What I’ve learned about Programming

A month and a half a go I wrote I was learning to code. That was probably a bit premature. While I have a much deeper understanding of what’s involved – my project has stalled.

After weeks, and weeks of reading – and trying lines of code that don’t work – and then searching and reading some more I’ve come some conclusions.

1. You can’t teach yourself! It ‘s simply too complex (inter-acting dependencies) and the syntax’s so strict that without a daily dialog with an experienced coder you never get enough lines written to really grasp what’s going on.

2. There’s a huge gulf between the myriad of simple tutorials and anything you’d actually want to do. As a non-programmer one need examples that are similar to what you’re trying to accomplish to learn. From the questions I’ve seen in forums experienced programmers sometimes do as well.

3. When choosing a platform – good documentation is critical. You’re going to need it some time and if it isn’t there – or the suggestion is read the source – move along unless you’re up for divining solutions.

4. Search doesn’t work for well for code. You can find lots of stuff but too often its a feast of links that are only marginally useful ( a lot of link reading to find what you need). And everyone uses slightly different nomenclature so each search has to be done repeatedly. It would be great to be able to eliminate specific sites from every search result, or forum questions without replies.

5. Forums are great but an active local users group is likely more important.

On one level I don’t feel too bad – because I’ve seen enough comments by experienced programmers who’ve beaten their heads against these problems – at another level I realize that something has to change if I’m going to learn.

I’m looking for a tutor familiar with Cakephp 1.2 and patient enough to guide a motivated neophyte to programming self-sufficiency. Interested? contact me.


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