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I've just realised that I've spent more time browsing Programmers.SE than actually doing the exercises I should be doing for my Computer Science degree this hour - they aren't coursework, just timetabled, supported, lab sessions - this time basic SQL SELECT statements.

I already know SQL, but I have trouble writing syntactically correct statements first time. The exercises are along the form of "Write a query to get the names of all the pets born more than 10 years ago sorted by owner surname".

Is it bad that I'm doing this? I think this is more useful than those exercises, but I'm not too sure.

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More useful maybe, but until you can get marks for reading this site, you should do your homework. Especially if you're browsing the site during class/lab time. –  Tyanna Feb 18 '11 at 17:05
I hate education inflation. College now days is just High school +. Do your damn homework, Sam, be nice to the future you. By the way, did you know that sophomore stands for "wise fool"? –  Job Feb 19 '11 at 5:22
@Job I didn't know that, but then again I'm a Brit so I rarely come across the term sophomore. –  Megan Walker Feb 19 '11 at 13:04
On the plus side, most of your coursemates will be browsing Reddit instead of paying attention to their degrees, so you're still ahead of the game here. –  Tom Anderson Jul 29 '12 at 22:07

6 Answers 6

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Yes. It's bad. Do your schoolwork.

If you can't write a simple SQL statement first try, then you do not know SQL.

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Simple is relative. Plus I was speaking generally about syntactically correct queries. Inserts and Updates are the main prblem in that vein, but this lab doesn't cover it. INENR JOINs are about the level I start slipping up when doing SELECTS - and this lab only touches on it. –  Megan Walker Feb 18 '11 at 17:05
@Samuel It's hard for us to say what you will get out of the site vs the exercises. To me it's just an issue of discipline. Do your work first, then supplement learning at school by hanging out here (and on SO + other dev-related sites like DBA.SE). You may be learning here as well, but as @JamesLove said, you still have exams to pass and saying "I chose to spend time on the internet instead" is not a valid excuse. If you know the SQL needed 100%, it shouldn' take long to finish the lab and free you to do other things. –  Anna Lear Feb 18 '11 at 17:09
JOINS (INNER, OUTER, LEFT, RIGHT, etc) are all fundamental to SQL. If you're struggling with them and your course only touches on them lightly, then I think you do need to study the course more. –  James Love Feb 18 '11 at 17:27
It's not the course that touches on it lightly, its just the lab sheets that we were doing that day. Having said that, I've never had the need to write a JOIN statement (so didn't think they were that fundamental), but I shall bow to your superior knowledge in that regard –  Megan Walker Feb 19 '11 at 13:06
Joins are very, very fundamental. If you're not writing joins, then you might as well be keeping your data in flat files, really. Joins (and their cousins the subqueries, inline views, common table expressions, etc) are where the real power of the relational model lies. –  Tom Anderson Jul 29 '12 at 22:14

I already know SQL, but I have trouble writing syntactically correct statements first time.

If you were responsible for hiring at a company, would you give a job to the fresh-faced graduate who said the sentence above?

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You won't get any job if you don't do your homework, which in the end leads to this site won't be helpful since you don't have any job.

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Yes its bad.

When you're working on some tedious boring programming task you'll want the discipline to focus on it instead of switching to Programmers.SE and browsing. Good discipline is easier when practiced early.

Instead, get what you are supposed to do done quickly, and use whatever time you have remaining to browse programmers.SE. The faster you get your task done, the more time you have to browse.

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What's worse for a man than doing the work he is supposed to do and doing what's fun - is being in doubt if his action is bad.

So what i have learned is keeping having fun and there are some forces which make me doing my work almost in time. I am still alive so it proved right.

take it easy. I am in same boat. May be i do some sql on informix. later... ;-)

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Don't become complacent. You might know the stuff inside out but if you miss critical detail in the questions you could start failing exams.

Know that you know your stuff, but at the same time know you have exams to pass that focus on specific topics.

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