Best method for learning

What do you programmers recommend is the best way to learn a programming language and why? Also, before there were any books on for example C or C++ how did students in computer science learn to program? I read somewhere that they had no books on C awhile back.

Comments

  • I've been programming since 1985 and there have always been books. The Art of Computer Programming was written in 1962-1972 by the inventor of C language and consisted of at least 8 volumes. The C Programming Language was first published in 1978 and is probably the first book on C language. C language itself wasn't invented until 1969 at AT&T Bell Labs.

    So I don't think there ever was a time when there were no books about C language. Before that computers were hardwired with their programs. I have no idea how people learned to do that, but most likely how mechanics today learn to fix cars.
  • thats maybe true in your time Ancient Dragon but in this time of age there is only limited knowledge that can be found in a book but if from youtube or from any online resources, in my opinion we can get an unlimited resources we can get our hand on and we can get that for free, whereas books cost a lot of money.

    There are two types of learning capabilities, one learn from the books and another learn by doing the actual work. So to fix a car wont it be easier to get their hand on a car first hand instead of open a book and if you don't understand something there're always google and youtube, no?
  • At one time I bought a lot of computer books but I haven't done so for years. The main reasons for this change are:
    1. Information available on the web
    2. Improved help files
    3. I now live a long way from a book shop (and like to see a book before I buy)
    Despite this I do still use my books, I am just not keeping my library up-to-date. Maybe this will come back and bite me at some point.
  • I would say a combination of things. Books are great but nothing beats actually coding and exercising what you've learned from those books. Tweaking things and here and observing the result.
  • Absolutely. Just reading the book is of no use on its own, you have to try to apply what you read. Same for online sources, or formal classes etc. You need to write your own code to really absorb the material.
  • That's why you want to do all the problems at the end of each chapter to make sure you understand what you learned.
  • What if you do not understand what you learned. Should you start over. If so where do you go from there?
  • In that case I would take a step back and figure out exactly what I don't understand about it. It may very well be that I'm taking things too fast and skipping over valuable information that could clarify everything I'm missing. Or it could be that I'm thinking about things too hard and making too many false assumptions about the content I'm reading.
  • Books and school for me. Programming courses in high school got me interested, so I took a 3 year programming course in college. I learned a great deal from that program, but also learned that being able to learn on your own is a very important skill. Books and API references are essential regardless of going to school or not though. I suppose online tutorials are useful as well, and fall into the same categories of books.

    I find video tutorials really painful to sit through, so I never use them.
  • >I find video tutorials really painful to sit through, so I never use them

    Agree. The last one II tried to watch the narrator was just awful speaker. And they don't cover very much material due to limited time of the youtube video. IMO books are much better because you can be writing a program on the computer at the same time you are studying or using the book for reference. It's difficult to do that with video and online tutorials.
  • >I find video tutorials really painful to sit through, so I never use them

    Agree. The last one II tried to watch the narrator was just awful speaker. And they don't cover very much material due to limited time of the youtube video. IMO books are much better because you can be writing a program on the computer at the same time you are studying or using the book for reference. It's difficult to do that with video and online tutorials.

    Dragon said it best.

    For myself I find reading it in a textbook or online is best because you can learn it at your own pace and keep up with the code compared to in a video you have to re-watch the video to get the best understanding as in a book you can read the one particular spot in a book to understand. I mean videos work but, in the end it all depends on what you learn best from.
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