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Order of which to do things

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What i mean is there a good 'timeline' for studying programming? Is there a structure i should follow for the first year or so of proper programming(not playing with console i/o)? it is easy to follow a basic tutorial then a <insert library here> tutorial but what after that? I am still about midway through my basic tutorial(for object pascal) and have been taking comprehensive notes if that helps at all.

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You definitely should go to some college or university. It is hard to learn everything by yourself.

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That just means you have more time to get it sorted out. Get your grades high and look into loans, etc. If you can keep that up then just start picking up tutorials and such for your interests, which will also help you to choose courses once you're ready for college.

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Generally the order for undergrads in college is more or less this (language of choice depends on the college - often Java):

Basic programming concepts: Variables, data types, looping, conditionals, compilers, linking, etc
Data Structures and Algorithms: Arrays, Vectors, Linked Lists, Stacks, Queues, Graphs, Hashing functions, search and sort algorithms, etc
Discrete Mathematics
Assembly Language
Object Oriented Programming - Design patterns, UML, OOD
Operating Systems

and then a mix of electives to round it all out (graphics, database, networking, whatever you're interested in). Edited by Steve_Segreto

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You don't need to go to college. The internet provides all the required information.

If you know what you want to learn, and you have basic reading and comprehension skills (along with free time to study), you can reach any level of mastery.

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Pick a project that seems challenging but doable. Finish it and you will have learned something useful along the way. Rinse. Repeat.

If there is something you are interested in learning, pick a challenge that requires learning about it. More challenging projects are more rewarding if you complete them, but you'll get frustrated if you can't make progress. If you do get stuck, perhaps you can find a related easier challenge to tackle first, and then get back to the more difficult one.

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You don't need to go to college. The internet provides all the required information.

I fear for a generation that has learned everything by studying from the internet. I'm no luddite, but we're definitely not to a place where the 'net is a trustworthy reference manual. Web resources need a degree of experience or blind luck to filter through all the bad blogs and tutorials in order to find the good, rigorous instruction that will give people the right foundation. Colleges seek to get ABET accreditation for a reason, standards exist to ensure degree holders actually know the right stuff when they graduate.

I'm not saying it's not possible, I've learned a LOT from this site alone, and there are indeed tons of great sources of information, but the signal to noise ratio is still fairly bad, and a lot of what I picked up happened after I got a formal foundation in programming from a university that let me recognize mistakes and/or selectively glean the good bits out of an otherwise useless blog post.

Documentation for APIs? Absolutely. Neat snippets of code (especially game-technology-related information)? Sure. I'd lean towards material that has passed a publisher's check though (and even that's not completely foolproof) as opposed to any random joe's tutorial on programming. It's just as easy to pick up bad habits and concepts for a beginner who can't tell the chaff from the wheat.

Now, since OP is so young, my point is a little future-centric. I'd stick to a good book or two (search around this site, lots of great book recommendations) to get my feet under me, and as a bonus books travel anywhere and don't need 'net access :) And give yourself targets, like Alvaro mentioned. Academic/tutorial exercises are so sterile and singularly purposed, you really start learning a lot about code interaction and design when you try to write software that does something you want.

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Web resources need a degree of experience or blind luck to filter through all the bad blogs and tutorials in order to find the good, rigorous instruction that will give people the right foundation.


One has to do research, as with anything else: If you're unsure about the quality of the resource, you should ask around. If you're dealing with something sub-par, the experienced developers here on gamedev would be more than willing to confirm that.

Also, there's more to the internet than just "blogs and tutorials". Top universities (MiT, Stanford, Berkley, etc) provide the bulk of their curriculum online. I don't agree with some of their teaching approaches (as prestigious as those institutions are), but I'm pretty sure that they have their facts straight, so anyone willing to learn can start there, with full confidence that they're not consuming garbage.


standards exist to ensure degree holders actually know the right stuff when they graduate


Yet so many degree holders fail a simple FizzBuzz test.

You could argue that they're just not driven enough, and that academic institutions are not there to "hold hands", but that's basically an argument that supports my original point: Ultimately, it's all up to the individual, and there's no need to pay someone for the privilege that is inherently yours (to study).

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