Topic Author
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What Computer Language To Learn?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 5:11 pm

I am currently doing my A levels and I am looking for a realtvily easy and not time consuming language to learn.Any ideas?
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RE: What Computer Language To Learn?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 5:13 pm

Try C or C++, those are about the two standard languages around now. Everybody just about learns with them...

If you want something a little more modern you may want to give ADA a shot but books on the C languages will be easier to find.
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RE: What Computer Language To Learn?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 5:14 pm

VB is the easiest to learn and is used in tons of business applications.
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RE: What Computer Language To Learn?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 5:32 pm

ADA? People use ADA?

I would recommend Java as a good language to learn, it is a elegant, modern object oriented language, and is very well documented on Sun's web site http://java.sun.com/. But be sure to use real Java, not Microsoft Visual J++. Many universities are using it in their introductory programming classes.

C is another interesting language, but can be rather daunting to learn. C++ is C with added object oriented ideas, but not done as well as Java (all three use very similar syntax). I haven't used Objective C but I hear it's a better implementation of an object oriented version of C than C++ is.

BASIC isn't used much anymore, though there are some things out there done with Visual Basic and RealBASIC. But you're probably better off learning a modern language.

Pascal was designed as a teaching language, but isn't really that popular.

I started out programming in BASIC on the Apple II, later going to Pascal on MS-DOS, and now primarily use Java and C on Solaris, Mac OS X, and occasionally Windows.

David / SAN

RE: What Computer Language To Learn?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 5:51 pm

I agree with CPDC10-30, Visual Basic is probably your best bet. VC++ & Java have too steep a learning curve for the beginner.
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RE: What Computer Language To Learn?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 7:41 pm

Actually, Java is starting to be used as the intro language in many CS programs at high schools and universities in the US. The AP computer science test, the US equivalent of A-levels, is in Java (or will be changing to it soon.)

VB is for business majors who are wannabe programmers!  Smile

Yeah, go with Java (or C, although C may be more difficult -- in terms of thinking about pointers, and memory, etc)
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RE: What Computer Language To Learn?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 7:51 pm

C++ or Java are the best choices if you want to use the language professionally.
There is also a stable market for Cobol and PL/1 programmers, but those are not the most interesting or paying jobs (though they are usually extremely stable in terms of jobsecurity).
I wish I were flying
BCal Dc10
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RE: What Computer Language To Learn?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 8:00 pm

Jwenting has a good point.
I work for an IT consultancy, and started as a Cobol AP, then cross trained to Java.
(I'm now in marketing but thats not the point).

The cobol/pl1 guys are all in stable work, and is starting to become better paid as well.
The Java guys have no work whatsoever, as no one is spending on IT development, its all on maintenance and support of existing (cobol/pl1) systems, to try and save money. (here in the UK anyway).
When times are bad, the first to go is IT development, which tends to be 4GL language based.

The 3GL's are safe as its what the core systems tend to be written in.

I can't say one is better than the other, just horses for courses, thats all.
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RE: What Computer Language To Learn?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 9:30 pm

same here, BCal. We're hard pressed to find projects for our people (including me) on the continent as well.

I started out in Pascal/Delphi and C++, was crosstrained to Cobol when the project I was hired for got cancelled a week before it was supposed to start, then shifted to a C project. After that came C++ which was later changed into Java (which I had learned on the side).

Only thing to avoid like the plague is MCSE/MCSD. We (and many of our customers) are not hiring those anymore on principle unless they have years of experience. Most are just not up to it, the exams are far too easy and do not teach any of the stuff you really should know.
I wish I were flying
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RE: What Computer Language To Learn?

Wed Feb 06, 2002 9:45 pm

Whats the market for ADA programmers like???

Not that I know it...but my understanding is that is a NATO standardized language.

Yes Hawaiian people use ADA....I used to have a compiler for it on the same harddrive as my COBAL compiler.
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RE: What Computer Language To Learn?

Thu Feb 07, 2002 3:15 am

I personally think u ought to go for C and C++. Do your C especially well, as it serves as a foundation for whatever you want to do.

Having taught over 100 batches of VB/ASP in the past 2 years, i can say that You cant be a good ( and i mean GOOD) programmer in Java or VB if your base is weak. C helps build that base in core logic building and programming concepts, while C++ helps in understanding OOP concepts.

A thorough understanding of these helps u while working on Java and VB later on.




Thu Feb 07, 2002 3:47 am

G-KIRAN, perhaps you can tell us what you intend to use the programming for? Do you want something just to "mess around" with while still at school, or are you planning a career in programming?

If the former, I would stick by my suggestion of VB. The IDE is easy to use and you'll be able to generate applications a lot sooner after starting.

If the latter, you're best off following Indianguy's (and others) advice and starting out on C++. As I said before, the learning curve is a lot steeper, but skills and techniques you'll pick up are more valuable in the long run.
The older pre-OOP C+ was the first "real" language I cut my teeth on (back in 1987), and it seems to have stood me in good stead.
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RE: What Computer Language To Learn?

Thu Feb 07, 2002 5:47 am

ADA is used mainly in the defense/aerospace world, I think, but not much outside it.
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RE: What Computer Language To Learn?

Thu Feb 07, 2002 6:53 am

Depends on what you want to do. If you intend to gravitate towards engineering fields, by all means, learn C/C++. If you are interested in working on web design and stuff, go for Java. VB is easy, but its more suited to developing nifty Windows apps in a hurry than anything else. Personally I happen to know all of them, though I use C/C++ way more than the others, being a Comp.Sci grad student.
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RE: What Computer Language To Learn?

Thu Feb 07, 2002 7:12 am

C++ is indeed a good start. It´s got several snags and peculiarities, but nothing that can´t be mastered. It´s the default for most of today´s application and operating system development. C++ compilers are available for practically every platform or purpose.
C is a subset of C++; But the "++" part (classes and objects) isn´t rocket science, either.

Java is also a good place to start. It´s cleaner than C++, with more clarity and a better foundation; But it´s not (yet) as easily turned into a usable application as with C. But it´s getting there. And Java is immediately portable by design. (Provided you´ve got the runtime environment on your machine, which isn´t a problem anymore.
Corporate e-Business is getting more and more based on java server applications.

I wouldn´t use BASIC unless I´m forced to...  Wink/being sarcastic
BASIC programs end in a mess by default. It´s very hard to keep BASIC programs maintainable. And BASIC isn´t standardized. There are hundreds of mutually incompatible dialects; Your experience with one of them can be more of a burden than an asset.

Assembler is also a very good start, but not everybody would like to do it this way (in fact, it scares most people like hell Big grin). It will give you a lot more insight, but it´s only for real men...  Big thumbs up
And for most applications, you won´t have to dive quite that deep. But it´s still indispensable for time-critical components, because even a good C compiler will give you at most half the speed of a decent assembly implementation. But that doesn´t matter all that much unless you´re planning to write real-time video CoDecs.  Wink/being sarcastic
And, of course, assembly language isn´t very portable.

COBOL: As far as I know, it´s slowly dying out, even among bank and insurance IT departments...  Wink/being sarcastic

ADA: Nice to hear it´s still around (it´s not really new anymore). But it´s a very small niche - even if an interesting one. And compilers aren´t exactly cheap.

But whatever language you might choose in the end:

  • Document your code!!!! Not just for anybody else, but especially for your own good! You will want to understand your own stuff even next year! (Famous last words: "The code is obvious!" No, it isn´tWink/being sarcastic)

  • The debugger is your friend! Tracing your own code is the best and fastest way to find out why you intended A and it gives you B.

  • Don´t be afraid to experiment! Unless you´re fiddling with your operating system´s harddisk formatting routines it´s usually a good idea to make a few experiments if you´ve got trouble understanding something in a book.

  • While I´m at it: A good book can help a lot! The compiler documentation won´t get you far, in most cases. Even better if you´ve got somebody you can ask.

Good luck, and have fun!  Smile

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