Programming as a career

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I've been doing some programming at work, but because it's a hardware place, the bar is set pretty low in terms of languages. I've floated my resume out there a couple times, but aside from a couple nibbles, nothing, so I've realized that I don't have enough CS knowledge: a decent amount of perl, less decent PHP, some Mysql, some Javascript, and a couple of C classes that I've taken a couple years ago that have fallen into disuse. What, then, should I improve on? Should I take some Java classes? I figure that I'll have to take a data structure class sooner or later; should I aim for a certificate or even a degree?

Leee, Friday, 21 August 2009 03:28 (eleven years ago) link

Java and C# are very high in demand. And definitely get a Bachelor's degree in CS if you can. Tons of places won't even give you the time of day if you don't have one.

Mr. Snrub, Friday, 21 August 2009 03:36 (eleven years ago) link

Bump. Anyone else, or did Mr. Burns give the long and short of it?

Leee, Friday, 21 August 2009 21:00 (eleven years ago) link

I've been in this career so long I'm obsolete, so my best advice is look at the want ads for programmers and see what's needed most. And I hope a BS in CS still means you know C inside and out.

nickn, Friday, 21 August 2009 21:27 (eleven years ago) link

Oh, and get the A+ certification. No, it's not very programming-related, but it shows that you know rudimentary knowledge of PC repair, it's a super easy exam, and it's on your resume forever.

Don't bother with most other certifications, though. They're an absolute nightmare to study for and they become obsolete too fast. Instead, I'd start contributing to some free open source project on sourceforge or google code or something, and then bring that code with you to all your interviews. It gives you a good answer to the "yes, but what have you done lately?" question, and voluntarily contributing for a free project makes you look good.

Mr. Snrub, Sunday, 23 August 2009 04:02 (eleven years ago) link

three months pass...

Asking coworkers and family, and two things I often hear:

1. Get at least a bachelor's in comp sci/software engineering (I have an ever-useful English degree already) because in terms of career growth, you won't get priority unless you have that degree. This is important to me, given that I'm currently at a position where I have almost no room for growth.
2. Don't get a bachelor's, because everything's getting outsourced in software engineering anyway.

I'm reluctant to give up before I've even gotten started on programming, since I took forever to find a job, first of all, and one that I actually enjoy.

Leee, Friday, 18 December 2009 05:40 (eleven years ago) link

People who say #2 don't know what they're talking about.

Just make sure you either specialize or diversify your skills (whichever suits your persona, there are pros and cons to either) so you're not a one trick programmer, and you'll be fine. In this late 2009 economapolypse, I'd go with the diversify-yourself-and-learn-a-whole-bunch-of-shit-for-fun angle. Companies will give preference to people who geek out on programming in their spare time, or *ahem* at least can pretend very well that they do.

Sock Puppet Pizza Delivers To The Forest (Sock Puppet Queso Con Concentrate), Friday, 18 December 2009 06:35 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah, learn a bunch of shit, more the better.

kingfish, Friday, 18 December 2009 06:40 (eleven years ago) link

3. Make up for lack of degree w/ experience (fuck going back 2 school)

shartin jort (am0n), Friday, 18 December 2009 06:44 (eleven years ago) link

Other recent observations: open source environment jobs have blossomed.. Microsoft technology jobs have softened (for pretty obvious budget reasons.) It's awesome to know both, but if you had to choose one, choose the former -- since it's free, and if you can prove that you wrestled with bugs in some open source package, and overcame them, that's something you can put on a CV.

(The really stupid thing about tech companies: no one will hire a seasoned C# programmer for a mid-level Java position, or vice versa -- even though the two language skills are highly transferable. This is digressing into rant territory, so I'll stop.)

Sock Puppet Pizza Delivers To The Forest (Sock Puppet Queso Con Concentrate), Friday, 18 December 2009 06:51 (eleven years ago) link

3b. Or at least spend a number of days going through wiki pages on algorithms involving binary search trees, sort algorithms, and abstract data types like stacks, queues, linked-lists, etc. A BS in CS will teach you that and a lot more, but in practice, it's the former stuff that companies really care about. You do need some math skillz to understand the former. learning O-notation is a bonus.

Then again, some companies just want to hire people who like picking things up quickly.

Sock Puppet Pizza Delivers To The Forest (Sock Puppet Queso Con Concentrate), Friday, 18 December 2009 06:55 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah, learn a bunch of shit, more the better.

ehh, having a multidisciplinary cv can be a pain, recruiters don't know what to do with you.

poster x (ledge), Friday, 18 December 2009 10:58 (eleven years ago) link

I'll back the assertion that it is possible to be a coder without a degree (my ex is an example - heck he didnt even finish high school) but if you go down that path you gotta know C++, C#, assembly, perl, etc relevant to field language. You have to live and breathe code and *enjoy* doing it. I see people who code like other people play and write songs on guitars. Theyre the ones who do well.

millivanillimillenary (Trayce), Friday, 18 December 2009 11:12 (eleven years ago) link

i would think with that trayce you kinda have to get a bit lucky, and find a company that's a bit more relaxed in their recruitment drive.

i recently applied for a java role, having a rather great bouncy interview and selling my enthusiasm for coding etc. They seemed impressed and I thought i'd done well but the other guy won the job basically because he knew more about 'business' terms.

all companies are different, worth researching them individually for your applications.

bracken free ditch (Ste), Friday, 18 December 2009 11:21 (eleven years ago) link

Games industry is perhaps a unique beast compared to coding in all other fields, as it is a lot more of a "prove yer shit" industry.

millivanillimillenary (Trayce), Friday, 18 December 2009 11:57 (eleven years ago) link

Know this really well.

Then this.

And then this.

Now you're pretty much all set.

Mr. Snrub, Friday, 18 December 2009 12:01 (eleven years ago) link

xp Trayce, yeah agree with that

bracken free ditch (Ste), Friday, 18 December 2009 12:14 (eleven years ago) link

Is learning C++ a particularly good idea these days? There's got to be a lot more jobs in Java and PHP, at least. Hell, probably even in Ruby and Python. People do argue that you learn so much from programming C++ that it makes other languages much easier to pick up etc, but that doesn't seem to me like a good enough reason to start there.

Guess it depends on the job you want -- I imagine the places where they use C and C++ now are ones where you're most likely to actually need a CS degree.

What do I know -- I just quit my programming job last month and have no idea wtf to do in the future.

Øystein, Friday, 18 December 2009 12:48 (eleven years ago) link

I had heard that C++ had lost out a lot to Java and Visual C++ to C#, and meanwhile C is still going strong for embedded systems, which C++ is largely unsuited to. But I have never been paid to write in any of those languages so I dunno.

When I was last job-hunting I put just about every language I had even basic knowledge of, and a specialist IT recruiter told me it was confusing and I needed to narrow it down. So don't do that.

I suppose that sounds obvious (writing 30-line programs in yr spare time or in lol college != doing useful work on a real major project), but when your core skills - and I'm not sure I have any - are kind of limited and obsolete, and your jobs to date have involved a lot of whatever nobody else wants to do that day but thinks you can pick up as you go...

brett favre vs bernard fevre, fite (a passing spacecadet), Friday, 18 December 2009 13:23 (eleven years ago) link

I have a good front-to-back knowledge of web development, from html to java, and i do put it all on my cv, but I try to position myself as a java developer. Still most of the stuff i get from agents is for entry level html crap. Basically all agents are know-nothing cunts.

poster x (ledge), Friday, 18 December 2009 13:48 (eleven years ago) link

is it worth learning to use stuff like eclipse and that because i guess while most people can do java C++ fewer people will know how to work with the specfic development tools etc?

I sb'ed your mum (ken c), Friday, 18 December 2009 16:37 (eleven years ago) link

It might also be helpful to learn about recursion, as told by H.P. Lovecraft:

http://www.bobhobbs.com/files/kr_lovecraft.html

o. nate, Friday, 18 December 2009 17:47 (eleven years ago) link

3. Make up for lack of degree w/ experience (fuck going back 2 school)

I kind of sort of have this covered at my current position, but I'm sort of an ad hoc backwater one-person band supporting a group in a hardware company, so there's not a lot of support for me but also not a lot of priority given to me vis-a-vis promotions, accumulating job skills past a rudimentary point, etc. It's good for financial security, but if I need/want a real developer's job, I feel a bit underqualified, thus thinking about doing school part time to get a BA/BS. And that goes to Sock Puppet's 3b; I'm a bit intimidated by the mathier stuff on my own, I do much better in a classroom.

I have some Java on me now, I'm taking a C++ class at jr. college this Winter Q.

Leee, Friday, 18 December 2009 21:22 (eleven years ago) link

People who say #2 don't know what they're talking about.

Re: outsourcing -- does it matter that I work in Silicon Valley? I tend to assume that if the general trend is towards outsourcing programming, SV would be the place where it happens first.

Leee, Friday, 18 December 2009 21:24 (eleven years ago) link

is it worth learning to use stuff like eclipse and that

i guess it'd be a good idea to know how how yer basic ide works but no point going out of your way to learn any particular one. once you know one you know them all, more or less.

poster x (ledge), Friday, 18 December 2009 21:32 (eleven years ago) link

OTM. Every company has their own specifics w.r.t. IDEs so it's probably not a good use of your time to worry about the environment outside of what you need to know to get things done.

There's no concrete answer to the get/don't get a C.S. degree question. As you might have guessed already it depends... amount of experience, depth of background, relative visibility, the type of job you're looking for and what industry it's in (something like game development is it's own Universe). I can only offer up anecdotes from my own career - I've had exactly two formal programming classes, but 18 years of job experience from IT garbage collector, to webmaster, device driver wizard, and database king. Like everyone else has been saying, have a broad familiarity with a couple areas of deep knowledge. If I was starting now, I'd make Java one of those deep knowledge areas.

Also, don't underestimate visibility. Write some code, improve on it, and then blog the results. Write comments on someone else's coding blog. I've gotten a couple of contract gig offers just because I posted some sample code to my blog. Go figure.

Lastly, get familiar with database basics. Nothing ridiculous like Oracle but just your basic MySQL/PostGreSQL fundamentals. I didn't set out to be a database guy, but I knew some stuff and now four years later I'm a full-blown DBA and pretty good at it.

Elvis Telecom, Saturday, 19 December 2009 00:25 (eleven years ago) link

> I had heard that C++ had lost out a lot to Java

i think this is due to a shift towards webapps (java servlets). i'm a dyed in the wool c programmer now doing java for a living because everything is now sat on a server being served by JBoss.

(never had a lesson in java, hadn't been invented whilst i was in education... lol, z80)

i am aghast at some of the job adverts i see, the list of disparate things they expect you to know. but a lot of this is due to agency idiots. (that said, if i think about all the disparate things i use at work...)

the thing they don't teach you at college but is fundamental when working professionally and/or in groups is version control. get comfortable with cvs or svn or maybe even git. at the very least know what they do.

i'd also recommend having something you can show people, like contributing, or starting, an open source project. or just having some flashy applets somewhere.

this stuff all takes years, 25 years in i'm still picking stuff up.

koogs, Sunday, 20 December 2009 10:27 (eleven years ago) link

Hm, I like a syntax-highlighting text editor with parenthesis matching and suchlike, but for the actual business of compiling and running I'm still alt-tabbing to a console window, guess I'd better stop being so afraid of letting the IDE take care of it...

Ha, agency job ads. Seen ads asking for 3 years' experience in technologies which aren't 3 years old.

This is good encouragement to actually listen to the woman who's been trying to get us all to use svn. The only version control I've used was command-line only and didn't do much beyond locking the file and adding a timestamped comment. Seems they're a lot more sophisticated now.

brett favre vs bernard fevre, fite (a passing spacecadet), Monday, 21 December 2009 16:32 (eleven years ago) link

file locking is so '90s.

poster x (ledge), Monday, 21 December 2009 16:37 (eleven years ago) link

Hm, I like a syntax-highlighting text editor with parenthesis matching and suchlike, but for the actual business of compiling and running I'm still alt-tabbing to a console window, guess I'd better stop being so afraid of letting the IDE take care of it...

Yeah, I programmed in notepad etc for years, before moving to a proper IDE, mostly because I figured I should learn to program without any tools to help me out. In hindsight that wasn't a particularly good idea, it just made thinks more convoluted and slow. Rewriting code was a major pain etc.
Learning an IDE (Eclipse, for instance) is hardly any work at all, since you can start off treating it as little more than a fancified text-editor, and learn the cool tricks as you go along. I mean, hell, I'd used one for over a year before I even heard of "extract method"! Sheesh.

Actually, that reminds me that getting comfortable with Maven or Ant is fairly quickly done, and something well worth doing once you're comfortable with Subversion (SVN) or CVS.
Also, testing frameworks. JUnit if you're using Java. It's both quick to learn, and well worth it; just don't let the annoying Test-Driven Design (TDD) fanatics put you off.

Øystein, Monday, 21 December 2009 18:15 (eleven years ago) link

there are things netbeans cannot do that easily vim will do in a heartbeat but i can't live without the code completion stuff as i don't really know the libraries (and they change). plus java projects have such a deep directory trees and our stuff is so scattered that you end up spending most of your time in vim typing directory paths to swapping between files (could use ctags i guess)

eclipse i never got to grips with - there's no 'compile' button as it's continually compiling and i like having a compile button.

svn can be used on the command line but we use tortoise.

koogs, Monday, 21 December 2009 19:11 (eleven years ago) link

four years pass...

Programmers are the magicians of the modern age

calstars, Sunday, 8 June 2014 21:36 (six years ago) link

Not the ones I've known. And I've known more than a few.

Aimless, Monday, 9 June 2014 04:56 (six years ago) link

buncha putzes

j., Monday, 9 June 2014 05:09 (six years ago) link

Programming is the worst

Nhex, Monday, 9 June 2014 06:46 (six years ago) link

DevOps is the worst.

koogs, Monday, 9 June 2014 10:32 (six years ago) link

Software Engineer USA™

, Monday, 9 June 2014 16:04 (six years ago) link

we like to pretend we're architects and engineers and builders but we're really more like apprentice mechanics or those dudes that assemble pre-made furniture half the time

a strange man (mh), Monday, 9 June 2014 16:07 (six years ago) link

programming is great if functions and syntax are well documented. it is the worst thing imaginable otherwise.

sufi john paxson (Sufjan Grafton), Monday, 9 June 2014 16:09 (six years ago) link

I do enjoy the critical thinking parts of my mind that were unlocked by learning CS theory and programming over a period of time, but it really chafes me to see software developers think that they're able to solve non-software societal problems with that toolkit

a strange man (mh), Monday, 9 June 2014 16:09 (six years ago) link

professional googlers

lag∞n, Monday, 9 June 2014 16:10 (six years ago) link

Oh, I forgot that one. Software Architect. Classic.

I much rather SysAdmin, coder, developer, webmonkey/webmaster, script kiddie

Mind you, my end goal is probably to be a 'Software Architect', so I should lol carefully

, Monday, 9 June 2014 16:10 (six years ago) link

yeah, really smart or tricky code makes you seem like a wizard but what it really makes you is an asshole if it's ever meant to be maintained

pretty sure my coding style has gotten progressively dumber on purpose

a strange man (mh), Monday, 9 June 2014 16:10 (six years ago) link

^^ thank you

sufi john paxson (Sufjan Grafton), Monday, 9 June 2014 16:11 (six years ago) link

I think software/systems architect is a fine title, even if my actual designs-buildings-and-structures friend recoils in disgust. I hate when people introduce themselves as "architects" without the qualifier.

Now, the part of the business where people use "architect" as a verb... not so good.

a strange man (mh), Monday, 9 June 2014 16:12 (six years ago) link

I do enjoy the critical thinking parts of my mind that were unlocked by learning CS theory and programming over a period of time, but it really chafes me to see software developers think that they're able to solve non-software societal problems with that toolkit

― a strange man (mh), Monday, June 9, 2014 5:09 PM (1 minute ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink


From the dudes I've met, I get the impression many of them think they do have superpowers and can basically write a piece of software/webapp to solve just about any social/civic/political issue

, Monday, 9 June 2014 16:12 (six years ago) link

they probably also think they can throw together that application in a matter of a few days

programmers are horrible estimators

a strange man (mh), Monday, 9 June 2014 16:13 (six years ago) link

working with computers makes people feel very powerful because computers are powerful

lag∞n, Monday, 9 June 2014 16:13 (six years ago) link

bring back punch cards

sufi john paxson (Sufjan Grafton), Monday, 9 June 2014 16:14 (six years ago) link

ya, it's just funny because in canada you're not really allowed to use "software engineer", because, well, you're not an engineer. but in the states, it's quite common

, Monday, 9 June 2014 16:15 (six years ago) link

speaking of commit messages

https://www.twitter.com/gitlost

like, I’m eating an elephant head (katherine), Tuesday, 28 July 2020 19:06 (eight months ago) link

lol

shout-out to his family (DJP), Tuesday, 28 July 2020 19:08 (eight months ago) link

always happy to see that account again

all cats are beautiful (silby), Tuesday, 28 July 2020 20:08 (eight months ago) link

this component test, two of the 'expected' fields are actually a comma separated list of additional tests and a parallel comma-separated list of the expected values for these tests.

koogs, Friday, 31 July 2020 12:34 (eight months ago) link

three weeks pass...

Defensive Programming: C/D

Isinglass Ponys (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 24 August 2020 15:36 (seven months ago) link

Depends what it is… but I’d rather have good tests which catch any failures in most cases I would say.

Chewshabadoo, Monday, 24 August 2020 16:26 (seven months ago) link

iirc Go tries to push defensive programming as a default

iirc the main point of defensive programming is handle all the error conditions *first* then the code does what it’s supposed to

it’s smart imo, because happy path programming is terrible

solo scampito (mh), Monday, 24 August 2020 17:32 (seven months ago) link

worst mess up we've had here recently, one that made the papers, was component C relying on previous component B for validation only to then add component A as an input path and component A didn't bother.

koogs, Monday, 24 August 2020 18:51 (seven months ago) link

in short: trustno1

koogs, Monday, 24 August 2020 18:57 (seven months ago) link

Innocuous irrational anger: typos in method/var names that don't get fix and propagate throughout the system wherever the thing is called - check_intant_update_user_permission

neith moon (ledge), Tuesday, 25 August 2020 10:31 (seven months ago) link

intant_update_user_permission = False
...
return intant_update_user_permission

how can you even c+p all that without noticing?

neith moon (ledge), Tuesday, 25 August 2020 10:33 (seven months ago) link

intant_karma.Said(“Knock You Out”)

Isinglass Ponys (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 25 August 2020 10:57 (seven months ago) link

hey my display name is relevant

assert (MatthewK), Tuesday, 25 August 2020 11:14 (seven months ago) link

> don't get fix

you never fix

koogs, Tuesday, 25 August 2020 11:38 (seven months ago) link

who is screaming FIX at my code. i will never fix.

neith moon (ledge), Tuesday, 25 August 2020 12:45 (seven months ago) link

OMG we have a column in our DB called loyality_discount.

Ruth Bae Ginsburg (Leee), Tuesday, 25 August 2020 16:33 (seven months ago) link

that’s right

solo scampito (mh), Tuesday, 25 August 2020 16:42 (seven months ago) link

I think about this Reddit thread a lot pic.twitter.com/w2QxYJ2kx6

— Sy Brand (@TartanLlama) August 20, 2020

koogs, Thursday, 27 August 2020 11:03 (seven months ago) link

when that thread was making the rounds I did a lot of mumbling “oh no”

solo scampito (mh), Thursday, 27 August 2020 13:23 (seven months ago) link

i've only seen that one comment but a) wow at the inventiveness of people and b) fuck the inventiveness of people

you can use unicode letters (not punctuation) in java for variable names and i can see delta being useful for all the animations i write but fuck learning how to type it.

also, i think java 9 stopped the use of a single _ as a variable name, but two or more is fine.

koogs, Thursday, 27 August 2020 13:41 (seven months ago) link

two months pass...

the comments thing has come to a head again after they refused to approve a pull request because of comments and *whitespace* in a component test! apparently the blank lines made him think it was a new Scenario even given the indentation.

so now we have a team meeting about it, but it'll be the usual steam-rollering, the alpha programmer forcing his views on everybody by dint of talking the most.

koogs, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 12:58 (five months ago) link

*sigh*

An Andalusian Do-rag (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 13:56 (five months ago) link

hopefully sanity prevailed. at least pretty much everybody thought that not approving changes because of comments was unreasonable.

koogs, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 15:16 (five months ago) link

That's a good sign!

DJP, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 15:18 (five months ago) link

I hope I never again have to work anywhere that doesn’t have strict autoformatting procedures in place.

Chewshabadoo, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 15:54 (five months ago) link

even though i have very strong formatting preferences, i've found the best way to deal with the issue is to use an opinionated, non-configurable formatter as part of the build process. that way, everyone dislikes the formatting equally

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 17:19 (five months ago) link

We have flake8 for our Python stuff but not black, autoformatting would make me cwazy

The Bosom Manor Michaelmas Special (silby), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 17:25 (five months ago) link

my preferences > autoformatters > everyone else's preferences

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 17:25 (five months ago) link

i absolutely loathe black, but it's still better than the alternative on a shared repo, so i've learned to live with it.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 17:26 (five months ago) link

is there a thread for just like general CS news and stuff? this seems pretty cool:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/computer-scientists-achieve-crown-jewel-of-cryptography-20201110/

brimstead, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 19:41 (five months ago) link

my preferences > autoformatters > everyone else's preferences

^truth bomb

An Andalusian Do-rag (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 10 November 2020 20:51 (five months ago) link

cool link, brimstead!

DJI, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 21:08 (five months ago) link

Haha, yep, in our front-end JavaScript codebase Prettier is a godsend for being almost totally unconfigurable.

Chewshabadoo, Wednesday, 11 November 2020 11:53 (five months ago) link

four months pass...

generate 84 files
commit to github
upload to server

repeat 40 times, changing one word each time.

(i have replaced step one with a sed script rather than manually editing the files but still...)

koogs, Thursday, 11 March 2021 20:22 (one month ago) link

Why is programming language documentation so terrible? I mean, look at this shit:

https://www.cplusplus.com/reference/functional/function/

std::function

Class that can wrap any kind of callable element (such as functions and function objects) into a copyable object, and whose type depends solely on its call signature (and not on the callable element type itself). An object of a function class instantiation can wrap any of the following kinds of callable objects: a function, a function pointer, a pointer to member, or any kind of function object (i.e., an object whose class defines operator(), including closures). A decay copy of the wrapped callable object is stored internally by the object, which becomes the function's target. The specific type of this target callable object is not needed in order to instantiate the function wrapper class; only its call signature. The function object can be copied and moved around, and can be used to directly invoke the callable object with the specified call signature (see member operator()). function objects can also be in a state with no target callable object. In this case they are known as empty functions, and calling them throws a bad_function_call exception.

Not only is this incredibly complex for the novice reader to understand, but you will notice at no point in the entire article does it mention why you would ever want to use this or what problem does it solve.

Mr. Snrub, Sunday, 21 March 2021 21:49 (four weeks ago) link

I’m not going to defend that as a model of clear technical writing but that’s an api reference not a tutorial document.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Sunday, 21 March 2021 21:56 (four weeks ago) link

not that this is in any way more clear, but cppreference.com is the site you want for non-spammy c++ documentation: https://en.cppreference.com/w/cpp/utility/functional/function

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Sunday, 21 March 2021 23:03 (four weeks ago) link

I do like the “Run this code” functionality so you can try it out yourself.

Mr. Snrub, Sunday, 21 March 2021 23:35 (four weeks ago) link

Novices should probably not be learning C++

o. nate, Sunday, 21 March 2021 23:40 (four weeks ago) link

I think c++ is probably not the reference point for this moment in programming education but as caek said, it’s the reference guide and not a learning one

pretty sure there are a few learning documents, books, guides, etc for this language but who can be sure

mh, Monday, 22 March 2021 04:29 (three weeks ago) link

I do appreciate the literal nature of “I want to do c++” and literally going to cplusplus.com though

mh, Monday, 22 March 2021 04:30 (three weeks ago) link

i definitely sympathize. man pages and documentation have always been written for those who already have a general understanding of programming terminology and fundamentals.

that aside, just from a writing point of view, documentation has also always been kind of terrible, but that's because it's difficult to draw the line when you need to explain all the concepts referenced. it's easier to pass this job over to the reader, so the reader/learner ends up having to google all the parts of the explanation that don't make sense in order to fill in the knowledge gaps.

having said that, i will say it actually does get easier, thankfully.

the c programming language book is still a pretty terrible book to use in an intro to c course (one of my first introductions to programming, regrettably so)

Punster McPunisher, Monday, 22 March 2021 05:21 (three weeks ago) link

the best documentation i've seen recently (like in the past year or two) is microsoft's typescript stuff https://www.typescriptlang.org/docs/ (i guess it's easy when you have a large FT staff writing docs), but honorable mention to https://fastapi.tiangolo.com/ which went off on tangents explaining background topics exactly when i personally had gaps in my knowledge (others may find it too discursive).

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 22 March 2021 06:08 (three weeks ago) link

typescript is doing js a lot of good, imo

Punster McPunisher, Monday, 22 March 2021 21:27 (three weeks ago) link

I recently realized that whenever I’m learning to use a language, software, or package and the docs or tutorials say “use <feature X> with care”, what they really mean is “never under any circumstances use this feature. It stinks.”

Dan I., Sunday, 4 April 2021 08:33 (two weeks ago) link

or “when you run into the edge case that really only works with <feature X> you’re not going to have a lot of fun”

mh, Monday, 5 April 2021 14:16 (one week ago) link

Classic or dud, people who check for all kinds of edge cases except for the one that actually arises in practice

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 6 April 2021 17:11 (one week ago) link

breaking stuff is fun

brimstead, Tuesday, 6 April 2021 18:51 (one week ago) link

the c programming language book is still a pretty terrible book to use in an intro to c course (one of my first introductions to programming, regrettably so)

I read that book and afterwards felt that I understood C, but had no idea how to program anything in it.

Being cheap is expensive (snoball), Tuesday, 6 April 2021 19:22 (one week ago) link


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