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How to stay motivated in learning?


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Posted 21 June 2014 - 08:19 PM

Hello! I am on this forum because I want to know where I should go now. But first - Some story.

 

I wanted to learn how to program since I was 11, and I attempted to do so at 13 by diving into c++. I dipped my toe in and I realized that it is too tough of a language for a beginner. So I decided to learn Python. I started learning python at the beginning of 2013, and now I feel comfortable in the language. Now I want to move onto a different language.

 

So here I am, at 14 wanting to learn C++. I have an Ebook that I read every now and again on C++, but I seem to get demotivated from it. I understand that I have to read it to learn, but I want to get to parts I am interested in. Such as multifile programs, without learning pointers.

 

So in conclusion, the question I am asking is how to stay on task, and keep learning it. How I learnt Python is read a beginner tutorial, then try to do something, then Google it. I understand that I cannot do this with C++ because of more advanced systems. Anyone have any tips?



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Posted 21 June 2014 - 09:27 PM

Best advice I could give is to find ways to make it fun.  I learned some of the basics of c++ from Beginning C++ Through Game Programming

the games are really simple and it helps keep you from burning out because you are seeing something being completed and get that sense of accomplishment.  Its so much more fun and easier to stick with when you are able to say hey i made something kinda cool.


Edited by moneal2001, 21 June 2014 - 09:27 PM.


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Posted 21 June 2014 - 10:15 PM


So here I am, at 14 wanting to learn C++. I have an Ebook that I read every now and again on C++, but I seem to get demotivated from it. I understand that I have to read it to learn, but I want to get to parts I am interested in. Such as multifile programs, without learning pointers.

 

 

You won't get too far in C++ without learning how to use pointers. tongue.png  They aren't too complicated once you figure them out, and if you want to do ANYTHING in C++ you'll have to understand the concept of a pointer. Pointers are an extremely fundamental concept, both for C and C++ as well as for any low level programming.



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Posted 21 June 2014 - 11:44 PM

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What motivates you to program?
Why do you want to learn programming?  What do you plan to do with it?
 
If your goal is to do SQL database queries and handle financial transactions, you are a freak who has no use for motivation, aspirations, or any meaningful pursuit.
Since you struggle with motivation, I assume you want to make fun things with programming, like games (there’s also the fact that you asked on a game-development site, but…), so I will answer under the assumption that you want to make games.
 
 
Why are you troubling yourself with the exercises they give in the book?
Why don’t you take the basic concepts and apply them to some form of game?
Just learned how to ask for input, branch, and generate random numbers?  Make a random-number guessing game.
Just learned loops?  Make a…game loop.  That repeatedly asks for numbers.
 
Want to do more, and learn in a way more focused on games?  Read beginner tutorials and try to do something.

The point is you if you have to ask how to stay motivated it is because you don’t know how to stay motivated.
If you just ask yourself a few basic questions, such as why you want to program in the first place, you should be able to apply everything you learn to your end goal and stay motivated.
 

How I learnt Python is read a beginner tutorial, then try to do something, then Google it. I understand that I cannot do this with C++ because of more advanced systems.

Uh…no?
Why do you “understand” this?
Step #1: Punch whoever told you this in the face (yourself if you “figured it out” on your own) and forget it.
Step #2: Do what I said above. Optionally including the punch again.

Due to your apparent misunderstanding, you are like a game programmer studying to be a finance programmer.
This is retarded, and it’s obvious why you can’t get motivated. I wouldn’t either if I was learning by checking records etc.
If you plan to be a game programmer, learn as a game programmer does: By making games (stupid as they may be at the beginning).

But you do need to learn multiple files…
Just not on the first day, or even month.
And you need to learn pointers, but not in the first month, or even year.
Pick your pace for yourself or burn out and lose motivation.


L. Spiro


Edited by L. Spiro, 22 June 2014 - 02:58 PM.


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Posted 21 June 2014 - 11:52 PM

I've recommended these before, but:

http://codingmadeeasy.ca/tutorials

Are really easy to follow. If you do them alongside the SFML tutorials on the site, which are c++ based,the simple act of applying the c++ to a game can keep motivation pretty high, at least for myself.


Beginner here <- please take any opinions with grain of salt Posted Image

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Posted 22 June 2014 - 12:57 PM

Yeah, pointers are crucial for any c++ developer, so, you cannot just skip them.

 

In my opinion, find some good book on c++ 'from scratch', read it from cover to cover, don't ignore the hard parts (i.e pointers), exercise and experiment with every new concept(this will keep you interested and motivated ). You're only 14, so you don't really have to rush, take it slow. When you got a grasp on the language, that's where the journey begin :)

 

On those boring pointers though, I remember the exact moment when I got the point of their existence. Man, that was just pure satisfaction.



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Posted 22 June 2014 - 01:39 PM

As you figured out correctly, C++ is not a good language for a beginner. I'd suggest starting with C first. C++ is a superset of C and has many implementations and exceptions that just confuse you (you need some experience to know when to apply what and how). Also having a solid understanding of C is a very rewarding skill that many programmers nowadays lack. 

 

As for pointers: it's enough to know what they do and how to pass them around at the moment. I also had troubles understanding them until I had to implement certain things that required them or were much smarter solved using them. Don't bother too much, you will appreciate and understand them soon enough on the go.



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Posted 22 June 2014 - 09:30 PM


As you figured out correctly, C++ is not a good language for a beginner. I'd suggest starting with C first. C++ is a superset of C and has many implementations and exceptions that just confuse you (you need some experience to know when to apply what and how). Also having a solid understanding of C is a very rewarding skill that many programmers nowadays lack. 

I started with C++ when I was 13 (only language I knew before that was BASIC), though, I agree with Bjarne's comment in why not to learn C first in his new edition of Programming Principles and Practices Using C++, but I've also seen it paraphrased and restated by tons of other programmers across the internet.

 

 

"C first": This approach to learning C++ is wasteful of students' time and leads to poor programming practices by forcing students to approach problems with fewer facilities, techniques, and libraries than necessary. C++ provides stronger type checking than C, a standard library with better support for novices, and exceptions for handling errors.

 

Even self-taught programmers are still students of the language. If you want to learn C++, then learn C++. I've been programming for almost 20 years (started when I was 13 and will be 33 this year) now and my flaw was that I never went to an actual programming course to learn how to go from concept/idea to code so for 20 years I've been brute forcing my ideas into code (a method that does not work very well). When I brought this up, the advice was always one of these two answers "go to Project Euler and do their problems, that will help you" or "learn another language, seeing how they do it differently will help you". I listened to them and in 20 years I have dabbled in C, C#, Java, D, Assembler, Ada, Pascal, Fortran, COBOL, Ruby, Python, Perl, Lua, and even learned web site languages like PHP, Javascript, CSS, XML, HTML, and databasing with MySQL. It wasn't until I built up the courage to email Stroustrup that he helped me figure out my problem and helped me fix it.

The three important things I've learned in all my time doing that is this:

1) Learn the language you want, not a language someone recommends (because usually learning a new language gives you new obstacles to work around and some understanding, but will leave you likely stuck figuring out the original obstacle when you go back to the original language).

2) Only learn other languages if they will benefit your current project (or you are learning it because you enjoy learning them and are fascinated by them, which is why I listened to all the bad advice of learning other languages to solve my problem that ultimately showed up in every language because I loved the languages).

3) Self motivation, programming requires you to self motivate a lot in order to start, keeping going, and finish anything you do.

One last thing I want to point out (just in case you are suffering from it), a huge misconception people seem to have is that books and tutorials about a certain language will teach them to program (they won't and don't). Those books and tutorials only focus on the language and offer example programs to show the feature it is trying to explain, but not programming itself. I would say to get Programming Principles and Practices Using C++ Second Edition by Bjarne Stroustrup to learn programming (as it covers C++11 and C++14) and then when you are done with it consider getting his The C++ Programming Language Fourth Edition as a reference book. You can certainly use another C++11 compliant beginner book if you like. You can learn any language you like, but as I stated above, if you want to learn C++ then learn C++, but do it properly and wisely as there are tons of bad books out there claiming to teach C++.

I also don't 100% agree with learning SFML/SDL/Allegro on top of learning C++. C++ has enough of its own API that said books have you learn and you don't need the stress of learning both the C++ APIs while learning another libraries API on top of it. Although, like I stated before, do what you want and not what someone recommends because those recommendations are usually based off their experiences (as is all the above advice). In the end, decide what you want and do it, simple as that.


Edited by BHXSpecter, 23 June 2014 - 03:56 PM.


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Posted 22 June 2014 - 09:51 PM

I second the point against learning C first.

No one forces you to use the extra bits of C++ such as classes, templates, exceptions, etc.

You can stick with C++ and just use the “C” part of it, slowly picking the parts of C++ you want to learn as you go.

Frankly the “C” part of C++ is easier to learn than the “C” part of C—C++ doesn’t force you into weird rules on where you can declare variables, it doesn’t make you use “struct” or “enum” every time you declare a variable that type or declare it as a parameter (nor force the typedef work-around), and it has “bool” built-in.

 

So the statement that learning C as an approach to learning C++ is wasteful of students’ time is virtually undeniable.

Just jump into C++.  You have no obligation to use any of it that is not part of C (but you have freedom to pick parts as you learn how to use them) and you don’t have to deal with all the fussy quirks of C.

C is worth learning only because you may be forced to use it on a job in the future, but spend no more than a day or 2 doing so, and only after you are comfortable with the “C” part of C++.

 

 

 

L. Spiro


Edited by L. Spiro, 22 June 2014 - 09:57 PM.


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Posted 23 June 2014 - 03:14 PM

I look up the definitions of words on the Microsoft website. It helps keep the pace going and less boring. That just a tip, I learn c++ by accepting a challenge. Someone challenged me to go over a tutorial on cprogramming.com. I succeeded with ease but I'm not sure this works for you. I know, try a project in c++, at least you'll have an objective.



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Posted 23 June 2014 - 05:19 PM

Hello! I am on this forum because I want to know where I should go now. But first - Some story.
 
I wanted to learn how to program since I was 11, and I attempted to do so at 13 by diving into c++. I dipped my toe in and I realized that it is too tough of a language for a beginner. So I decided to learn Python. I started learning python at the beginning of 2013, and now I feel comfortable in the language. Now I want to move onto a different language.
 
So here I am, at 14 wanting to learn C++. I have an Ebook that I read every now and again on C++, but I seem to get demotivated from it. I understand that I have to read it to learn, but I want to get to parts I am interested in. Such as multifile programs, without learning pointers.


Then you should choose a managed language, like C# or Java (or even F# if you want to learn something different and still able to use the power of .NET platform... no, I cannot suggest you the other main horrible programming language for Microsoft's .NET..!)
 
C and C++ are native programming languages and you had to deal with pointers (especially with "raw pointers" at the beginning) and you need to understand how they work (and in general, how memory works), otherwise, all your attempts will result in shooting with a shotgun upon your ass! (Coarse but true).

 

 

Please also note that quite all modern programming language have pointers: maybe they are called "reference" or "handle" and you cannot deal with pointer's arithmetic... Or maybe they are hidden somewhere in the back-end of the language; but those little bastards are always there and a "null pointer exception" will surely happens someday even if your programming language claims to don't have pointers... 

 

 

So in conclusion, the question I am asking is how to stay on task, and keep learning it. How I learnt Python is read a beginner tutorial, then try to do something, then Google it. I understand that I cannot do this with C++ because of more advanced systems. Anyone have any tips?


C++ it is not difficult, but it is a complex native programming language, with a lot of details. To understand C++ (and even C), you need to deal with pointers, with (virtual) memory management and possibly having at least a small, but decent, view of how your system works (i.e.: know the basis of how and what the hardware and the operating system do).

You are still young, staring learning C++ at your age could (but not necessary) become a huge burden.
In your title you are asking how to stay motivated. In my experience the best way to stay motivated are:

- Money/wage/reward (but that's not your case)
- Results.

Obtaining quickly and frequently results could be the best and the only way for you to remain motivated to learning. If you "don't like" the way Python motivates you, than switch to C# (or Java if you do not care about .NET and a lot of Windows API). If you have a good relationship with math, you could try to learning a functional programming language like F#, more robust and complete than Ocaml (and you have a full working compiler on Windows too!), with a good development environment and the full power of .NET.

 

With C# (or Java) you will be able to reach a lot of results, even graphic results. The language could be a little more complex compared to Phyton, but you will access to a very good development environment, tools (Vistual Studio), a huge framework (.NET), and even a lot of Windows APIs (even DirectX APIs via third party library like charp-DX).

 

Last advice: do not think yet at DirectX/Opengl/whatever, you still have a lot to learn (pointers and memory management included).

 

 

PS: hope you understand my “English” (dunno the right word to define an Italian trying to speak and write English).


Edited by Alessio1989, 23 June 2014 - 06:20 PM.

"Recursion is the first step towards madness." - "Skeggǫld, Skálmǫld, Skildir ro Klofnir!"
Direct3D 12 quick reference: https://github.com/alessiot89/D3D12QuickRef/




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