Learning the craft; though a nice article on learning the crafts of programming, it draws on some of the finer points like needing a mentor and reading good books. Even though the article is about software development, the concept more or less applies to almost all professions out there.

Reading the article brings back memories of the time when I first started programming (not too long back) without a formal computer science teaching and with bills to pay. It sure was tough without having someone with a similar interest set in my vicinity or someone to turn to in case of queries. Having a mentor helps you understand things really fast; things which would have taken us hours to understand and grasp completely. It's not that I am against reinvention of the wheel, it's just that nothing beats having expert, professional and sound advice when you need.

I am sure there are many out there who irrespective of their profession can pretty much relate to the philosophy of the article.

commented: Good article! +9

Could a counselor substitute for a mentor? Counselors are plentyful, mentors are in very short supply.

That is definitely a must read for all those aspiring to be programmers and is the very reason is included in the 'On programming and hackers' section of the Java forum sticky along with many of its ilk. :-)

Yep just spotted it there ... I've been through that thread quite a few times ... don't know how could I have missed it.

> Could a counselor substitute for a mentor?
Don't think so. AFAIK, counselors work for money while mentor is someone you know. A mentor can be your someone very close to you like your brother, sister, father, mother etc. Plus it is a high probability that your mentor is someone who has known you for some time and can guide you accordingly. On the downside, you might find a mentor who you think knows his stuff but in actuality he doesn't. Counselors don't have this issue since you get what you pay for. ;-)

>Yep just spotted it there ... I've been through that thread quite a few times ... don't know
>how could I have missed it.

:-)

Nice read, another article I really liked linked with developing skills in the programming field is Peter Norvig's Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years

I disagree with this article.

The author claims that personal training and experience is far better than simply reading a book.

Without the basis, or knowledge of discrete details brought to you by experts, it's hard to say how far your personal training will go.

I suppose this is an "Eye of the beholder" opinion, but maybe you can understand how I feel with my statement?

-Alex

> The author claims that personal training and experience is far better than simply reading
> a book.

Of course; the point everyone tries to put across is though reading is an essential part of learning, without doing things one is useless. No matter how many books I read, unless I apply the knowledge to real life situations, my bookish knowledge is useless.

> I suppose this is an "Eye of the beholder" opinion,

Oh no, it's just youth. :-)

Both articles are good. I will let you if they worked with me as I'm soon about to finish university and get a job :D

I disagree with this article.

The author claims that personal training and experience is far better than simply reading a book.

Without the basis, or knowledge of discrete details brought to you by experts, it's hard to say how far your personal training will go.

I suppose this is an "Eye of the beholder" opinion, but maybe you can understand how I feel with my statement?

-Alex

Well its basically how you look at it and interpret the article. For me it was more like pick up the book (any book) and read it, but do not expect any miracles out of it (as the title Learn XXX in 21 days or 24 hours etc suggests).
From my own experience I have met individuals who feel then if they just attend a course for a couple of days in X language or say System administration or ... , they are going to come out as big shot professionals in that field and thats the one attitude of many beginners this article clearly tries to address. It just says there are no magic bullets, no short cuts, if you want to learn to program you have to burn your hands by writing code from small short programs and gradually grow to a professional.
Another section of the article which I can actually apply to my case is "Talk to other programmers;", This shows the big impact of peer groups.
When I had actually first joined Engineering, I did not even know how to switch on a computer, let alone programming or any computer language. But I was really blessed cause the friend circle I managed to get in was composed of guys who could just eat and sleep computers. One guy would just write programs for solving games like SUDOKU or puzzles like the chess 8 queens problems etc when in fact the rest of us were just beginning to grasp Arrays and structures in C. The second guy in my group was a master at thinking in the reverse direction, he taught me that how to look at problems from different perspectives when trying to get a solution, the third guy was pure hard work, looking at him go at solving problems, taught me that if you just have some skill its no use, apply it, practice it, sharpen it. And mind you none of these were top marks getters at any point in engineering, they were just average and even failed in a couple of subjects once in a while. Although my adventures with these guys was short lived (I actually failed in more subjects than allowed and wasn't allowed to keep terms in my third year of engineering), whenever I look back, I see that more that half I owe to them and without them I can't even imagine myself being close to computers let alone programming.
Thats why I really found this article amazing, cause I could identify with the phases I went through while starting my career in programming with it.

commented: Oh, a ATKT kiddo ;-). BTW, well said! +23

guys .hea i am serious looking for a mentor in c++ and java