right on that? I mean, I ask since I've heard stories of people being self taught and learning these things all by themselves, so why can't I? is my professor simply living in the dark ages? Thanks for any feedback you have.

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#2 groovicus

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 10:51 AM

There are tons of things one can learn on one's own. There are also a ton of things you will never be able to learn on your own simply because there is not enough time to learn everything. There are also a ton of other things you will never learn because you are not interacting with people that do know what they are doing. You have 500 books; how is that an indication of knowing anything? I have maybe 10, and I don't even use them. Most of what I have learned has come from classroom education, peer review, re-factoring legacy code, in addition to countless hours of individual study. And if I have a question about why something is written one way as opposed to another, I try to find someone smarter than I am to explain it to me. That was much easier to do when I was a full time student. In the real world, not so much. When that happens I have to take the tools that I have learned and apply them to the problem.

You can learn to be a competent programmer, and there is nothing wrong with that. I would likely not trust you to handle a major rewrite of legacy code; I would also likely not trust you to engineer a software solution to anything other than a fairly trivial problem. If all you want to do is program, then great. Most people don't want to just write code all their lives though.

You can read a book to learn how to build a combustion engine. You are not going to learn how to machine, test, and assemble the parts from books. At some point someone is going to have to help you.

#3 chromebuster

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 11:57 AM

What if I wanted to redesign my web site from ASP.net with the tools I've learned from C#. Or what about creating a game, or something cooler such as a network program like a web server or other server type software of some kind? Could this be done with the help of books, community members from places like source forge, and maybe a few programming classes at a place like New horizons?

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#4 groovicus

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 01:42 PM

As I already said, there are tons of things you can learn on your own.

Edited by groovicus, 23 November 2010 - 01:42 PM.


#5 Romeo29

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 08:09 PM

Learning yourself can be very frustrating. You will find yourself stuck in a situation and you will hit your head on wall 100 times before you get out of there. But if there is someone to teach you, they will immediately see your problem from their own experience and guide you in the right direction. It saves time and brain power.

#6 chromebuster

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 10:34 AM

I'm just trying to figure out what my next course of action is since, yes, I'd like to be a good .net programmer in C#, but I'd like to have it more for administrative purposes so that then I can be a server administrator when I get out of college, But I know that with my level of enthusiasm and drive, it's just going to drive me to go further than that. I don't wwant to work as a full time programmer, but I'd like to be a good one for enjoyment. Would it then, be a waste of money for me to be trained in .net programming for administrative purposes with enthusiasm driving the rest of it?

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#7 groovicus

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 05:14 PM

One does not take a class in " .net programming for administrative purposes ".

Here is what a typical curriculum consists of at my university: courses
Here is a curriculum from another university: courses

One takes classes like these to learn how things work; how networks work, how operating systems work, etc. One takes what they learn in those classes and applies them to a particular area of computing, be it IT, software engineering, or network administration. There is no limit to where computers and knowledge of computers can be applied.

If you want to mess around with server administration, set up a virtual Linux OS on your computer and mess around with it.

And to answer your original question, your CS professor is right.

Edited by groovicus, 24 November 2010 - 05:16 PM.


#8 chromebuster

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 12:24 AM

I have since found some more stuff thanks to a friend of mine. But what about Windows Servers? Considering that's what I want my job to be, how would using Linux help me with that? It wouldn't, would it? And on the side of virtualization, I think I'd prefer duel boot since I've got two computers to work with. But one thing, guys. i'm sorry if this is off topic, but just what do you have against Windows as a Server or as an OS for that matter? But thanks so much for the informative information.

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#9 Romeo29

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 01:54 AM

How can you say for sure that, "I want a job to work with Windows servers?" Today there are more servers running on Linux compared to Windows - so to get a job of network admin you should know something of the both worlds. If you are planning to run your own server business, then your customer may want Linux based services too. In both cases, being adamant to learn only Windows based servers is not good for better network admin career opportunities.

#10 groovicus

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 09:16 AM

I recommended a linux server because the software is free. You can set up a Windows server if you want. Windows Server Standard costs starts at about $1000. Running a server is running a server regardless of the platform. The functions are the same, the responsibilites are largely the same. The only difference between the two is syntax. It isn't like you take a class and learn some Windows' commands and bam you are a Windows Server Administrator. administrators tend to be jack's-of-all trades. BTW, I spent two years as a Microsoft Student partner. I am a huge fan. I am also a realist and know that Linux is widely used, so I need heve to know my way around a Linux system also.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090115050846AAg3oiP
http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/consultants/archives/page10300.cfm

As Romeo stated, how do you know what you want to do? There are things to which you have never been exposed that you might like. I discovered that I really liked working with databases and data mining. I also like developing user interfaces on mobile devices. You might find that you are interested in computational physics, or real-time operating systems, or statisitical modeling, or neural networks. But hey, if you are interested in administering Windows Servers, then learn how to run Windows Servers. Is there one type in particular that you are interested in? Exchange Server? Sharepoint, Standard?

#11 chromebuster

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 12:57 PM

To answer your question. I do not want to run a windows server business. My server that I want to run would strictly be my personal server there to host my web site, anything on the LAN that I need to worry about, and at first, for experimental purposes until I have an ISP's services that allow me to host my site myself. For certification purposes, I'd like to get an MCITP certification for a few roles at least. IIS, standard, AD, and SQL Server preferably. The rest of the roles I can learn by tinkering at home. Then I'd like to take non professional online courses on both ASP.net and C#. I will learn Linux, though is seems with the advent of both Server 2008 and IIS 7, there is a shift in stats. Windows is becoming more popular. I've looked at credible sources other than Microsoft themselves to find this information. But how much dwelling on linux do you think I should do since this information seems to be true about Windows?

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#12 groovicus

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 01:23 PM

I think that you have your own ideas about what you want to do and how it can be done, and that nobody is going to be able to tell you different. You can look at all of the stats you want; I don't need to. I actually work in the industry.

Here is what I do know. I know enough to know that I don't know very much, and never will. I know I need to rely on others with more experience and knowledge in order to be effective at my job. I know that limiting my knowledge base means that I limit my opportunities. I know that by not considering the opinions others that doors are closed to me that I can never open. Worse yet, I'll never even know those doors exists.

But how much dwelling on linux do you think I should do since this information seems to be true about Windows?

I think someone that defines themselves as an enthusiast would be interested in everything related to computers.

Good luck! You go and be the best enthusiast you can be. If your dream is to run a server and get some certification, then that is what you should do. :busy:

Edited by groovicus, 25 November 2010 - 01:29 PM.
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