Computer Programming

  texter 11:14 24 Mar 10

My son is 15 and wants to learn computer programming. But at what level of mathematics should he aim for in order to realise his ambition?

  Bebee 13:55 24 Mar 10

I would suggest looking at the entry qualifications for the appropriate courses.

  texter 15:28 24 Mar 10

Gee thanks Bebee

  onionskin 00:41 25 Mar 10

Bebee is right. It's not that you need to be a great mathematician to program a computer, O level algebra and a bit of trigonometry will see you through, it's more that the maths qualification is used as an indicator of apptitude for the job.

I'm not a professional programmer, I picked it up and just do a bit of graphics programming to amuse myself, but for what it's worth, here's my advice -

Too see if he really wants to learn programming, I suggest your son downloads Microsoft's Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition, from here click here he'll probably want the Games SDK too :)

He might prefer C#, which seems to be the way forward, (or is that Cflat now?) but C++ is more fun, and probably a better first language to learn (my opinion).

He should do a bit of reading, such as
click here

If he goes for C++, charity shops are a good source of books such as Windows95 programming for Dummies or Windows95 Programming Nuts and Bolts, which deal with the Windows API, but he'll need to learn C++ from another source. Get a few books out of the library, have a read, see which one suits and buy it for future reference.

I'd start with the cut-down (and free) Express Edition software, which doesn't allow you to use the all singing, all dancing, MFC. If you shell out for the full Visual Studio package, it'll be too overwhelming, he'll find that it does so much of the work, he won't know what any of the code is doing.

  onionskin 00:42 25 Mar 10

*to see, not TOO see!

  texter 06:19 25 Mar 10

Thanks for all replies and links everyone!

  progcomputeach 15:00 29 Jul 10

Generally you only need a basic level of Maths to do programming. Programming has a series of logical "constructs" which you will work with. Programming WILL involve lots of problem solving and an amount of Maths ranging from a little to lots. However there are lots of programs where Maths is hardly used.

Programming is just lines of code which do task in order, one by one.

You do not need a degree in Maths to program-in fact I know guys who graduated in Russian and History who programmed. I also know of programmers who had no certifications at all and have done well. Its down to the programmer and what they want to do...

Onionskin is right-go for the Visual C# express edition and try coding-this software is free to download.

  progcomputeach 12:23 30 Jul 10

I thought it would be good to write down a list of things you can do to improve your programming and job prospects when you have learned what you need to. To get the ball rolling:

a. learn the syntax of the language(and a Framework if there is one. E.g. .NET)
b. improve your coding by practising lots- the more you do the more you will reduce the number of errors you make. Having written lots of code you will remember what works and what does not
c. improve your problem solving-you will often have to work on this before writing your program
d. create a portfolio of programs which you can present to potential employers-perhaps upload them to a website
e. Put yourself in the shoes of the person using your program-what would you like to see, how would you like to use the program? This will help you (as a programmer) make the program easier to use.
f. Take some exams :-)
For instance the Microsoft exams are described at:

click here

Suggestions, additions and comments are most welcome.

  progcomputeach 16:15 30 Jul 10

How many people out there are interested in programming. If so what languages have you used?

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