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onseak
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Loosing interest on programming

Sat May 14, 2016 9:15 am

Hey, new to this forum. I saw some of the answer on post in this sub forum and I thought this might be the right place for my questions.

I did a year on programming on 2014, I've always been interested in programming, since I was like 12. I did several tutorials and courses when I was a teenager, did a lot of projects , always looking forward to get into college, while my classmates in high school were terrified because they didn't knew what to study on college, I already had decided what to do with my life. It all was a really nice plan.

Until I got into college, I live in Chile. There is a really nice college that it's well known for the programming and networking education they give, I went there, my dream coming true, I thought. Couldn't be more mistaken, the way teachers explained things didn't match what I was looking for, they all treated us like ignorant, I even got removed from a class because I asked too many 'complex' questions, which I find utterly inadequate and wrong.

Long story short; I didn't attend to classes anymore. My problem here is that I lost motivation to code, to try things and do projects as I did before. Now I start any program and left it unfinished quickly. Coding now seems boring and tedious, and that's something I don't want in my life.

I'm 20 years old and I have a lot of 'dreams' of me as a programmer or at least someone really involved on computer science. So, how could I regain motivation? Should I learn some other language or pivot into other subject of computer science?
 
just brew it!
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Sat May 14, 2016 10:21 am

Sorry to hear that college did not live up to your expectations. It sounds like the system was not prepared to handle someone who had already done a lot of independent study.

What languages and OSes did you use for your independent studies?

Have you considered getting involved in an existing Open Source project? That might be a logical next step, if you are still interested in pursuing software development as a career. You would get some real-world experience, and could learn at your own pace on an application that interests you, and (eventually) make meaningful contributions to an application that other people use.
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Captain Ned
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Sat May 14, 2016 10:52 am

Agreed with everything JBI says.

Seems like schools all over the world aren't set up to benefit those who already have some knowledge & drive.
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meerkt
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Sat May 14, 2016 11:08 am

There are plenty of learning materials on the web or in books, if you need them. And forums, IRC, API documentation... Then, you can just program something you find interesting and release it to the world.

If it's good and there's enough public interest, you may be able to start monetizing it. Cellphone marketplaces make it easy, though they take their cut. Or create something for Windows and put it on your own website. With enough interest and users you can consider adding a "donation" option, or selling an expanded version.
 
onseak
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Sat May 14, 2016 12:03 pm

just brew it! wrote:
What languages and OSes did you use for your independent studies?


I learned Java and little Python. I have an 'intermediate' level of knowledge on some Linux distros as Fedora, Mint and SUSE.

At the moment I don't have a workstation (result of a brief rage episode last year where I sold it), but I'm planning to build one and boot Windows and a Linux distro. Then I will get involved in open source projects and stuff. Although I have a glance of what I want to do, I don't have -what I think- the necessary motivation to get it done.

meerkt wrote:
If it's good and there's enough public interest, you may be able to start monetizing it. Cellphone marketplaces make it easy, though they take their cut. Or create something for Windows and put it on your own website. With enough interest and users you can consider adding a "donation" option, or selling an expanded version.


I consider the mobile market a good option, but since I know little about how things are done on that platform I feel that it's not the most comfortable environment for me.
 
meerkt
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Sat May 14, 2016 12:56 pm

onseak wrote:
I consider the mobile market a good option, but since I know little about how things are done on that platform I feel that it's not the most comfortable environment for me.

Isn't that how all beginnings are?

You have Java background. So, start dabbling in Android and you'll get more comfortable :):
http://developer.android.com/guide/index.html
http://developer.android.com/support.html

Read the tutorials, docs, check sample programs, forums (too bad Google's own forum software sucks, but there are other places)...
 
odizzido
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Sat May 14, 2016 2:29 pm

My story is pretty similar to yours. I remember once I was doing an assignment and I noticed a way to improve the code. I cannot remember what it was anymore but when I was marked wrong for it I took it up with the teacher, explained why I did it, and he agreed it was better. I got a 0 for it. I think that's around when I stopped caring. Never did any serious programming since. Of course there is more to it than that, I had quite a few times where I was disappointed with how things were being run. Being punished for going out of your way/ahead to do a good job is pretty bad.

Anyways I took up network engineering instead a number of years later. Different school of course.
 
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Sat May 14, 2016 3:08 pm

What are your dreams? Do you have to go through that school to get to your dreams? Do you need their certificates or connections?

If you don't then find another school. If you do then just take it and do what they want you to do. On the side do more advanced things. Ask hard questions away from class so your teachers don't feel intimidated or ashamed because they can't answer. When you find good teachers who are willing to challenge you or get challenged by you then lean on them. Once you're out of there you won't have to see those teachers again. Also after the 1st or 2nd year see if they have internships to work for companies through your school. Some are more challenging than others and some even lead to employment after/during school.

Good luck.
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WhatMeWorry
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Sat May 14, 2016 3:52 pm

"Should I learn some other language"

I found my waning interest in programming renewed by https://dlang.org/
I dont think, therefore I am not.
 
synthtel2
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Sun May 15, 2016 5:19 pm

I've done academic CS at a community college and a big public university, and there was a massive difference in attitudes between them, among both faculty and students. At the CC, it was "look what cool stuff I can build with this!" Programming was interesting and all was great. At the uni, it's "think how much $$$$$$ I'll be able to make with this!" CS here is really really boring, and the ratio of busywork to actual learning got terrible. I don't do CS academically anymore. I decided it was better to learn it on my own time and preserve my interest in it.

For me, the key to preserving interest has been to do (or, if you don't have the necessary skills yet, have in mind) fun/useful projects with fun/useful results. What exactly those are may be different for everyone, but having a goal is important. At the CC, I did a lot of stuff with robotics, in which it was great fun getting piles of motors and electronics to do things they usually wouldn't without human input. Now I'm moving towards game development, because games are fun, and I want to make those experiences even better. In both cases, there's a lot more for me at the end of the day than just a paycheck - I know I wouldn't stay interested for long without that, and I don't quite get how others can. You should at least consider this aspect in the work you take on.

Within academia, there are good schools and professors, it may just take some work to find them. If you decide to look for another school, don't just take general school tours - try to get something more focussed on the department (if such things are available - I don't know how that sort of thing works in Chile), and don't be afraid to ask difficult questions. A school visit shouldn't be a one-sided process of the school cracking up their credentials endlessly. There are plenty of things they won't talk about without being asked, and those are probably the things you most want to know. If you have a chance to talk with a professor and run into an opportunity, ask the same sorts of difficult questions that you find get you in trouble currently. Ask what languages the school uses and why (the why is more interesting than the answer itself). Talk to other CS students at a school you're interested in, if you can.

When you ask difficult questions, some people with lots of credentials will blow you off and insult your intelligence. Don't buy it. Asking difficult questions can be one of the best ways to learn, not only for an individual, but for a field. Plenty of those who will reject your questions have only been through the same education you're finding repulsive, and may be in a mindset where they have to have the answer to everything but haven't actually thought about your question.
 
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Sun May 15, 2016 6:50 pm

To the OP. Never give up on your education and never EVER give up on your dream!

I too had some bad classes during my Bachelor of Science studies. I got through them, even the one where the business writing teacher scolded me for asking for clarification on a test question that was incorrectly worded. He was asking us to provide the correct answer to a question that was worded in such a way that there could BE no correct answer. And he accused me of cheating because I was trying to ask him a question during a test. After the test, my fellow students said they felt the same way but they were too afraid that he'd fail them if they complained with me.

This is another life-lesson: In school and in business, very few of your friends will actually stand up for you or stand with you against the teacher/professor/boss. Value those who do stand up for you. Prepare for it not to happen very often.

If you want your revenge, then do what I did. Complain nicely but persistently with the school's student affairs office and make that teacher pay for his/her rude behavior. The way they end up paying is they have to start answering questions from the Dean or the school, or some bureaucrat in a back office someplace. Complaints will add up over time.

Regardless of the outcome of that incident, resolve strongly that you will do what you need to complete your studies and get your diploma. Think of it as "just business" if that helps you to keep focus on the prize at the end of the rainbow. Then take your degree with you, go off and have a successful career and a happy life.

But at the same time promise yourself to never donate money to the school even after you have become a successful alumnus.

I don't donate to my old school for that very reason. Universities make a HUGE deal of fundraising. But I had to deal with some truly awful and truly incompetent teachers there, so the whole school gets zero money from me. If they ask, then tell them why. My school hasn't asked, but I'm sure one day they will. Even though he may be dead by now, I will tell them about "Mr. L" as well as the terrible terrible Statistics teacher that nobody could understand. Yes, I remember their names, even after all these years.

Best of luck to all who are currently in graduate and post-graduate studies.
 
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:58 am

After some self-study off and on over the last 18 months, I've decided the only way to push myself to do stuff on a regular schedule is to actually go to school. I hope I can proficiency out of some of this stuff, though. I've been through some pretty in-depth self-training, and "Essentials of Programming" does not look like fun for a whole semester, considering my gradual transition into development over the last 3+ years at work. Neither does "Event-driven programming in Visual Basic", "HTML and Advanced Internet" or "Structured Query Language" —three things I'm positive I could do without even buying the book since I have multiple years of MSSQL experience and a pretty good handle on event-driven programming and HTML thanks to having a job writing a mobile app for the last 8 months or so.

So I get where you're at, but you really need that piece of paper. I'm turning 38 this year, and I'll finish when I'm pushing 40, but even after that I still have 25 years of work ahead of me, most likely, and I feel like it's going to be worth doing.

My advice: if you really want to do software development, do it. Get into mobile app development and just do it. But at the same time, stay in school.
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Anovoca
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:41 pm

I tend to have a bit of A.D.D when it comes to programming. What I mean is, when I come across a new challenge I get really eager to overcome it. I will study different languages and problem solving methods until I have a solution in place. After which, I will go through and apply my new techniques to existing projects and maybe see if any new ideas get sparked.

However, this interest in programming for me tapers off after I have exhausted the new skill, and any active projects I have going on get put back on the shelf. If you gave up on your studies and found your fondness for programming has dwindled, it may just be that you have exhausted all creativity you are capable of expressing with your current skill-set. I would argue that you seem to be looking for a reason to get excited about programming as an excuse to try and study it again, but perhaps you should start studying with the expectation that the knowledge gained will rekindle your interest.
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DPete27
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:08 pm

I've done my bachelor's and masters in civil engineering at a state university. I did master's research and a thesis. I also taught classes as a TA (teaching assistant, the full lecture hall enrollment is divided up into smaller classes of ~20 to do labs/example problems/etc etc which meet 1-2 times per week depending on the class). Like you, I made up my mind about career choice before I even went to college (junior year of high school) and I haven't deviated from that path. But not everyone is so decisive. Many college students are still trying to find their calling 1,2, even 4 years in.

1) In this age of technology, there's very little that you can't teach yourself. Having a degree isn't much more than a piece of paper that ensures employers that you have a base requirement of skill set for the work you plan on doing. But you may find that that "pointless" piece of paper is extremely valuable.

2) Everyone in college (call it college for simplicity) has varying levels of knowledge in various topics. You seem to be pretty well educated in the things you've mentioned, and those classes may be trivially easy for you. But the person sitting next to you may be seeing this for the first time. Also, topics that you're most interested in may be absolutely boring to the person sitting next to you, or the 10-100 other people sitting in the classroom. You'll also likely find that you don't know everything about everything. Some topics may not interest you, or you may not see how/why/when you'd ever use that topic. But taking a class (whether required or elected) on something outside your knowledge base could introduce you to a new area of interest, or simply teach you an alternative skill set that can compliment your current repertoire.

3) If you're motivated, self study is great. However, it's also inherently specific because you're only studying things that [you know] interest you. You've already alluded to sticking to the few things you know because it's comfortable. That's great IF you can find a job/career using the very specific set of skills you've taught yourself. But it's oftentimes beneficial to have a more well-rounded knowledge to make you eligible for a wider range of jobs. Also, let college motivate you to dig deeper on your own into topics that are covered in classes. The unfortunate truth is that each class must cover a predetermined amount of subject matter in a finite amount of time. If you take a step back, you'll notice that most/all college courses only cover the various subject matter at a cursory level. Don't expect to learn everything you'll ever need to know in college, you'll be massively disappointed.

4) Be respectful to your professors and fellow classmates. Yes, YOU are going to college to benefit YOU, but so is everyone else. It's not fair to others if you're asking all the questions and driving the discussion. If there's something your'e interested in knowing more about, go to your professor's office hours and/or do some research on your own. Speaking from experience, professors are much more accommodating to questions during office hours than derailing interruptions during class. More-so if your questions are intended to give you a deeper understanding of the topics rather than most students that just go to office hours to get answers to homework questions. Hint-hint, bosses don't like it either.

It's great that you're thinking independently. Far too many college students just follow the "hive-mind" and mindlessly complete tasks to get a grade. Try to deeply understand how/why.
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derFunkenstein
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:34 pm

DPete27 wrote:
1) In this age of technology, there's very little that you can't teach yourself. Having a degree isn't much more than a piece of paper that ensures employers that you have a base requirement of skill set for the work you plan on doing. But you may find that that "pointless" piece of paper is extremely valuable.

This is what I was getting at when I said "stay in school" — regardless of your interest in specific classes (and my interest in specific classes), completing the task at hand is what matters to employers. It's aggravating to say the least.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
 
Zoomastigophora
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:55 pm

Are you a gamer? It might be fun to cut your teeth on some game development: https://play0ad.com
 
DrCR
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:38 am

Your could consider changing schools or changing classes. With regard to the former, you could even consider studying oversees (since you clearly are competent with English) e.g. Germany or some such. It sounds like you simply need a different CS program. With regard to the later, you may find yourself loving and ultimately majoring in another field -- one in which you may have an significant advantage with it being paired with your CS talents.
 
Bates228
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Tue Aug 23, 2016 3:55 am

I'm sorry for my 'up-to-date' answer. 
I agree with all of the aforesaid. Usually, when I have such problems, I try to distract myself. I leave the city, spend my time travelling to stay alone with myself. Just at these moments I can think properly and take necessary decision. 
Anyway, your whole life is before you. Don't worry and enjoy it.
 
Igor_Kavinski
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:10 pm

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=118479

These books might just entice you back into coding. But do hurry since they will be gone soon.
 
Doctor Venture
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Re: Loosing interest on programming

Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:58 am

While it's likely too late for this reply to matter for OP, especially since the thread was posted back in May, one regret I have is NOT learning programming at all.  I mean, sure it was fun tinkering in AppleBasic (or whatever it was, that we used on the Apple 2s we had in our high-school's computer lab), but my brain just isn't really wired for programming at all.  I even bailed on the comp-sci program in college, since using Basic on the VAX terminals would just make my eyes start glazing over.  I've always had more fun with the hardware, routers, switches, data circuits, wireless backhaul links, MPLS, etc...

Anyway, long story short, now that we've got that there does seem to be more of a push to SDN in the Data Center world (and even some in the teleco realm), I'm regretting NOT having learned things like Java, Python, and REST-API, and I'm not talking just about ToR OpenFlow-capable switches, but also things like OpenStack/CloudStack (which use Python/Java and their own APIs).  So, if you're still reading this thread OP, there's still plenty of opportunities to parlay your skills into newer things that might re-ignite the spark  in you, programming-wise.

For brevity sake, I'm omitting a lot of details, and kinda giving the 30,000 foot view, but there's still a lot of meat to get into here.

Just my 2 cents.  

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