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Programming skills - born or made?

Discussion in 'Programming and Homework Questions' started by brncao, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. brncao

    brncao Notebook Evangelist

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    One month into the semester taking a Java programming course, and from what I've seen, most students seem to be struggling, a few are good at it, and some are decent. I'm wondering if having great analytical skills and logic is something you're born with or can it be obtained with enough practice?

    What makes people really good at programming? Is it because they've done it since childhood? People who tinker with computer programming during their childhood seem to develop great analytical skills and logic to be able to do these things in college on the fly. Is that true?
     
  2. invisible

    invisible Notebook Prophet

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    While some are gifted more than others, anything can be learned.
     
  3. Jarhead

    Jarhead Luigi #1

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    Had the same situation in my Visual Basic .NET class. Most weren't doing well or weren't interested, and the few of us that were interested did good/great at it. I suppose that they could have learned it over time, but it soon turned into a programming class into "do X in Excel (very mundane task, lots of repetition), then do X all over again in a VB window". I even found it hard to keep interest after that.
     
  4. brncao

    brncao Notebook Evangelist

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    What makes one "gifted" in the first place? By working hard at it? Students do work hard at it, I can sense the enthusiasm of creating their first working program. The difference is that some people seem to be better than others. It's as if you're suppose to have a basic understanding of programming before you enter the class even though this course IS an intro to programming.
     
  5. invisible

    invisible Notebook Prophet

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    Some people just have an affinity for certain things. I believe people can be born with certain gifts, whether it be musical talent, an affinity for languages, whatever. Some people just tend to gravitate more to it than others. With programming, you do have to have a certain level of problem solving skills or you're going to have a hell of a time debugging code.
     
  6. Jarhead

    Jarhead Luigi #1

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    I was considered a gifted student back in grade school. Some of it was that I was a quick learner, some was that I enjoy learning something productive (high school taught me that high school tends not to be productive unless youre in honors or above, sadly), and I would be that guy that studied for a class before actually taking it.
     
  7. Thaenatos

    Thaenatos Zero Cool

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    While becoming a great programmer can be learned, there is an underlying piece. Most who become great at it are more natural at computer logic then others. Im taking some refresher classes and there are some very intellegent people who just dont get it. Does that make them stupid? No, their brains work differently and they are intelligent in other ways.

    You have to be intelligent to be a competent programmer let alone a great one. But the flip side is just because you are intelligent doesnt mean you can be a competent programmer.
     
  8. brncao

    brncao Notebook Evangelist

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    I'm ok at programming, but this is coming from what I can pick up from the books and online tutorials. For some reason I always feel they're dumbed-down. I can learn it alright, I catch on quickly, but when it comes to problems that are a little more sophisticated, I get stuck. I "wish" I could do better, but I can't. I look at the pros and I sometimes envy them. Being here in college I feel like they teach you the basics, but a lot of times they'll tell you to find it online (i.e. Google) to further expand upon your knowledge. So 10% is in college and 90% is self-taught:confused: All of a sudden I don't feel prepared for the real world...
     
  9. invisible

    invisible Notebook Prophet

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    But that's how you learn, and that is preparing you for the real world. Most of the stuff you'll have to figure it out on your own. You'll have someone tell you, I want X done and Y done, and you'll have to figure out how to implement that. Problem solving skills are such a huge base of programming skills. I'm self taught, and I learned through trial and error, tutorials, trying out my own ideas, and I built my knowlege block by block, piece by piece.
    I don't know what else to tell you. You will only get out of it what you put into it.
     
  10. Thaenatos

    Thaenatos Zero Cool

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    Even the smartest programmers have to learn syntax and at first syntax is what blocks most budding programmers. If you understand the logic somewhat then its only a matter of learning the tools and how to mold them into working the logic the most effective way possible.
     
  11. Jarhead

    Jarhead Luigi #1

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    I feel the same as brnaco when it comes to programming. My first intro to it was when I decided to learn a little C++ for the robotics team I was on. Was taught by a friend in the team and he wasn't exactly cut for teaching lol, as all of us were confused to some extent. Then I bought a For Dummies book on it, learned a little more, but still don't know the complex stuff.

    Then I went to Visual Basic .NET and learned better in the traditional classroom environment, but yet again I don't know enough for the real world. Biggest problem of that class was that we weren't taught how to store data from an application (maybe something like File > Save As); when I wrote a program for my robotics team, I ended up using Excel as the heavy-lifter and my program ended up being a messy memory hog.
     
  12. Thaenatos

    Thaenatos Zero Cool

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    Sadly classes in general and especially syntax classes will not even scratch the surface of what you need to know for the real world. Its the combo of syntax classes, theory classes and personal research/knowledge that will give you a good chunk of what you need to enter the work force. Sadly school alone even if done right will not give you knowledge you need and extracurricular coding and research are needed.

    All the professional coding I have done (pretty limited) showed me all this. I thouhgt I had a great grasp on logic and syntax until I left the classroom. Same goes for IT and networking.
     
  13. Sonicjet

    Sonicjet Notebook Evangelist

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    Some are learned but a large number of good coders have a very specific personality type, Myers Briggs type format says mostly the "NT" trait, The I Causes more experience (less social), and "J"s have better diligence, "P"s have more creative plans.
    I'm an INTP, and honestly, I find it extremely easy and enjoyable (Been messing with combining stuff recently JS+Canvas+ Android = :)), but that is the honest truth, not trying to brag or anything like that.
     
  14. Thaenatos

    Thaenatos Zero Cool

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    Ill have to take a look at this personality type format you speak of. But I do agree its more ingrained then most give credit.

    As for canvas my local community college uses a canvas webpage for enhancing things. Not too shabby.

    Edit: Ok so I took a look and it seems Im cross between ISTP and INTP.

    I seem to have equal traits in both N and S like:

    Using common sense and creating practical solutions is automatic-instinctual - S trait
    Memory recall is rich in detail of facts and past events - S trait

    Mentally live in the Future, attending to future possibilities - N trait
    Best improvise from theoretical understanding - N trait

    I also have a great imagination, but I dont think Im very creative person.
     
  15. Jarhead

    Jarhead Luigi #1

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    According to humanmetrics (first link to the MB test), I'm INTJ (39, 50, 38, 67). I really shouldn't be surprised, since I don't mind being alone and I can be a bit judgmental >.<
     
  16. Thaenatos

    Thaenatos Zero Cool

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    I went through that test and it told me ENTJ and one of the descriptions was Field Marshall LOL. But it said one of my technical fields suited for me is programming and I take that as another good sign that its for me. :)
     
  17. redrazor11

    redrazor11 Formerly waterwizard11

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    Being a senior in computer science, I've come to realize that the best programmers are the ones who enjoy it. Unfortunately, not many people enjoy crunching numbers, or spending hours tracking down the source of a bug. Far too often this is what a beginner will associate with programming. Sifting through blocks of text looking for the character they typed wrong :(.

    Luckily just about anything can be created with a little imagination...so it's just a matter of finding something that you enjoy enough to sledge through the bugs and learning process. :)

    For example, even though it can be extremely tedious to program a game...most would agree that the outcome (enjoyable) is worth the effort (maybe not so enjoyable).
     
  18. Johnny T

    Johnny T Forum Moderator Moderator

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    ^That.

    Personally I am not much of a programmer (in my last year of a civil engineering degree), but I do enjoy problem solving aspect of it. Sphinx is right about learning the "tools", as with most problem solving, you need to understand and know how to use the tools available to you in order for you to effectively solve the problem.

    That gets me everytime! :mad:
     
  19. s1ice

    s1ice Notebook Enthusiast

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    Both natural ability and practice are factors, much like in mathematics. I agree that the barrier to entry is the tediousness of the syntax.

    This is somewhat unrelated but I love this description:
    Programming is the art of teaching a computer to solve problems.
     
  20. N1L

    N1L Notebook Guru

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    Programming is just like any other skills. There is always room for improvements. Some are faster than others, because some are just good in math and logic. I think the idea behind them remain the same to fulfill the objective of programming. I would lean toward the "made" skill side. Seriously there are many ways to program a single operation. While the talented or born with skill person may know how to solve it fast, but the one with more experience + skill, will know which one would be better for it. I just love programming, I really don't care if it's born or made, I just want to improve as much as I can.



    INTJ - Keirsey Temperament Website - Portrait of the Rational Mastermind (INTJ)
    Computer Programming was my first career choice. Thanks @Sonicjet for this. This boosted my career choice.

    It might sound a little off topic, but what are top programming colleges in U.S.?
     
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