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Thread: Only one more day...

  1. #1

    Only one more day...

    Until we make America Great again. Whoo.

    #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain
    Last edited by Wookie06; 02-29-2016 at 11:35 PM.
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  2. #2
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    "America has never stopped being great"

    - someone running a campaign funded by Mexican drug money laundering

  3. #3
    I can't wait to deport your ass.
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  4. #4
    Remember, if Trump wins, no one in Europe is going to be surprised. No one.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wookie06 View Post
    I can't wait to deport your ass.
    I'm unconcerned. I was sent here to mentor a US team. If American voters and lawmakers decide I am unwelcome, I will gladly build teams in Shanghai or Edinburgh instead.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 03-01-2016 at 04:08 AM.

  6. #6
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    On that topic, I'm disappointed by the US narrative about the STEM shortage (but I'm not really surprised by it, either).

    Most CS graduates have no talent for software product development. It doesn't matter how much you restrict work visas, tech companies will never hire the majority of American CS grads because they aren't just unproductive, they actually produce minus work. It's a crappy situation, but nobody knows how to fix it or even what their underlying problem is. Any CS program that promises you any success greater than entry level helpdesk is lying to you, and I think that's where a lot of the frustration is really coming from.

    Tech jobs are so mobile, and the demand for talent is so high, that it doesn't really matter what country you want to live in anymore. If some star/senior talent can't or won't live in the United States, the job will go overseas to them, along with the associated core business competencies and the income tax revenue. That's not better for the United States, that's worse.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 03-01-2016 at 05:09 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    On that topic, I'm disappointed by the US narrative about the STEM shortage (but I'm not really surprised by it, either).

    Most CS graduates have no talent for software product development. It doesn't matter how much you restrict work visas, tech companies will never hire the majority of American CS grads because they aren't just unproductive, they actually produce minus work. It's a crappy situation, but nobody knows how to fix it or even what their underlying problem is. Any CS program that promises you any success greater than entry level helpdesk is lying to you, and I think that's where a lot of the frustration is really coming from.
    Are you saying CS grads from Stanford/MIT/CMU are crap?

  8. #8
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    I think it's possible that if Americans are apathetic, disillusioned, uninformed, etc. enough to vote for Cruz, Rubio, or Trump, another GOP presidency may actually be the remedy. I don't see the changes that I think are necessary happening until a significant number of Americans are made to suffer again like they did during the Great Depression, & that sort of circumstance is unlikely to occur under a Democrat--even one as terrible as Clinton. As much as I like Sanders (though I certainly disagree with him on some minor issues), his uphill battle is far steeper after the resulting complacency that Obama's successes (healthcare reform, economic recovery, etc.) have left us with, than it would be following the inevitable disaster of another GOP presidency. His calls for revolution may not have the sting necessary for a significant enough number of persons, because having to work at Walmart isn't quite as bad as standing in line for bread & soup, & because the majority of Americans that don't vote may already be aware of the inevitable corruption of our campaign finance system, so they may see this all as too little, too late.
    ? :)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragna View Post
    Are you saying CS grads from Stanford/MIT/CMU are crap?
    N... no? I'm ambivalent. We hire a lot of top-10 PhDs. They're often pretty bad at writing code, but that probably has more to do with the fact that they're academics.

    Truth is, we do a lot of extremely hard, unsexy work that you've never heard about. There aren't a lot of top-10 undergrads in the pipeline by the time incubators, ad sales, and finance take their cut off the top.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    I'm unconcerned. I was sent here to mentor a US team.
    Dear God, I thought I was making a joke but you're actually here? Well, at least you're not Cuban-Canadian.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wookie06 View Post
    Dear God, I thought I was making a joke but you're actually here? Well, at least you're not Cuban-Canadian.
    I know, right?

  12. #12

    "Has it won yet?"

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    but but the hackathons!
    SnailIracing:n(500tpostshpereline)pants
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  13. #13
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    Wookie06, who would you vote for:

    Trump vs Sanders?

    Cruz vs Clinton?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    On that topic, I'm disappointed by the US narrative about the STEM shortage (but I'm not really surprised by it, either).

    Most CS graduates have no talent for software product development. It doesn't matter how much you restrict work visas, tech companies will never hire the majority of American CS grads because they aren't just unproductive, they actually produce minus work. It's a crappy situation, but nobody knows how to fix it or even what their underlying problem is. Any CS program that promises you any success greater than entry level helpdesk is lying to you, and I think that's where a lot of the frustration is really coming from.

    Tech jobs are so mobile, and the demand for talent is so high, that it doesn't really matter what country you want to live in anymore. If some star/senior talent can't or won't live in the United States, the job will go overseas to them, along with the associated core business competencies and the income tax revenue. That's not better for the United States, that's worse.
    What about coding bootcamps?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Mentat View Post
    I think it's possible that if Americans are apathetic, disillusioned, uninformed, etc. enough to vote for Cruz, Rubio, or Trump, another GOP presidency may actually be the remedy. I don't see the changes that I think are necessary happening until a significant number of Americans are made to suffer again like they did during the Great Depression, & that sort of circumstance is unlikely to occur under a Democrat--even one as terrible as Clinton. As much as I like Sanders (though I certainly disagree with him on some minor issues), his uphill battle is far steeper after the resulting complacency that Obama's successes (healthcare reform, economic recovery, etc.) have left us with, than it would be following the inevitable disaster of another GOP presidency. His calls for revolution may not have the sting necessary for a significant enough number of persons, because having to work at Walmart isn't quite as bad as standing in line for bread & soup, & because the majority of Americans that don't vote may already be aware of the inevitable corruption of our campaign finance system, so they may see this all as too little, too late.
    Many Americans suffered terribly during the last GOP presidency -- from Katrina, to the Great Recession and the Iraq War and everything else, -- and Obama was brought in to be an agent of the same sort of revolutionary change -- "Change", "Hope", "Yes We Can" etc -- that Bernie wants to institute. Despite that fact that Obama's crushing defeat over McCain in 2008 seemed to suggest that the country was united on recognizing the need to forge a new path, since Obama's election, we have had non-stop divisiveness, because the GOP has for the entirety of Obama's administration set up one obstacle after another, (shutting down the government for days at a time, filibustering, etc etc) in order to make Obama as ineffective a president as possible.

    Which is just is to say that greater and more widespread suffering isn't necessarily conducive to the kind of humanitarian reform so many Democrats want. Even recent history has shown us that it isn't.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    What about coding bootcamps?
    They train people to do a specific job that only exists during a web bubble.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    They train people to do a specific job that only exists during a web bubble.
    By that you mean "web development"?

    Hopefully I'll prove you wrong in about 6 months when I graduate from one in NY and find a job. If the "bubble" hasn't already popped yet (given all of the corrections to private and public companies in the past few months), we're getting close. Hopefully!!

    What skills/knowledge base is most valuable, given the current state of the industry?
    Last edited by Eversor; 03-02-2016 at 03:34 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Many Americans suffered terribly during the last GOP presidency -- from Katrina, to the Great Recession and the Iraq War and everything else, -- and Obama was brought in to be an agent of the same sort of revolutionary change -- "Change", "Hope", "Yes We Can" etc -- that Bernie wants to institute. Despite that fact that Obama's crushing defeat over McCain in 2008 seemed to suggest that the country was united on recognizing the need to forge a new path, since Obama's election, we have had non-stop divisiveness, because the GOP has for the entirety of Obama's administration set up one obstacle after another, (shutting down the government for days at a time, filibustering, etc etc) in order to make Obama as ineffective a president as possible.

    Which is just is to say that greater and more widespread suffering isn't necessarily conducive to the kind of humanitarian reform so many Democrats want. Even recent history has shown us that it isn't.
    It doesn't make sense to me to say "crushing defeat" to describe a margin of about 7%. Obama won 52.93% of the popular vote. The voter turnout was 58.23%. So about half of half of the country, or about 30% of registered voters, agreed that Obama was our man. I get it, he won. It's fine, but to me this is not crushing. Crushing would be where a significant majority of the population agrees on someone.

    If the country is split about 50/50 democrat/republican it means the winners are decided by a relatively small number of voters who are swayed this way or that. Or there's a group of centrists who flip flop on the parties each time. Or there's a splinter group (Tea Party, for example) that pulls votes away from one of the main two parties. In none of these cases do I feel like either party has been able to sway enough people to call a win a "crushing defeat."

    Also I'm sick of people getting all pissy because the GOP filibusters or somehow is at fault for government shutdowns. The democrats use and have used the exact same tactics when it suits their goals. Whatever party isn't getting what they want uses whatever means necessary to try to get it. I'm _really happy_ when different parties control the house, senate, and presidency. This way, the only things that pass have at least some agreement. When one party is in power things are worse, not better.

    We should be mad not that one party has the power to block legislation, but rather than the parties can't get together and come up with a reasonable compromise.
    Last edited by Brian; 03-02-2016 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Remove misuse of the word "superlative"

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    It doesn't make sense to me to say "crushing defeat" or other superlatives to describe a margin of about 7%. Obama won 52.93% of the popular vote. The voter turnout was 58.23%. So about half of half of the country, or about 30% of registered voters, agreed that Obama was our man. I get it, he won. It's fine, but to me this is not crushing. Crushing would be where a significant majority of the population agrees on someone.

    If the country is split about 50/50 democrat/republican it means the winners are decided by a relatively small number of voters who are swayed this way or that. Or there's a group of centrists who flip flop on the parties each time. Or there's a splinter group (Tea Party, for example) that pulls votes away from one of the main two parties. In none of these cases do I feel like either party has been able to sway enough people to call a win a "crushing defeat."

    Also I'm sick of people getting all pissy because the GOP filibusters or somehow is at fault for government shutdowns. The democrats use and have used the exact same tactics when it suits their goals. Whatever party isn't getting what they want uses whatever means necessary to try to get it. I'm _really happy_ when different parties control the house, senate, and presidency. This way, the only things that pass have at least some agreement. When one party is in power things are worse, not better.
    "Crushing defeat" is not a superlative in the grammatical sense of the word... although I will concede that it may be hyperbolic. But given that the outcomes of the 2000 and 2004 elections were so close, 2008 is in fact notable, I argue, in just how decisively the US electorate expressed a desire for change. Even if we bracket that Obama had a very strong lead over McCain in electoral college votes, we can look at what 2008 elections did to the Senate and House. There too, we see that the electorate decided that they had had enough of the Republicans. The Senate went from being tied (49 democrats and 49 republicans) to Democrats having an 8 seat lead over the Republicans (57 to 41). And although the Democrats already held a solid majority in the House before the election, they further consolidated their majority by adding 21 seats. Both houses of the legislature and the executive both went to the Democrats. To my mind, it's difficult not to see these things together and say that after the Bush administration, the US electorate knew that the way to get us out of the mess W. got us into was not four more years of Republican leadership, even if that Republican leader was a "maverick".

    We should be mad not that one party has the power to block legislation, but rather than the parties can't get together and come up with a reasonable compromise.
    In response to your last point, I agree, but only to some extent. I think that we should in fact be mad, for instance, that the Republicans refuse to even consider a supreme court nominee from Obama. If they had said, "we won't look at a nominee unless he meets x, y, z conditions", that is, if they tried to meet Obama half way, the Republicans would be blameless -- they would have done everything expected of them. But they haven't! What could they do that would be better? They could demand that Obama only put forth a sufficiently moderate nominee -- only if he did that would they even review the candidate and consider a vote. But they won't even do that! instead they state firmly that they will not vote for a nominee under any circumstances, and then they have the chutzpah to say that Obama is the one would be acting divisively if he should put forward a nominee.

    Simply put, when the GOP acts like this, it's very difficult for me to conceive of a way that they might be acting in good faith. If their concern is really what they claim it is -- for sure, I'm not talking about the bogus constitutional/legal arguments that they've made, which are easily dismissible. Rather, I'm talking about their concern that an Obama nominated supreme court justice would tilt the delicate balance of the court towards the left for decades,-- they could easily devise a strategy that is not nearly so antagonistic and obstructionist. They could, for instance, do what I said above, and demand that Obama's nominee be moderate, and threaten to turn him down if he isn't. But they won't. The republicans prefer to avoid compromise at any cost.
    Last edited by Eversor; 03-02-2016 at 04:34 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    By that you mean "web development"?
    Information plumbing.

    Hopefully I'll prove you wrong in about 6 months when I graduate from one in NY and find a job. If the "bubble" hasn't already popped yet (given all of the corrections to private and public companies in the past few months), we're getting close. Hopefully!!
    Hope so! Best of luck, sincerely.

    What skills/knowledge base is most valuable, given the current state of the industry?
    Project management, business communication, excellent working memory, broad knowledge of the types of problems you are working to solve, deep knowledge of the technical challenges which have excluded easy solutions to those problems. It also helps to have broad understanding of computer science, applied mathematics, and statistics. Those are the engineering skills of reliability and scale, the companies and jobs that are going to survive in lean times.

    Oh wait, my mistake. Current state of the industry? Javascript, Angular, Ruby on Rails, PEX, wrenches, soldering

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    "full stack"

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    "Crushing defeat" is not a superlative in the grammatical sense of the word...
    Oops, wrong word. Thanks for the correction.

    In response to your last point, I agree, but only to some extent. I think that we should in fact be mad, for instance, that the Republicans refuse to even consider a supreme court nominee from Obama. If they had said, "we won't look at a nominee unless he meets x, y, z conditions", that is, if they tried to meet Obama half way, the Republicans would be blameless -- they would have done everything expected of them. But they haven't! What could they do that would be better? They could demand that Obama only put forth a sufficiently moderate nominee -- only if he did that would they even review the candidate and consider a vote. But they won't even do that! instead they state firmly that they will not vote for a nominee under any circumstances, and then they have the chutzpah to say that Obama is the one would be acting divisively if he should put forward a nominee.

    Simply put, when the GOP acts like this, it's very difficult for me to conceive of a way that they might be acting in good faith. If their concern is really what they claim it is -- for sure, I'm not talking about the bogus constitutional/legal arguments that they've made, which are easily dismissible. Rather, I'm talking about their concern that an Obama nominated supreme court justice would tilt the delicate balance of the court towards the left for decades,-- they could easily devise a strategy that is not nearly so antagonistic and obstructionist. They could, for instance, do what I said above, and demand that Obama's nominee be moderate, and threaten to turn him down if he isn't. But they won't. The republicans prefer to avoid compromise at any cost.
    There's a history of this on the democratic side as well. Look, __duh__ we all know the republicans want a republican appointee on the supreme court and not one by Obama. Even if they won't just come out and say it. Just like the democrats want a democratic appointee.

    In any case I don't think there's a remote chance Donald Trump will win the election so don't worry, probably we'll have a Clinton appointee.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Information plumbing.

    Hope so! Best of luck, sincerely.

    Project management, business communication, excellent working memory, broad knowledge of the types of problems you are working to solve, deep knowledge of the technical challenges which have excluded easy solutions to those problems. It also helps to have broad understanding of computer science, applied mathematics, and statistics. Those are the engineering skills of reliability and scale, the companies and jobs that are going to survive in lean times.

    Oh wait, my mistake. Current state of the industry? Javascript, Angular, Ruby on Rails, PEX, wrenches, soldering

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    "full stack"
    Jon`C seems like someone with a ton of experience and deep knowledge about a large number of technical topics. He also generally seems willing to answer questions around these things and share knowledge. I personally really enjoy working with people smarter than myself as long as they're not dicks about it. That said, I think the vast majority of software developers you will meet and work with in typical jobs don't have the depth he does nor the strong opinions that sometimes accompany that depth.

    I've worked with people I consider php script kiddies to java developers to really sharp c coders to people who can't fizzbuzz their way out of a box. Most of the people I work with are somewhere in the middle. They can solve problems, implement new features, work with project management, communicate effectively, and generally contribute positively to the projects we are working on. There is probably one guy on my team with technical knowledge as deep as Jon`C's and sometimes I think he should be working somewhere else (just so he's challenged more).

    My point is that you don't have to be a top 1% coder to be gainfully employed in a job you enjoy.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    Jon`C seems like someone with a ton of experience and deep knowledge about a large number of technical topics. He also generally seems willing to answer questions around these things and share knowledge. I personally really enjoy working with people smarter than myself as long as they're not dicks about it. That said, I think the vast majority of software developers you will meet and work with in typical jobs don't have the depth he does nor the strong opinions that sometimes accompany that depth.

    I've worked with people I consider php script kiddies to java developers to really sharp c coders to people who can't fizzbuzz their way out of a box. Most of the people I work with are somewhere in the middle. They can solve problems, implement new features, work with project management, communicate effectively, and generally contribute positively to the projects we are working on. There is probably one guy on my team with technical knowledge as deep as Jon`C's and sometimes I think he should be working somewhere else (just so he's challenged more).

    My point is that you don't have to be a top 1% coder to be gainfully employed in a job you enjoy.
    Brian is absolutely right. I didn't intend to claim that you need to be a legendary software developer in order to have a place in the industry. However, I do think you need to bring something else to the table than just the ability to write computer code.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Information plumbing.

    Oh wait, my mistake. Current state of the industry? Javascript, Angular, Ruby on Rails, PEX, wrenches, soldering
    Were you being facetious when you said this? I'll be learning JavaScript, Angular and Node.js at the bootcamp... good thing, to your mind?
    Last edited by Eversor; 03-02-2016 at 06:01 PM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Were you being facetious when you said this?
    Yes.

    I'll be learning JavaScript, Angular and Node.js at the bootcamp... good thing, to your mind?
    I don't know. Maybe? Hipster web stack has an 8 month half-life, so I don't even know if they're popular anymore. This shouldn't be the thing you're worrying about.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Yes.

    I don't know. Maybe? Hipster web stack has an 8 month half-life, so I don't even know if they're popular anymore. This shouldn't be the thing you're worrying about.
    So what should I worry about?
    Last edited by Eversor; 03-03-2016 at 04:38 AM.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Wookie06, who would you vote for:

    Trump vs Sanders?
    Write in Cruz.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Cruz vs Clinton?
    Cruz.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    So what should I worry about?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    They train people to do a specific job that only exists during a web bubble.
    So when you do the bootcamp, don't go into it thinking "I need to learn Angular" or "I want to learn node.js", because none of that stuff matters at all. In a year nobody will care that you know angular or node. What you need to learn is how to learn, because then you have the power to keep up with all of the latest faddy web framework trends. If the bootcamp can't help you learn that, it wasn't very good.

    Unless all you really want is a good job. In that case you should do a deep dive on COBOL. You'll never be asked to work in any other language.
    Last edited by Jon`C; 03-03-2016 at 01:24 AM.

  29. #29
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Many Americans suffered terribly during the last GOP presidency -- from Katrina, to the Great Recession and the Iraq War and everything else.
    Absolutely. However, still nowhere near the level of suffering during the Great Depression. Also, it doesn't help that large numbers of people are confused about what and who to be angry with (for a multitude of obvious reasons), and this results in people voting against their interests. Other than masochism, how else does Sam Brownback happen? How else do large numbers of minorities vote for the wife (yeah, yeah, she's not him, supposedly) of the President who is responsible for so much suffering within their communities? For instance, she's complicit in the Iraq War and arguably the Great Recession (if you buy in to campaign finance corruption).

    Which is just is to say that greater and more widespread suffering isn't necessarily conducive to the kind of humanitarian reform so many Democrats want. Even recent history has shown us that it isn't.
    You could certainly be correct, but I suspect that the suffering that recently occurred & still occurs, just doesn't meet the necessary threshold--that sweet spot between millions marching in the street, & our overloads being dragged out to the guillotines.
    Last edited by Mentat; 03-03-2016 at 02:25 AM.
    ? :)

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    Also I'm sick of people getting all pissy because the GOP filibusters or somehow is at fault for government shutdowns. The democrats use and have used the exact same tactics when it suits their goals. Whatever party isn't getting what they want uses whatever means necessary to try to get it.
    I don't think that the tactics are the primary problem, but instead the "reasoning" behind them. The Democrats and Republicans are no longer two sides of a coin. The Democrats are heads and the Republicans are smelter.
    Last edited by Mentat; 03-03-2016 at 02:36 AM.
    ? :)

  32. #32
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    We're still in the "great expectations" to early "acute downturn" phase. The right people aren't suffering enough yet. Capitalism isn't terminal until the economic coercion begins to backfire.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mentat View Post
    I don't think that the tactics are the primary problem, but instead the "reasoning" behind them. The Democrats and Republicans are no longer two sides of a coin. The Democrats are heads and the Republicans are smelter.
    Why are their reasons suspect? I'm sure they are doing it for the same reason as the democrats, to stop legislation which they feel is irresponsible. Even Hitler thought he was a good person, being wrong or evil doesn't preclude you from having convictions.

  34. #34
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    Speaking of Hitler, guess how the Koch brothers got their family fortune. The answer may surprise you.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    What you need to learn is how to learn.
    I'm not working in the industry, so feel free to take anything I say with a grain of salt, but I spend a great deal of time reading programming articles and books as a hobby of sorts and this appears to me to be the obvious solution that so many fail to grasp. I don't even think that it's a counter-intuitive concept, but somehow it gets lost in the noise. The fake it until you make it approach is fine (let's face it, that's the methodology of most code boot camps--they're offering you just enough of a chance to get your foot in the door, but the rest will be up to you), so long as you eventually make it, but apparently far too many people become complacent and settle for the "magic" of things like Rails, without ever really learning anything of substance. I've been hearing more and more people giving the advice that Jon'C does (just Google "how to learn" to see what I'm talking about), but few of them go into any depth on the subject, which I think just plain confuses people that have never scratched the surface of learning how to learn. Like, they literally don't even know where to begin. I know this to be the case because I've experienced it personally. For those of us that didn't go to university, self-study is often an exercise in futility, unless we're introspective or lucky enough to figure things out. Hell, I struggled for months just trying to do something as fundamental as proper and effective note-taking. Anyways, I think that question that people like Eversor and myself should be asking someone like Jon'C (or anyone else that has insights into this subject) is how does one learn to learn? Granted, this is a broad question, and there may not be a one-size fits all approach, so how about just answering the question: what insights can you give regarding how one goes about learning how to learn about programming?
    Last edited by Mentat; 03-03-2016 at 03:39 AM.
    ? :)

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Speaking of Hitler, guess how the Koch brothers got their family fortune. The answer may surprise you.
    I heard about this in a podcast the other day. Honestly, I wasn't surprised. I find it difficult to be surprised anymore. Reality has become stranger than fiction.
    Last edited by Mentat; 03-03-2016 at 04:20 AM.
    ? :)

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Mentat View Post
    Anyways, I think that question that people like Eversor and myself should be asking someone like Jon'C (or anyone else that has insights into this subject) is how does one learn to learn? Granted, this is a broad question, and there may not be a one-size fits all approach, so how about just answering the question: what insights can you give regarding how one goes about learning how to learn about programming?
    Actually, I think I've already got the learning thing down. I've been a student for far too long to not know how to teach myself something new. (I have two graduate degrees, both in the humanities.)

    In general, learning something new requires motivation, determination and confidence. It will take a long time to master a new skill, and improvement will be slow and incremental. It requires devotion to stick with something, when there's no guarantee that it will work out, and when it will consume a large amount of time. So you need to be able to motivate yourself, because you're going to have virtually no supervision from anyone else, and no one else's approval to assure you that you're on the right path. Luckily, it does, in a sense, boil down to this: you just have to put the time and effort in, and commit to something that will happen after months or even years.

    Since I've begun learning how to program, I've used a bunch of MOOCs that are available online. With MOOCs, I find it's best to shop around. The best materials will always be whatever materials work best for you. Always remember that the point isn't just to g do something like a Team Treehouse, codeacademy or Code School lesson for its own sake (i.e., to go through the exercises and complete all of the material). The purpose of your learning is to actually master the skill. One of the great things about these resources is if you're going through a certain program, and the teacher gives a poor explanation, you can just go on YouTube and find someone else who can explain it better. The point is just that you are responsible for your own learning: you have to do whatever is necessary in order to develop a mastery or at least competence in the material. That means that you have to be constantly assessing yourself and asking yourself, honestly, "do I understand what I was just told?" If not, you have to rewatch the last 10 or 20 or 30 seconds of the video, until you do understand. You have to develop the ability to be introspective and evaluate yourself, and to give yourself work based on on your self-assessments. To my mind, being honest with yourself and knowing that you don't know certain things, and knowing what those things are, is one of the most -- if not the most -- critical abilities to have for self-study. Otherwise, you'll delude yourself into thinking that you know things you don't know, and then won't bother to study/learn them.

    In terms of learning strategies like some of the ones you alluded to, I take notes when I go through MOOCs. I write down almost everything I hear, usually just because it means that I have to pause the video frequently, and each time take a moment to think about what I've just watched, and how it fits into the larger topic I'm working on. Writing also helps me retain better what I come across. And if I don't retain it, I can always go back to my notes, which can sometimes save time (it can be a lot quicker than scanning through a video on a MOOC or on YouTube). It's better, in my opinion to write notes by hand on paper, although it takes more time.

    The one thing that I haven't mastered is how to plan a course for the long term (or, in other words, how to create a curriculum for myself). Since I've begun teaching myself JavaScript, I've had stretches of days where I've been full of optimism, because I knew exactly what I needed to work on, so I devoted myself to it fully. But then I'd get through the resource, and I'd begin to feel aimless, because I didn't know what the next thing to do was. One of the most difficult parts of the whole self-study thing, to my mind, is that sometimes you can fall into a rut, where you just don't know what the next thing to study is: when you get to that point, you'll look over unfamiliar topics, and you'll know that some things will be far too difficult, while others will be things that are already easy for you. The best way to solve this problem is to develop an appreciation for the big picture of whatever you're trying to learn. In my own case, it's been helpful to me that I knew I wanted to go a coding bootcamp where they taught the MEAN stack, because, at the most general level, I always knew that the next thing would in some way or another involve JavaScript or a related technology.
    Last edited by Eversor; 03-03-2016 at 08:08 AM.

  38. #38
    Admiral of Awesome
    Posts
    18,299
    You'll do fine.

  39. #39
    Human Computer
    Posts
    2,825
    That appears to be good advice, Eversor. I spent much of the past year teaching myself C because of my inner masochist who insisted that K&R is all that one should ever need, & while I'm certainly not adept at pointers & the like, I'd have to say that it was worth it. I recently started working through Learn Python the Hard Way & everything I learned about C has made it so much easier. I'm already at home with the fundamentals of CSS3 & HTML5 but I nearly get an aneurysm every time I take a look at JS. I've been casually browsing the Django documentation when I'm bored & it looks interesting, so maybe I'll look in to leaning more towards the back-end if I do any web-programming at all. Isn't the whole full-stack thing just BS? It seems to me that being adept at all of those technologies would take far more time than most people would actually have.
    ? :)

  40. #40
    Why did you have that reaction to JS?
    Last edited by Eversor; 03-04-2016 at 05:49 AM.

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