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Thread: Skillsets

  1. #1
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    Skillsets

    This may be a little bit weird -

    I've recently been kicked out of school due to a series of "oopsies" on both ends(mine and the schools)
    I've come into a lot of time, as I have to come to the correct and I figured what the hell; I have nothing better to do might as well learn web development/etc and have that span off into further branches of programming etc

    Here's the thing: I'm terrible at math.
    This may just be the stigma around computer programmers that they're all math proteges, who are like human computational devices, but:
    Do I have to be strong in math in order to be successful? I'm very proficient in other subjects, but numbers screw me.
    Also, what skillset would it be good to go in with, saying hypothetically I had no knowledge of code at all?
    Thank you!

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    Still dont know how to edit lol -
    As I have to come to the correct age to attend night school*

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    Master Coder sunfighter's Avatar
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    I would say that logical thinking is, if not the main thing, it is very close to it the top of things needed in a programmer. Math and logic go hand in hand. Study books on logical thinking and math word problems. There are many out there. Your local library is a good place as well as some web sites for getting these skills.
    Evolution - The non-random survival of random variants.
    Physics is actually atoms trying to understand themselves.

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    I'm okay with Geometry and the school I was at I was studying Precision Machining which if you didn't know, is a lot of numbers and very "precise" steps executed in a precise order(in lamens(?) terms). I'd say that COULD be seen as logical thinking

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    People are always say they're terrible at math but not specify which section they're bad at. I would say if you're good at logic and have strong sense of optimizing things, you're gonna by ok!
    Don't worry too much. After all, it's how dedicate you are with the job that's really matter.

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    Senior Coder deathshadow's Avatar
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    How did you do at GRADE SCHOOL math? Forget high school... meaningless drivel when it comes to the majority of programming. (yes, I say that of algebra as well!)

    Unless you're programming for hard physics, the vast majority of programming 'math' is addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication at levels I was being taught in the fourth grade back in the '70's. Particularly if you are dealing with money.

    The two hardest concepts to grasp are actually the easiest -- the first is modulo, a big fancy name for the remainder from a division. You know, like from before you learned to use fractions or divide to decimal? 5 divided by 3 is 1 remainder 2? 5 modulo 3 is 2... It's the remainder.

    The other comes up far less often these days than it used to, binary and hexadecimal math. Unless you get into really low-level coding you don't need to be some mathamagician to handle those. They're actually quite simple too.

    I still say the biggest and best skill to have for programming is the ability to take a big task, and divide it into smaller tasks. That's where that "logic" everyone else talks about comes into play as all programming really is, is dividing a task into smaller tasks and putting them in an order that makes sense and gives you the result you want.

    ... and don't sweat it if you can't do stuff in your head. This isn't "mother may I" where you'll get ridiculed or points taken off for breaking out the calculator (app) instead of doing it in your head. Trust me, when I'm working in hex and binary, I use a programmers calculator a LOT.

    @MikeTran raised a good point too, as to me a very important skill is to have a good work ethic. You start something, you finish it. Dedication, devotion, and passion can win out.

    Another important skill -- often more important than knowing the correct answer off the top of your head -- is good research skills, as well as the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. There's a lot of junk out there, learning to recognize the junk and stick with the good is equally important; and as garbage systems like bootcrap and turdpress -- much less template whorehouses like Themeforest or TemplateMonster -- repeatedly prove many people never master that.

    And for the love of Christmas, don't let a hard time in school make you think you are stupid or can't do this. You head down that path, and you'll start making it harder than it needs to be. Sadly, there's a LOT of people (and software... and methodologies) out there who it seems their entire reason for being is to make everything harder to do, harder to use, and harder to learn.

    Also, don't be afraid of failing. All the true greats of any field fail a LOT before they have a success -- and even fail while they have successes. You want inspiration after a failure? Look at Apple. Sure the Mac and iPhone were each big deals in their own time -- but look at how many times they tried and failed! Lisa, Newton, Pippin, E-World, Copeland, the hockey puck mouse.

    Look at Google's laundry-list of failures. Google Glass, Google Web Accelerator, Buzz, Orkut, Friend Connect, Google Answers, iGoogle, Google Reader, Google Page Creator, Google Lively... They've tried and failed a LOT. They've also had their fair share of successes.

    If that's good enough for the big names, it's good enough for anyone. I liken it to Stephen King. King is a ridiculously and absurdly prolific writer, churning out endless pages of text all the time. 99%+ of what he vomits onto the page is pure schlock -- even he admits that. But by trying and getting the ideas down... when he connects? He knocks the ball so far out of the park you can see the impact when it hits the moon!

    If you let the fear of failure stop you, you'll never get out of the gate.

    Finally, you won't hear this a whole lot, and it kind-of contradicts everything I just said -- but the best programmers are lazy. Might sound odd, but the lazy programmer is always on the lookout for faster and simpler ways of doing things. The big trick is to gain the knowledge to recognize what's actually saving you time and effort, vs. what people CLAIM will save you time and effort. There are a lot of claims, and many of those claims are either scams, or based in ignorance or a cognitive bias created via well documented propaganda techniques.

    ... at heart, the best programmers are also highly skeptical critical thinkers -- and you know what? Highly skeptical critical thinkers are the LAST thing mainstream education wants when trying to cram all the square pegs into the round holes. I know most of my woes in school came directly from that habit of questioning everything and always looking for the fastest and easiest solution to problems. As my most recent ex (who quit teaching because she refused support "social promotion" and the general direction education has taken the past decade) repeatedly said, the system is set up so that you do it exactly how the book says, or fail -- and that just discourages children from developing problem solving skills.

    And really, problem solving skills are what programming is all about.

    Alright, I'll shut up now.

    -- edit -- or not... one more thing. If you were good with geometry, you might make a really good front-end and ui developer working in design from the "content first" and "code first" approach to design; as opposed to the arsty fartsy BS of dicking around in Photoshop and deluding oneself into thinking that's design. The CSS box model, how to apply padding, and many of the new CSS tricks are all just basic geometry. If you liked and did well in geometry, that could be a direction for you to consider.

    A lot of effete elitists in the programming world turn their nose up at HTML and CSS saying they aren't "real programming" -- honestly, that's why so much HTML and CSS is rubbish. It's mocked, it's scoffed at, and nobody takes the time to understand what it is, what it is for, or how it is SUPPOSED to work... and it's why if you treat it as programming and take the time to understand it and its rules, you can quickly blow past others at making lean, fast, accessible sites.

    It sounds a LOT like you're where I was at in the mid 1980's. After about the 6th grade public school and I started to get along like sodium and water.
    Last edited by deathshadow; 10-04-2016 at 08:33 AM.
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