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Visual Basic or Visual C++ ?????

By jackd ·
I would be interested in getting some expert opinion about programming.

What are the strengths/weaknesses of these respective languages?? Learning curves??

In light of Microsoft .Net platform, which would be the better choice to learn now??
(beginner in programming)

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Some help

by BrianHarris In reply to Visual Basic or Visual C+ ...

VB is easier to learn and you will find a lot of jobs that need it. However, they won't pay as well as VC++.

VC++ is much harder to learn(especially without a programming background) and you won't find as many jobs, but those that you do find will pay more.

.Net is a completely different animal altogether. If you could get a copy of the .Net beta I would tell you to learn C# instead of VB or VC++. If you can't get one soon I would say learn VB and Java until you can.

While I like Microsoft products and I LOVE the .Net stuff(working with Beta 1 now) I honestly have to say that you should look at Java right now. It will provide you with a fairly easy language to learn, job opportunities are abound and picking up .Net afterwards will be easier.

Good luck!

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Thank you very much!

by jackd In reply to Some help

Your comprehensive answer is greatly appreciated. I have another question(s) regarding java, is it true that it is for programming only in Netscape's browser and only for internet applications? Has it become a standard language?? Will it be aroundfor awhile??
Thanks again.

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More answers

by BrianHarris In reply to Thank you very much!

Its not just for Netscape's browser, but with the feud between Microsoft and Sun, your guess is as good as anyone's how long MS will support Java in their browser.

However, beyond simple "web applets" Java is mostly being used server side for e-com components. I think most Java developers will agree that Java isn't the best for "fat" user interfaces, becuase its just too slow. On the server is where you'll mostly find Java.

I'm managing a project right now with mostly junior developers doing VB. They all wanted to do UI because that's what VB is about, so they thought. After I got them involved in the business objects on the server side they decided that UI development isn't really quite as fun. I think Java will teach you thesame thing. Its fun to build UIs but not anywhere as fun or exciting as BOs.

Sun wanted Java to be standard and either submitted it to or were thinking about submitting it to a standards body but pulled back from that. So right now I don't believe Java is a standard, but neither is VB or VC++. That shouldn't stop you though.

I'm sure it will be around for awhile. Problem is these days that nothing is around forever. Its better to learn how to do proper development than get caught up in what language you're using. If you can program in Java or VB or C++ or C# or... you should easily be able to pick up a new language. The worst(and the best) part about IT and development is that things change really fast. It may well be that Java and/or .Net won't even be around in 5 years.

Keep a high-level view of IT and your career in it and change won't be a problem. Get caught up in the "holy wars" of the best OSs or languages and say "bye bye" to your long term career.

AgainGood Luck!

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Thank you again.

by jackd In reply to More answers

Thanks again for your useful insights. You have given me the answers I was seeking. I agree with you that one of the best things about the industry is that one has to keep learning.
The best to you.

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by pallan In reply to Thank you again.

If you want to build a career as a programmer, learn to program rather than learning a language. A progression from C to C++ to Java (which is derived from C++) will give you a better foundation than merely learning Java.

If you want to be doingthis for the next 5-10 years or more, you will have to adapt to new languages. Rote learning Java won't prepare you for that.

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Agree, but...

by BrianHarris In reply to Advice

While I agree with your statement that they should "...learn to program rather than learning a language." I slightly disagree with, "A progression from C to C++ to Java ... will give you a better foundation than merely learning Java."

While thatis how I got here and most people will claim is the best way to do get started, its not always practical. I had 4.5 years of college learning C and Pascal and eventually C++. That helped me "learn how to program" but the market wasn't anywhere near this good then.

He will eventually have to balance the need to be a good programmer with the need to get in to this job market while the getting is good. Java will teach him OO development, which while not the panacea of development, happens tobe THE deal now. Java will help him get a job right now and make a fair salary.

C and C++ are really good languages to know but someone can be a good programmer without them. The old way of looking at programming, that you pay your dues by starting with C or Assembler and then move up to other things, is passe.

We need to move on to where programmers realize that no one else is going to take care of their careers. They can learn just Java and not programming, but that limits career advancement. Or they can be active participants in their careers and learn not just languages and programming but also HOW to learn new things.

Software development is easily(I'm biased) the hardest part of IT. It takes a lot of work just to be average, never mind good. Just be aware of that and things will be fine.

Welcome to programming and good luck!

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I'll second the first part

by basilisk In reply to Advice

I'll second the first part of that advice. As someone who has taught undergraduate Computer Science for several years, I can say the trick to becoming a good programmer is not learning a specific language - it is learning how to break a task down into low level steps, having a good mental image of how a computer works internally, paying attention to details, being able to model real-world and imaginary objects and behaviors, and having a basic grasp of higher level mathematical concepts like function growth, set theory, and formal logic (even if you can't speak the formal language).
I can't necessarily vouch for the second part of this advice. It doesn't matter if you start in C or C++ or Java or VB or whatever, as long as you start in a full-featured language. Whatever your first language, you'll be well started on becoming a true programmer only after learning your second. :-)

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programming requirements

by goodheart In reply to I'll second the first par ...

Is it essential to have knowledge of "higher level mathematical concepts" in order to learn a programming language. can a person with non-mathematics background learn programming. any suggestions for a good book on Java for an absolute beginner withpreliminary knowledge of C++.

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by BrianHarris In reply to I'll second the first par ...

No you don't need a mathematics background to be a programmer. The reason most CS programs focus on mathmatics is two-fold. 1) Most CS departments and/or profs come from mathematics backgounds and 2) Mathematics teaches "logic" which I would argue IS a requirement to be a programmer.

You don't need to have any mathematical background to be a good programmer but you HAVE to be logical, as I think Jennifer points out in her post. You can get that skill as easily by taking philosophy classes,but that isn't a necessity either.

I'll let someone else offer Java book suggestions.

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by pallan In reply to I'll second the first par ...

I was using the C/C++/Java progression in the context of learning Java. Obviously there's other families of languages out there to learn. Extending this example, if the poster wants to learn to program (rather than just a language) this is a better progression than just jumping into Java. Why? What's the greater task, learning Java after learning C++ or learning C++ after learning Java? I'll bet the answer is the latter. The family of languages you learn should depend on what type of programming you want to do.

As a side note, I'd even consider extending this particular learning tree to Assembler/C/C++/Java. Someone else suggested going the quickest route to get into the job market before it cools. This, IMO, is shaky advice. Who will be the first out the door when the market does cool? The versatile professional, or the guy who took a "learn Java in 30 seconds" course?

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