Understanding the C++ Culture

How Becoming a C++ Developer can assist me in my current studies

I first learned to program in C++ in 2017 when I had to change my major from Chemistry to Math and decided to do some Computer Science courses as well. Distance learning is a bit easier with these courses as I was required to do my chemistry practicals in Pretoria even though I work in the chemistry department at the University of Cape Town. The practicals I did for my second year and subsequently passed were too different from the ones Unisa did. I totally understand but I was disappointed anyway.

Coding in C++

Although I have been able to code in C++ for a while now, I have not created anything useful with it yet. It’s almost like when I was doing my Electronics Technician Course and my Digital Systems projects were always way more cooler than the projects for Electronics class. I once made an awesome digital counter which I had to cheat on a bit because all my outputs came out wrong. I figured they were actually the inverse of what I needed and cheated by adding an inverter which my teacher didn’t notice.

What my digital systems circuit may have looked like.

Crossing My Wires

The circuit was too convoluted. In contrast, my electronics amplifier circuit had four components and the only way you could see amplification was by using a tool we use to see waves in electronics called an oscilloscope. The theory behind the circuit was extremely complex, even though the circuit was not. I failed electronics but got a distinction in digital systems that year.

Intro to C++ … Again

This year I am doing a course in C++ programming to help me get back in my degree program after Unisa excluded me academically. I actually need 48 credits and this course only awards 24 credits if passed. I’m hoping to try and get credit for the other work I’ve been doing (I did a course in Web Development) but if not I’ll have to do another short course next year. Time is running out for me to get my degree but that’s not the end of the world.

This book is free to read online. Click on the link below to access it.

My Introduction to C++ Programming exam is on the 8th October, about 40 days away at the time of writing. I really want to ‘understand the culture’ of C++. Anders Norås advises in 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know (my book review coming later) that we should not just learn a language but understand it’s culture.

Online LinkedIn Learning

To facilitate with my doing this I’ve enrolled an old friend with a new name. LinkedIn Learning née Lynda.com is free to use at the University. I’ve done some courses there before and it’s great to be able to add this to your LinkedIn profile. Lately though I’ve been eyeing this program called Become a C++ Developer. I started with it this week and I’m enjoying it so far.

The LinkedIn Learning Path, Become a C++ Developer.

I’m trying to apply the lessons I learnt in Mindshift and Learning How to Learn. I use the Pomodoro Technique by tackling sections 25 minutes at a time. I watch the videos and if I’m assigned a task I give it 25 minutes only to try and solve. After that I look at the solution. I do this because I don’t want to be stuck on a problem forever and not make any progress. This way I’ve worked on and I’m satisfied that I didn’t just look at the solution.

Last year I was doing the C++ Code Clinic on LinkedIn Learning after finishing the instructor Bill Weinman’s C++ Essential Training and I got stuck on one of the first questions. It was a question which wanted me to parse data from the internet using C++. I had no idea to do that and my search eventually led me to web development which as you know, I’m in love with now. Not a bad detour, but I really want to try again. Luckily both courses are in the Become a C++ Developer program.

The Unisa Short Course

In the Unisa Short Program CSCP1D Introduction to C++ Programming, we were given four assignments. Two were multiple choice and two were assignments where we had to submit code. I want to talk about my experiences with the course in subsequent posts as I think writing about it will enhance my understanding. Also, I think it will hold me accountable for really trying my utmost to achieve this goal of finishing the program and ultimately passing this course.

I will try my best to keep these future posts light and not technical and hopefully this will encourage people to try programming for themselves. We have access to so much world class tuition these days and I really feel that having a better understanding of how technology works will give us a more informed stance when deciding to bring it even further in to our lives.

I recommend starting with CS50

I’m excited about the future but I also worry about the possible perils that technology might usher into the world. That is why I’m determined to make technology work for me. I believe that I can achieve all my dreams if I wield this tool correctly.

Photo Credit:

Featured Image – Photo by Taras Shypka on Unsplash

Electronics Image – Photo by Victor Aznabaev on Unsplash

Everyone Can Code Image – Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

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