Another Newbie Question: C or C++

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at
Wed Nov 12 09:28:18 PST 2003

> >I would recommend not trying to learn C or C++ by yourself from a book.
> >The fastest (and best way) to learn the right stuff is to take coursework 
> >from a university or community college.
> >If the courses are any good, you'll get feedback, and you'll be paced
> >and challenged with projects designed to help you learn.
> >
> >Going it alone in an unguided environment will only familiarize you
> >the lesser aspects of a language, if you last that long. The difficult
> >and most important aspects of the language (like pointers, virtual 
> >functions, references) will become almost insurmountable trial-and-error 
> >obstacles if you try to teach yourself.

This is a good point.  The person who takes a class should (prividing the 
class is well done) be guided through the whole range of the language.
Whereas someone learning on their own just picks up the pieces they
need at the moment and then fixates on those parts and doesn't go on
to learn the whole range of the language.

> If you want to get a lower paying and boring job programming in C/C++ for 
> whatever reason and have a piece of paper that says you can have that job, I 
> recommend wasting 4-6 months taking a course in your spare time to learn 
> C/C++. If you want to be top of your game and learn C/C++ without wasting 
> time on topics that take you a minute to understand, get a good book, 
> practice the topics you have learned at your own pace, get numorous code 
> examples for things you may want to do (sockets, GUI, OpenGL, ncurses, 
> threading, kernel interfacing) from the glorious and infinite internet and 
> emulate good programming style (using const qualifiers in C++, using 
> #defines in C, etc.). Also be prepared to teach yourself because you may not 
> always be prepared for a job you may find yourself with; learn how to easily 
> learn and use external libraries.

The only really valuable thing from this flame is the implication that
you must go on and keep using the new learning and add to it from
man sources.   It is not a waste of time to learn it right from the start.

> The best programmers will teach themselves. A statement that may be on the 
> borderline of opinion to fact by constant example. After all the first 
> programmer, in fact, taught herself.

And it was a lifelong mistake-filled iterative process.   If the material 
was already there in the beginning as it is for C, C++, Fortran, Assembly,
etc, then that lifelong process could have started at a higher level of
understanding and moved on from their instead of having to spend so
many years of rummaging around at the primative levels.

Mostly, I am just responding to the making of a sweeping generalization
that may apply to a very few, but for the most is meaningless.  It seems
to take a narrow viewpoint to make up a flame.


> -Rian Hunter

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