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Marchosias

Programming: Is it within reach for me?

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I've been trying to learn C# since 2005, trying to program applications and games, but it doesn't seem I am progressing at all. My question is: Should I give up? Or should I continue and keep wasting my time? On weekends I usually spend 12 hours on a single day, trying to learn from books and experimenting, yes I'm seeing no progress. I'm still not able to make anything I couldn't have made when I opened my first C# book. It's really frustrating, what's stopping me? Why can't I advance? Do I have a learning disability? Is this a common problem for people who are trying to be self-taught? One of my problems is, I can read entire page and then when it comes time to answer the questions for that chapter, I don't know them. I can look them up in the book, but then I forget them right afterwards. Are some people incapable of being programmers? Would it help if I tried a different language?

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Hi. I'm a completely self taught programmer as well. I've experienced your same problems. The key is practice. You can read all you want and you can copy examples from your book and compile but the only way to truly learn is to start and complete original projects(even as simple as hangman, tic-tac-toe, or guess the number).

Its easy to think programming is harder than it really is when you are first learning. Just open a blank source file and start writing code and you'll find that it isn't all that hard. Keep at it and before you know it you will have a completed project and a deeper understanding of programming.

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A couple of things:

1. Programming is more about knowing where to look for answers than it is about memorizing things, so just because you can't recall this or that fact doesn't necessarily mean you won't be able to program effectively. Of course things are going to be a bit slow for you if you have to look up the syntax for a 'for' loop each time you need to write one, but as for more complex stuff, don't be afraid to use references when necessary.

2. You didn't really specify what sort of problems you're running into. Perhaps you could try to write a simple but complete game - say, a text-based 'guess the number' game. If you find you can't do it, post your attempt here along with a description of the problem you're having. If on the other hand you are able to do it, move on to something a little more complex, say, Hangman. If at some point you run into something that hangs you up (say, incorporating graphics or whatever), you can then seek help on that particular topic.

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I think what you're experiencing is very common to everyone. I know I've at least had the same problem. I distinctly remember years ago reading through a visual c++ book. I could read through the chapters and code the examples just fine, but I found whenever I tried to go out on my own I would have to come back to the book to try and remember how something was done, and before I knew it I was just copying example code once again.

First, continuing depends on how much you really want to code. If you're not enjoying it and feel you're wasting your time then I would suggest moving on to something you enjoy more and fell would get you more out of your time. However, if you really do want to continue and learn programming then it is defiantly not out of your reach. It all depends on how determined you are.

Noticable progress will show up eventually, but just keep at it. Keep your head in books, keep talking to other coders, keep experimenting with your own code even if it always seems broken. The key is to keep your brain ticking over in the subject. You will learn things, even if you don't notice it at first.

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What jyk described is actually what I am doing now. I am attempting to make a graphics library to the best of my C++ abilities right now. Obviously, I'm not going to be able to do it right away, with no problems. It happens. So I post here for help, see what others find, learn from their teaching, and incorporate learned material in further work.

Try as such people have described, you might be surprised at how well it works! ;)

FlyingIsFun1217

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I've been programming for ~4 years now, and I am just beginning to see how to solve a problem and put it into a program. All I can say is that TheMimic is right, it takes practice. You'll get it, 'til then, keep programming!

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I recommend you keep at it and you will achieve it. Programming takes lots of time but if you keep at it you will get it.

P.S. Check your PM messages.

Corrob

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Look like everyone have already mentioned everything except this one. You could play around with source code. Download some simple source code project and examine the code. If there are anything you cannot understand, you can ask in here. You might remove some lines of the code and test whether there are any effect to the project. I'm sure you will not only learn programming, but also learn the good habit programming and new technique from the source code. ^_^ Good Luck!

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Don’t be discouraged. You haven’t even started yet.

Programming isn’t hard. It’s like everything else; it just needs time to get used to. The problem is, depending on the subject, it may take a long time. So what if you’ve be learning for like what, 3 years? You haven’t reached that much level yet, so don’t worry if you feel you don’t understand a few things no matter how basic they seem.

And you can never be an all-knowing programmer. There are professional programmers with 20+ years of experience under their belt and still learn new things everyday.

My advice is (you already know this I think) get a book, s simple book. Use that book to ‘learn’ programming, then practice (a lot) to ‘understand’ it. And if you get stuck on anything, come back here and we’ll give you a hand :)

I’ll give you a year before you forget why you even posted this topic :P

Good luck, and cheers.

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Quote:
Original post by Marchosias
I've been trying to learn C# since 2005, trying to program applications and games, but it doesn't seem I am progressing at all.


Good. C# is a good language, and it's good that you're taking appraisal of your own progress. Though you might be trying to work on applications and games before you're ready. Usually people send a good amount of time working on little tidbits smaller than proper applications to get a good grasp of the language, the topic they're focusing on, and most importantly program design skills.

Quote:

My question is: Should I give up? Or should I continue and keep wasting my time?


Well wasting your time is just kinda dumb. You might want to give up, but I don't think anyone here will learn enough to answer for sure. Most likely you just need to re-target your learning; perhaps changing some habits to be better for you.

Quote:

On weekends I usually spend 12 hours on a single day, trying to learn from books and experimenting, yes I'm seeing no progress.


12 hours? Yikes. I know I can't learn for more than maybe 2 hours at a time before I need a long break to process it. I can't code for more than 4 or so without becoming fatigued and getting sloppy. Are you taking enough breaks? Do you pay attention to your own capabilities so you know when to just put it down for the day?

Quote:

I'm still not able to make anything I couldn't have made when I opened my first C# book.


After a point, you don't learn how to make new things so much as you learn to make them better, track down bugs faster, understand where you can improve things, and generally write more solid code.

Quote:

It's really frustrating, what's stopping me? Why can't I advance?


Most commonly in these situations it's because you're trying to do too much too soon. Without knowing more, it's hard to say.

Quote:

Do I have a learning disability? Is this a common problem for people who are trying to be self-taught?


It's not unheard-of.

Yeah, it's pretty common for anyone learning to think that they'll be able to knock out some 'simple' stuff in a very short time, failing to understand how complex even that is. It's also pretty common for beginners to get ahead of themselves and have trouble learning because they don't have a good foundation to learn off of.

Quote:

One of my problems is, I can read entire page and then when it comes time to answer the questions for that chapter, I don't know them. I can look them up in the book, but then I forget them right afterwards.


Which is perhaps a symptom of trying to learn while fatigued. Though jyk's point is also quite valid.

Quote:

Are some people incapable of being programmers?
Would it help if I tried a different language?


Sure, just like anything else, people will have aptitude for programming or not.
No, C# is a fine language and I suspect your problems are either with your learning process or with program design not with syntax.

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