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Dr Chi

Learning C++ by book VS degree

11 posts in this topic

what are the pros and cons of both? who of you learnt by a degree or only a book? I am half way through a Commerce/Info Sys degree and I realize that there is no more programming in the IS part. I also realize that to get a real programming job, I need to know more than just some Java and Delphi (which is what I know so far). I guess the question is should I try and pick up C++ using a book or should I go for the harder option and try a Computer Science degree? thanx!
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Computer Science degree will teach u the basics of C++ enough to make a working program... it wont go into depth tho..
Dunno about the book...!!!
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I personally have learned by the book. Dispite I had two years of High School Comp Sci, which was nothing more than which I already knew. I say if you want to learn on your own, at your own pace, expecially if you''re motivated, go the book way. The Comp Sci Degree is also a nice piece of paper to have. I personally believe you learn more through a book only if you are truely movited and have the will to learn and excel at the topic at hand weither it be programming, or baking.

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You cannot learn more on your own than you can/will through a Computer Science degree. There are things that you will not even be aware of - and therefore would never read up on - that you will be taught in Computer Science (the vast majority of programmers, for example, do not understand algorithm analysis while Comp Sci majors/graduates are required to know that stuff).

Go with self-study as a supplement.
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What uni Dr Chi? I''m from UNSW.

I learned most of the stuff from CompSci. Learning from a book doesn''t give you a greater understanding than from uni. There is more support, feedback, etc from uni. If your into gamedev there is a new course in UNSW that deals with advanced gfx topics, character animation etc.
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thankyou all

I was hoping that there would be a really good book that would eliminate the need for another degree ...

I have made one "educational" java game for an assignment for a programming subject. It was pretty hard to do but the result was satisfying. Anyway, I want to be able to have a go at C++ first before I change my whole degree.

hi -=Code=-, I''m from Melb Uni. That new course in NSW sounds interesting.
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I have to agree with Oluseyi, a CS degree gives you a background that you can''t pick up from a book. I am currently in the process of interviewing (finishing up my CS degree in December), and 90% of the companies I am interviewing with wouldn''t even meet with me unless I had (or would soon have) a CS degree.

The key point seems to be the experience in creating projects in a group. You can certainly teach yourself the language through books, but you just won''t get some other things. The whole concept of working as a team on a project, deciding which algorithms, data structures, etc. to use based on their efficiency. Unless you buy a book which deals with those issues (it''s really hard go through books like that without grades motivating you), you won''t get experience with them.

That said, I decided halfway through a math degree to change to computer science. It was a tough transition, but one I think it was the right one. Sorry if I sound pessimistic, I just thought I''d offer my opinion.

www.geocities.com/saetrum
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You can learn a lot from a book, but no one book will have everything you need. A book may be strong in one area but weak in another area. I have taking some classes with some bad teachers. Let''s not say bad, just that they had to slow down teaching for the people who do not take time comprehend the language. It does not take 2 weeks to learn how to write a FOR loop in C++. Besides 98% of the people in the class already took pascal and C. The degree is important! Along with the degree, some pratical experience will help. Imagine having a 3.5 gpa but can not even write a simple "hello" program. Furthermore, you have to keep learning outside of the classroom. The job market is very competitive.


-----------------------------
"There are ones that say they can and there are those who actually do."

"...u can not learn programming in a class, you have to learn it on your own."

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Heya All,

I''ve written up an essay on this issue and more and I finished revising it last night. You might be interested in what I have to say about the topic. It is not necessarily about book learning versus a degree pursuit but rather what is important as far as education is concerned for someone who wants to program games.

Check it out at:
Programming Advice

While you''re at it check out the rest of the development website at:
Numia Politico Development Website

Peace,

RandomTask
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I''ve written about this before but I''ll say it again...

Books - They are great learning tools. The main problem with learning from books is that you can goto any page and start reading. This ability gives the reader a level of freedom which they often take advantage of. "I don''t need to know how to write the hello world program, I''ll move directly into File I/O". For those people who actualy know the language and it''s theories this is great because the book is mearly a refrence. For those who are learning it often causes them to miss things that are more important then they realize. An Example of this would be moving onto linked lists after skipping the section on pointers. Which is why most books are ordered in a specific way. If the reader follows the book page by page chapter by chapter then things will work out alright. Typicaly book learning works very well for those of us who are Visual/Kenetic Learners.

Degree - Well a degree isn''t much different from a book. The courses are structured in a way that is supposed to teach you how to think. The benefits to a degree are as follows:

#1. You have an experianced (hopefuly) teacher who can answer your questions.

#2. Not only are you learning Visualy and Keneticly while in the lecture those who need audio que''s to learn also benefit.

#3. Your forced to do assignments that you would normaly consider "Stupid" and "useless". Which benefits you in the long run.

The downside is that the majority of tests are conducted on paper even for language classes such as C. I''ve never understood why this is done, it is more logical to place someone on a computer and say you have 15 min to make a program. Which leads to the major problem with degrees. Because so many university degree programs tests are conducted on paper there is very little actual programming time. Theory is what is enforced, and programming experiance is put out to pasture. So while you maybe able to code yourself a linked list, or Binary Search Tree, little things like syntax errors, and adding libraries to your project will throw you for a loop.
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As hinted at above, a CS courses at universities aren''t meant to teach you C++/C/Java/Perl/Scheme/etc.. but rather to teach you theory that you can use in any language, as well as other "computery" stuff like operating systems, algorithm design and analysis, databases, and the math behind all of this. In fact, from what I''ve seen, most univerities expect you to know C++ (or perhaps java) before you even begin. The problem with this however, as mentioned above, is that you may end up with 99% theory and 1% practice. However, provided you work on your own projects outside of class, this severity of this problem can be reduced.

So, in essence, the question of "Which is better at teaching C++; books or unis" isn''t very well phrased (no offense! ) because most universities don''t teach a specific language, but rather teach you techniques that can be used in any language (and other fields not directly related to programming). Now, if you wanted to debate the merits of learning everything that is ''Computer Science'' from books or universities, that''d be a more accurate question.
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