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Thread: How do I learn?

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    How do I learn?

    I'd love to learn some computer programming, I just haven't a clue where I start hoping you guys can help!

    I have just completed a Masters degree in biotechnology (after 8 years teaching 11-16 year olds I decided on some "me" time) and I found I really loved bioinformatics - the field was only just starting when I did my undergrad. degree. My Masters thesis used several programmes avalible online but I feel I could do better if I only knew how to write the code!

    I have no experience of computer programming at all (well ok I had a ZX spectrum and a QL as a kid so learnt a little Sinclair Basic and Qbasic from way back when?!) <Blushing realising she's just revealed her age>.

    My tutor recommended bioperl as being the most useful to learn for what I wanted to do, but said that C++ was what people asked for on job applications sooooooo................
    Does any one know
    a) What software do I need to purchase (where from, rough cost)
    b) An idiots guide (fun introduction) for perl and/or C++ (books rather than online if possible - I like the smell)
    c) Is my tutor correct in the bioperl or c++ recommendations or are their any others I should be looking into?

    Any other ideas welcome - I'm doing this for the fun rather than anything else so nothing too too technical to begin with.
    Hoping you can help a "would-be nerd" lol!
    Angua xx

  • #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angua View Post
    I'd love to learn some computer programming, I just haven't a clue where I start hoping you guys can help!

    I have just completed a Masters degree in biotechnology (after 8 years teaching 11-16 year olds I decided on some "me" time) and I found I really loved bioinformatics - the field was only just starting when I did my undergrad. degree. My Masters thesis used several programmes avalible online but I feel I could do better if I only knew how to write the code!

    I have no experience of computer programming at all (well ok I had a ZX spectrum and a QL as a kid so learnt a little Sinclair Basic and Qbasic from way back when?!) <Blushing realising she's just revealed her age>.

    My tutor recommended bioperl as being the most useful to learn for what I wanted to do, but said that C++ was what people asked for on job applications sooooooo................
    Does any one know
    a) What software do I need to purchase (where from, rough cost)
    linux like os, I use debian, have over 18000 package free and without any other cost then spending time to learn how to use it. You find a lot of documentation, perl is included by default in any linux distro. This is a good point to start learning.

    b) An idiots guide (fun introduction) for perl and/or C++ (books rather than online if possible - I like the smell)
    there are some books, I don't know if and where you can find something free but once you have perl installed you can learn from his documentation( hard way).
    CF have a perl forum, you are welcome to ask what you need.

    c) Is my tutor correct in the bioperl or c++ recommendations or are their any others I should be looking into?
    no idea but I trust him,
    http://www.bioperl.org/wiki/Main_Page

    Any other ideas welcome - I'm doing this for the fun rather than anything else so nothing too too technical to begin with.
    Hoping you can help a "would-be nerd" lol!
    Angua xx
    start and when you have problem post in the proper forum,

    best regards

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    First of all, you do not need a linux operating system to program. (Not to say I dislike linux... I use it.)

    All you need is a decent text editor. Some popular ones I can think of:
    - vim (what I use)
    - emacs
    - notepad++

    Learning how to program is more than just learning a language's syntax and semantics. Learning how to program is an involved process, and nailing it can take years to do.

    As for other language suggestions, if you want to learn a mind-bogglingly "different" but awesome language, you could try out Haskell. But I would not recommend learning it until you've learned some other language first.
    Trinithis

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    my recommendation would be starting with java because you can do a ton with it, but you don't have to worry about things like garbage collection (most universities cs departments starts students with java for this reason). C++ is great, but far more complicated to start with and perl is alright, but is very limited and doesn't have nice clear API like java does which makes learning new ftrs easier.
    as far as software, if you are using C++, java, or perl i'd download eclipse. it's an IDE that will show you errors as you code and has nice debugging tools. for perl you need to install EPIC, though which is pretty easy. plus eclipse has a version for windows and linux (fedora linux even comes with their own eclipse built in).
    hope this helps.

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    If you're new to programming and planning to work in industry you could always start with C and then work your way into C++, either way I would recommend learning a C based language.

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    C and Javascript are great

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    Quote Originally Posted by vassago View Post
    my recommendation would be starting with java because you can do a ton with it, but you don't have to worry about things like garbage collection (most universities cs departments starts students with java for this reason). C++ is great, but far more complicated to start with and perl is alright, but is very limited and doesn't have nice clear API like java does which makes learning new ftrs easier.
    as far as software, if you are using C++, java, or perl i'd download eclipse. it's an IDE that will show you errors as you code and has nice debugging tools. for perl you need to install EPIC, though which is pretty easy. plus eclipse has a version for windows and linux (fedora linux even comes with their own eclipse built in).
    hope this helps.
    Quote Originally Posted by zfred09 View Post
    If you're new to programming and planning to work in industry you could always start with C and then work your way into C++, either way I would recommend learning a C based language.
    Quote Originally Posted by sybil6 View Post
    C and Javascript are great
    I don't want to be rude but did you read op post?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trinithis View Post
    First of all, you do not need a linux operating system to program. (Not to say I dislike linux... I use it.)
    I don't use to recommend linux, an less then that debian, but windows and perl don't fit. I start to learn perl on windows and was a long, ogly and useless pain.
    I think is faster to learn to use linux and then perl then learning perl on windows.
    I said about debian because already have some package for bioinformatics.

    All you need is a decent text editor. Some popular ones I can think of:
    - vim (what I use)
    - emacs
    - notepad++
    I use emacs with perl-mode, some times vim but I don't think that are "user friendly",

    best regards

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    Angua (11-07-2008)

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    hm you should try the auto it first then VB for C+ and C++
    for software you can found for free if you used win
    and i can help you with that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oesxyl View Post
    I don't use to recommend linux, an less then that debian, but windows and perl don't fit. I start to learn perl on windows and was a long, ogly and useless pain.
    I think is faster to learn to use linux and then perl then learning perl on windows.
    I said about debian because already have some package for bioinformatics.
    I also think that programming is much more catered for in Linux than in Windows. That is Linux's target audience. Or at least the crowd they attract. I'm not meant to sound rude here, but it seems to me that Windows' target audience is the opposite.

    I do recommend Linux, however I don't recommend you going to your computer and thinking "Oh, them lot on codingforums reckon Linux is better, I'm going to get rid of all my Windows data". Dual boot maybe?

    a) What software do I need to purchase (where from, rough cost)
    b) An idiots guide (fun introduction) for perl and/or C++ (books rather than online if possible - I like the smell)
    c) Is my tutor correct in the bioperl or c++ recommendations or are their any others I should be looking into?
    a) Well if you're programming in Perl then I recommend a fancy text editor. You can download Notepad++ for free for Windows. Although in Linux, there are plenty to choose from for free. Such as Scite and Kate.

    b) If you're looking to learn Perl, then I suggest looking at the "for dummies" series. "Perl for Dummies" etc. Bioperl can't be much different to normal perl. So I guess if you learn normal perl, it won't take you a long time to figure out the added features of Bioperl, if you use a quick internet guide. If you know the Syntax and functions of Perl, Bioperl will come easy.

    c) I couldn't agree more with Bioperl. It sounds right for you. I don't recommend C++, it's pointlessly long winded (sorry if I offended any C++ zealot), but that's all I'm going to say. If you want to look into another language, I recommend Python. Python is very similar to Perl.

    Hope I could help

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    Since no one has said it yet, I'm going say the same thing that gets reiterated every time we have one of these threads:

    In computer programming learning the concepts is far more important any one language. The language you use is just a tool you use to accomplish your objective. If you learn the programming concepts such as variables, functions, objects, etc. If you need to use a different language, all you have to learn is the syntax.

    There is no single best programming language either, since as I said they are tools, you use the best tool for the job. That is why most experienced programmers know several different languages.

    You can program on Windows just as well as any other OS, you might have to install a couple more programs at first since they don't come with a basic Windows install. Whereas most Linux distros include some basic programming apps. I routinely develop software on Windows and on Linux and I've never encountered any limitations of one OS compared to the other (with respect to doing software development).
    OracleGuy

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    Soooo....
    Dig out old PC and set up for Linux.
    The for dummies bioinformatics book recommends Linux for downloaded bioinformatic software any how so I should get some advantage from this.

    Go buy Perl for dummies....(it comes with all sofware needed on a disk - so thats easy - nice recommendation!)

    Try it on my windows PC to begin with and Linux to see which I get on with best?
    (I really can't see there being many major issues with windows/perl for learning tutor was using this set up already from what I understand)

    Thanks for your help so far I'm sure you will hear from me next year when I have started to get my head around some of it!

    One tiny question remains....is it just for ease of use that people are recommending Linux for perl or are there any major problems?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angua View Post
    One tiny question remains....is it just for ease of use that people are recommending Linux for perl or are there any major problems?
    There are no major problems. I only recommend it because I find it easier. You may find Windows easier. Try both, then decide based on you're opinion of the two, and how well you got on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angua View Post
    One tiny question remains....is it just for ease of use that people are recommending Linux for perl or are there any major problems?
    when you learn perl you will find a lot of examples, scripts that you can copy from the book and test but allmost, if not all of them, are written for a *nix sistem, linux or else,
    so will be more easy to understand if are a little familiar with them.
    Another thing is the recomandation from perl docs, "for windows system .....", that means windows is special,
    I don't think that is hard to use perl with windows if you know perl but before is not so simple,
    Don't forget about dual boot as Trinithis recommands and learning concept of programming as oracleguy said.

    best regards


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