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How Do Programmers Learn A New Language?

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How Do Programmers Learn A New Language?

Postby Cadabyr » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:38 am

I know most go to school but after that you learn other languages on your own? I went to school to learn VB and C (and Cobol:) over 12 years ago but didn't stay in the industry that long after (lasted 1 year with a psycho boss doing everything but programming) and returned to my book keeping career.
Recently I had a friend want some help with writing a Macro in excel so I said I'd give it ago. All the old VB stuff came back to very quickly and I enjoyed it a lot. I have started messing around with C++ again and it is slowly coming back but the hard thing is trying to find a good project that tests all your skills as I'll get bored with these Hello World programs and text books (I have tried in the past to get back into learning languages). It is much more motivating and rewarding to work on something that is wanted and useful to you or someone else. Has anyone any project ideas?
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How Do Programmers Learn A New Language?

Postby Baddon » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:33 am

Programmers learn a programming language just like any other language.

First you learn some basic vocabulary, like, how to say "Hello World" in the language in question.

Then you start screwing around with the underlying grammar to see how much you can abuse the vocab you know to express yourself. Then you learn more vocabulary, some basics, like math functions or constants.

Then you just look into the documentation if you don't know how to do something.

Well, that's not how it works with every language - with C++ you've got a lot of abstract concepts to learn, like pointers, etc.

And then you shut up and hack away at an idea you have, just like with natural languages you talk to people.

As to project ideas - start small. You can, for example, write a text editor that runs in a command line. Then you can make a stupid system to do common tasks (like, dwarves/turtles/objects having to mine/bring all the letters in a string before it gets printed). Just sit down and let your imagination go wild. Or you can just go to Github or Bitbuket and snoop around - maybe develop an extension to an interesting idea.

You can also listen to people who are interested in the same things you are and what they need. A cookbook system? A Dwarf Fortress config program for Linux?
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How Do Programmers Learn A New Language?

Postby Payatt » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:00 pm

You practice it.
It's nothing more than that.

I say skip C++ and jump right into assembler or C.
C++ is way overrated, if you know assembly you can use any language you want and still have complete control your machine (when allowed)

Start programming in assembler, VB is a fine language to program in as long as you know how and why it works.
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