Learning new skills, programming languages, frameworks, ways to get in the zone, remembering, and generally improving one's skills. Closely related to teaching.

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150
votes
11answers
45k views

How can I find a good open source project to join? [closed]

I just started working a year ago, and I want to join an open source project for the same reasons as anyone else: help create something useful and develop my skills further. My problem is, I don't ...
105
votes
10answers
11k views

On developing deep programming knowledge

Occasionally I see questions about edge cases and other weirdness on Stack Overflow that are easily answered by the likes of Jon Skeet and Eric Lippert, demonstrating a deep knowledge of the language ...
105
votes
18answers
27k views

How does learning assembly aid in programming?

I have been programming in higher level languages (Python, C#, VBA, VB.NET) for around 10 years and I have completely zero understanding on what's going on, "under the hood." I am wondering what are ...
96
votes
11answers
58k views

How can I teach a bright person, with no programming experience, how to program? [closed]

I have been asked to take a person in our IT department who has no programming experience but is a smart and capable person and help him move into programming at lets say an entry level developer ...
93
votes
14answers
13k views

Learn programming backwards, or “so I failed the FizzBuzz test. Now what?”

A Little Background I'm 28 today, and I've never had any formal training in software development, but I do have two higher education degrees equivalent to a B.A in Public Relations and an Executive ...
91
votes
13answers
9k views

I'm in over my head at my job. What should I do? [closed]

About 8 months ago I was hired as the sole developer at a small company to take on a certain project. Although there are other small projects that come up from time to time, I've been spending about ...
90
votes
27answers
16k views

Why do people use programming books? [closed]

I find that when someone asks what is the best way to learn how to program, people usually provide them with references to a bunch texts written by various authors. However I don't believe many ...
84
votes
13answers
8k views

Way in over my head! (Dealing with better programmers)

I've just been hired as a member of a group that is developing in C++. For the last 11 years, I'd been coding on and off at my last job (some C, some Fortran, some C++). The coding I'd done was ...
78
votes
18answers
5k views

How do you learn Regular Expressions? [closed]

I'm not asking where to learn. I've found lots of good resources online, and books etc. But how the heck do I tackle them. Where is the start of it, the end? When does the regexp processor advance on ...
76
votes
24answers
17k views

How do I improve my coding skills? [closed]

Here's a bit information about me, before starting with the question. I am a Computer Science Undergraduate, Java being my primary coding language. The basic problem in my University are the ...
76
votes
9answers
8k views

I can write code… but can't design well. Any suggestions? [closed]

I feel that I am good at writing code in bits and pieces, but my designs really suck. The question is, how do I improve my designs - and in turn become a better designer? I think schools and colleges ...
74
votes
17answers
5k views

How important is self-teaching in the programming field? [closed]

I'm 16. I started programming about a year ago when I was about to start high-school. I'm going for a career in programming, and I'm doing my best to learn as much as I can. When I first started, I ...
74
votes
11answers
7k views

How can I make sure that I'm actually learning how to program rather than simply learning the details of a language?

I often hear that a real programmer can easily learn any language within a week. Languages are just tools for getting things done, I'm told. Programming is the ultimate skill that must be learned and ...
74
votes
23answers
6k views

How do developers find the time to stay on top of latest technologies? [closed]

I was a freelance web developer until circa 2004 when I started going down the management route but have decided to try to get back into development again (specifically JavaScript and HTML5 web/mobile ...
72
votes
12answers
4k views

Do you spend your working hours on learning?

Do you spend your working hours learning new stuff, reading tech blogs, books on programming etc.? What's your opinion on it? Can an employer have benefits allowing developers to spend about 1-1.5 hrs ...
68
votes
11answers
5k views

Advice on designing web application with a 40+ year lifetime

Scenario Currently, I am apart of a health care project whose main requirement is to capture data with unknown attributes using user generated forms by health care providers. The second requirement ...
62
votes
17answers
4k views

Recommendations for teaching junior programmers good coding style

I am a big fan of good coding style, producing clean, clear code that runs well and is easy to use and integrate into larger systems. I believe that we programmers are essentially craftspeople who ...
57
votes
16answers
15k views

I don't know C. And why should I learn it? [closed]

My first programming language was PHP (gasp). After that I started working with JavaScript. I've recently done work in C#. I've never once looked at low or mid level languages like C. The general ...
55
votes
17answers
6k views

What programming problems are best solved by using pointers?

Well, I basically understand how to use pointers, but not how best to use them in order to do better programming. What are good projects or problems to resolve involving the use of pointers so I can ...
54
votes
13answers
2k views

When do you not give help to less experienced programmers?

Do you think that its a good idea when a junior programmer needs help to always jump in and try to educate them? Or will they ignore all the "teaching to fish" advice you give them and just focus on ...
52
votes
28answers
14k views

How do people read big technical books? [closed]

I see that most of the good programmers have the habit of reading big books for learning about technology. What does it really take to read technical books, apart from the real interest on the ...
52
votes
17answers
5k views

Is a senior programmers advice about always using books a good idea?

I am a junior developer and have only been in the industry for 5 years. At my current company there is a senior let's call him Infestus. Occasionally I am being given opportunity to shine and do ...
52
votes
10answers
2k views

How to correct a junior, but encourage him to think for himself? [closed]

I am the lead of a small team where everyone has less than a year of software development experience. I wouldn't by any means call myself a software guru, but I have learned a few things in the few ...
51
votes
9answers
1k views

Where do you find the time? [closed]

I find myself lagging behind on new skills, techniques, language features, etc, and I am finding the time to do so is lacking. Between work, professional, personal and family obligations, I'm lucky to ...
49
votes
16answers
7k views

moving from Windows to Linux [closed]

I need to reconcile these 2 facts: I don't feel comfortable working on Linux; I need to develop software for Linux. Some background: I have a 10+ years of programming experience on Windows (almost ...
49
votes
12answers
11k views

Is there a canonical book on mathematics for programmers? [closed]

I'm a self-taught programmer. I am honestly not good in math. What advice you can give to improve my Mathematical skills so that I will not be so insecure around my fellow programmers? What are the ...
44
votes
9answers
2k views

Could spending time on Programmers.SE or Stack Overflow be substitute of good programming books for a non-beginner? [closed]

Could spending time (and actively participating) on Programmers.SE and Stack Overflow help me improve my programming skills any close to what spending time on reading a book like Code Complete 2 ...
44
votes
13answers
10k views

How to find a programming mentor? [closed]

I decided to learn programming. I've been reading SO for few days, and I think I will start with C++, as I read some articles. I am aware of loops, arrays, program logic and objects a little and I ...
42
votes
21answers
7k views

Is it true that once you learn one language most of the rest come easy?

I was told by someone that I should start with Python and then, once I'm fluent in Python, the rest of the languages will be learned quickly. Is there any truth to this?
42
votes
7answers
47k views

How do I learn Python from zero to web development? [closed]

I am looking into learning Python for web development. Assuming I already have some basic web development experience with Java (JSP/Servlets), I'm already familiar with web design (HTML, CSS, JS), ...
40
votes
16answers
3k views

How to convince a teammate, who sees oneself as senior, to learn SVN conceptual basics?

To start with some background, I took up a new developer position this summer and ended up being the newest member on the team, yet with most experience under the belt. So far I have managed to push ...
38
votes
7answers
2k views

How can I get my progress reviewed as a solo junior developer

I am currently working for a 2 person company, as the solo primary developer. My boss gets the clients, mocks up some png design templates and hands them over to me. This system has been working fine ...
37
votes
10answers
3k views

Effectiveness of FizzBuzz and Beyond

As part of the interview process we initially ask the candidates to do 'FizzBuzz' nowadays the percentage of candidates that can correctly answer FizzBuzz has increased dramatically - this may be due ...
37
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the proper way to do REST?

Everybody nowadays does SOA, even if some don't actually understand what is all about. So they do it wrong. Using that as an analogy I know what REST is (or at least I think I do) and want to do some ...
35
votes
5answers
7k views

Where do you go to read good examples of source code? [closed]

I have heard a few people say that one of the best ways to improve your coding ability is to read others code and understand it. My question, as a relatively new programmer, where do I go to find ...
33
votes
19answers
6k views

CS subjects that an undergraduate must know

In college, I was never interested in theory. I never read it. No matter how much I tried, I was unable to read stuff and not know what was actually happening practically. Like for example, in my ...
33
votes
6answers
12k views

Haskell AND Lisp vs. Haskell OR Lisp

I currently code with C, C++, and Python. I'm wanting to pick up a functional programming language, and right now I'm leaning toward Haskell. I do NOT want to start a "Haskell vs Lisp" war here; what ...
32
votes
18answers
4k views

Learning to be a good developer: what parts can you skip over? [closed]

I have set myself the goal of becoming a decent developer by this time next year. By this I mean full experience of the development 'lifecycle,' a few good apps/sites/webapps under my belt, and most ...
32
votes
5answers
3k views

Java dev learning Python: what concepts do I need to wrap my head around?

I've run through a few tutorials and written some small projects. I'm right in the middle of a small project now infact. All is going well enough thanks in no small part to Uncle Google (who usually ...
31
votes
14answers
2k views

Is it ethical to teach teens about software viruses?

I volunteered to instruct an after school computer club at my son's middle school. There has been a lot of interest in computer viruses. I was thinking about showing them how to create a simple batch ...
30
votes
19answers
4k views

“Half of everything you know will be obsolete in 18-24 months” = ( True, or False? ) [closed]

Just ran across this, and wondering if anyone has a way to prove or disprove this statement: Something to keep in mind ... what's the half-life of knowledge in high tech? It tracks with ...
29
votes
12answers
6k views

Any programming language can be mastered easily if the fundamentals of programming are strong. A fact or a myth? [closed]

Is it true that a person with fairly good fundamentals in programming can easily learn any programming language? Well, when I say programming languages, I refer to the agile and dynamic languages ...
29
votes
15answers
2k views

Any advice from self-taught programmers on competing with more conventional types? [closed]

As a self-taught programmer myself competing in an industry dominated by CS majors, I often find myself intimidated. I have a BA in liberal arts but have found that many "trained" programmers tend to ...
29
votes
11answers
1k views

Is it wise for a high level developer to spend time studying assembly? [closed]

It is clear that the knowledge of low level stuff is very important in our work. But in a situation where you're already developing commercial software on a high level, and when you already have a ...
29
votes
5answers
1k views

As a self-taught programmer, how do I get the academic foundation without attending school again? [closed]

I've made a pretty good living as a self-taught programmer, but when I find that I discuss some low-level fundamental topics with my peers who have a CS degree, holes appear in my knowledge. I'm a big ...
28
votes
12answers
3k views

Is Haskell's type system an obstacle to understanding functional programming?

I'm studying Haskell for the purpose of understanding functional programming, with the expectation that I'll apply the insight that I gain in other languages (Groovy, Python, JavaScript mainly.) I ...
27
votes
12answers
2k views

Techniques for getting off the ground in any language

When I start learning a new language, I have a couple of simple implementations that I like to complete to familiarise myself with the language. Currently, I write: Fibonacci and/or factorial to get ...
26
votes
18answers
2k views

What is the one bit of computer science theory I should know? [closed]

Speaking as someone with an Electronic Engineering rather than Computer Science degree, what is the one bit of computer science I should know to make me a better real world programmer? (By real world ...
26
votes
8answers
3k views

Why do developers need to keep up to date with technologies and methodologies? [closed]

I am always given the advice that developers need to stay up to date with the latest in technology - things like webrtc, updates on html5 and css3 and new js libraries, software methodologies like ...
26
votes
4answers
15k views

Why store a function inside a python dictionary?

I'm a python beginner, and I just learned a technique involving dictionaries and functions. The syntax is easy and it seems like a trivial thing, but my python senses are tingling. Something tells me ...