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  1. #1
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    How did you start programming?

    I am a newbie (so were you once :-) but I am very curious in learning programming?

    -What made you start programming?
    -How/Where did you learn programming?
    -How long did it take you to learn a language such as PHP? (If I were to put 2 hours per day, how long can I expect to create something useful)
    -How difficult is programming?
    -What skills are required in programming?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru themightystephen's Avatar
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    I originally had no desire to become a programmer. My dad had set up his website which I helped to run. I used the good old microsoft frontpage WYSIWIG at the start. After a while I got interested in how it all worked. I first learnt HTML, then moved onto CSS, and then PHP. And from PHP I have started to use databases and learn how to design databases well (even though I am not a db design expert yet, I'm getting better) using MySQL. So there wasn't really one thing that made me start programming, just a gentle slope down into it.

    I am no way near an expert yet, but I find that spending a good couple of weeks just on programming or completing a PHP project of some kind was the best way to learn for me (with a lot of help from Sitepoint, programming books and tutorials). Learning PHP is an ongoing process anyway...you never get to the end of discovering new useful functions or new techniques. And once you've got your head round one programming language, it doesn't half as much time to get your head round the next language you want to learn.

    Generally I would say programming can be difficult, and it can be easy. Some people find it easier to pick up programming. It requires a certain way of thinking. It requires you to be logical in your approach and later on when you start doing object oriented programming (as I'm trying to do now) you find that you need to "generalise" your code so that you can apply it to many different projects.
    Get your heelys now at flywalk.co.uk - But what are heelys?
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  3. #3
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    I started about 8 months ago (not exactly sure but it is about that). I wanted somewhere to put stupid (and kinda funny) ideas. So I downloaded NVU, made my first website which was a couple of pages big and put it on Bravehost.net's free account.

    Then I found out that NVU was rubbish and it doesnt produce good code - so I learned HTML. Then I got interested in making websites and now I do it all the time. I learned HTML, then CSS, then XHTML, then php and mysql.

    Im only 15 but have got quite a few websites (and alot of domains parked at SEDO for a bit of money). 1 has a good community. A site I am working on just now is my best yet. Made my own CMS, rating + voting system, integrated it with forums. Im quite proud of it

    But its still 2.5 years till Im old enough to have a credit card so I cant make money out of the sites

  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot Biju's Avatar
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    What made you start programming?

    I am very fond of computing, so did made a start.

    -How/Where did you learn programming?

    Learnt through my friend Sachin and some books.

    -How long did it take you to learn a language such as PHP? (If I were to put 2 hours per day, how long can I expect to create something useful)

    Hmm depends for each person, for me it was quick and easy.

    -How difficult is programming?

    It depends upon your interest in that field.

    -What skills are required in programming?

    You must have interest and willingness to learn.
    I suggest everyone to upgrade to Windows Vista.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnbears
    -What made you start programming?
    i had a small website built, and it had a bit of php code in it. i love to do things myself, so i just had to figure out how it worked. i had to learn html and php at the same time. i actually learned php a bit faster i think.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbears
    -How/Where did you learn programming?
    lots of tutorials, google searches, and just messing with the code to see how things worked. i referenced the php manual a ton. if i had to do it again, id buy a book. it would have saved me time, and probably prevented some bad practices i picked up from random tutorials which were written by amateurs.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbears
    -How long did it take you to learn a language such as PHP? (If I were to put 2 hours per day, how long can I expect to create something useful)
    cant really give an answer. you never stop learning. php has a low barrier to entry, so you can get something running almost right away. how well it works, and how much it actually does, is the question.
    Quote Originally Posted by johnbears
    -How difficult is programming?
    difficult for some people. pretty easy and enjoyable for others. see next answer.
    Quote Originally Posted by johnbears
    -What skills are required in programming?
    more than anything id say a logical and methodical thought process, and curiosity.
    if you are the type of person who craves to understand the intricate details of why something works the way it does, i think you will do very well.
    if you are the type of person who would rather have code completely spoon fed to you, with little regard as to why it works the way it does, you will learn much slower, and will probably struggle for a very long time, if not forever.

  6. #6
    I meant that to happen silver trophybronze trophy Raffles's Avatar
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    Until about a year ago, I had only made one website in Dreanweaver (WYSIWYG way). Then I was given a website to rewrite from scratch for a club at university and thought this would be a good way to learn HTML and CSS (which I had just discovered) properly. After some time, I realised that it was a much bigger website than I had anticipated and that editing static HTML was a pain in the ****. So I made it into a mini-CMS style starting with simple PHP includes and if statements and then as I read about more and more functions in the manual and realised that I could automate the site so much more (decreasing the maintenance time for me), I really started to get into it.

    The best thing I think is to have a project in mind and then go about creating it rather than to just say "I want to learn PHP" and print Hello World in two hundred different ways. I decided recently to make myself a photo gallery not because I really need to but because it's a good way to learn more PHP (and I've made myself learn javascript now too).

    Clamclusher's words of wisdom are certiainly worth taking heed to, particularly in the last paragraph. He couldn't be more right.

  7. #7
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    In the 60s my dad took an intro programming class at Michigan State. In 1982, he decided to take intro programming again at the local community college. I read his text book and wrote some programs out on a pad of paper. Then, I went to the library and paid $1/hr to use the computer. After about a dozen or so trips, my parents bought me a computer. I was 12. Later, I went to Michigan State and ended up having the EXACT SAME comp science professor that my dad had 30 years before.

  8. #8
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    I started when I wanted to make my pages more dynamic. I wanted to make my own systems and what-not. Adding in all of my own features. Also, I can edit other people's work such as phpBB and add in my own features.

    I learned ALL I know so far from here and http://php.net

  9. #9
    SitePoint Evangelist dscriptor's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I started programming when I was in my first year in college.. it was really fun, creating simple application using Turbo C. Yes it is!

    then I learned the Visual Basic. and then the ASP, but I found out that PHP is easier to learn and is more interesting.

    There is a fun side of solving logic problems, methods, and developing it.

    Another good thing is, you must have a passion in programming.
    happy is the man that finds wisdom....wisdom in {PHP}.


  10. #10
    eschew sesquipedalians silver trophy sweatje's Avatar
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    I was 10 or 11, and my Dad was a teacher who bought the first Apple II (integer BASIC, 8k RAM, cassette drive ) computer in the school district. He brought it home over the summer, and I learned to program so I could figure out how to reprogram the games so I could cheat.
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  11. #11
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    -What made you start programming?
    I got into HTML and Javascript by making gaudy webpages on Geocities back in 1997 when it was all the rage. A couple of years later I learned more about programming in college.
    -How/Where did you learn programming?
    School and searching the web, in addition to a few books I bought when I found a language I wanted to learn.
    -How long did it take you to learn a language such as PHP? (If I were to put 2 hours per day, how long can I expect to create something useful)
    I learned basic PHP in a few hours, but I already had some previous programming experience and web programming experience. It's a pretty easy language to get going in, but even with a "simple" language like PHP it's not likely you'll ever learn everything about it.
    -How difficult is programming?
    Depends on what you're programming. A simple website in PHP and HTML is a lot easier than writing the next version of Photoshop for example.
    -What skills are required in programming?
    Problem solving skills, the ability to filter out what's not useful from what's useful, and good communication skills.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Zealot
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    What made you start programming?
    I was always curious how forms were processed and how databases were used on websites.

    How/Where did you learn programming?
    During 1999/2000 I decided to start learning HTML (firstly in MS Publisher.. hehe) and I spent hours playing around with Javascript and CGI scripts with my Geocities website . And then in 2001, I was introduced to PHP (long story), and from then on I decided I would sit and learn the god damn thing until I could program.

    How long did it take you to learn a language such as PHP? (If I were to put 2 hours per day, how long can I expect to create something useful)
    I spent literally all day for weeks learning it using online tutorials (I've never purchased a book). During that time, I was asked if I were able to build a portal site of which would need a database for a members area, a member site, and a credit card recurring payments system (multi-lingual too - in 5 languages). Funnily enough, I felt I had grasped enough of PHP in order to do this not really thinking about it, and took the job full time from home, and with some hard work and a few more tutorials, I managed to design and build it - and "they" loved it!

    That job allowed me to learn lots more including video/audio processing and streaming, flash, obviously how credit card gateways work etc, and managing a Linux server. It was a fantastic experience and did my confidence a world of good; communicating and meeting these people for discussions/dinner. It wasn't bad for a 17 year old with about 2 months experience in PHP, I thought.

    How difficult is programming?
    Once you grasp the concept, writing it is easy. But you may always run into problems when "building" something no matter how apt you are.

    What skills are required in programming?
    Just the right mindset. Clamcrushers answer to this question is very interesting - and true! You need patience and want to solve problems yourself. If you let others solve your problems all the time, you're not learning anything.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Enthusiast nickthrolson's Avatar
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    Hi everyone my story is a good one i started by making my schools website i also took 6 years of graphics i learned alot now i bought a phpfox site ycs im curently learning php and mysql i hope to learn more im gonna go to a community college and then a 4 year to get my masters in computer science

  14. #14
    SitePoint Addict AfroNinja's Avatar
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    I learned basic HTML when I got interested in making basic sites many years ago if that counts. I took a free summer class from a college in programming (I was always interested in computers) and I did pretty good, and I decided I liked programming. I applied some of the stuff I learned in the class to flash and actionscript (flash 5 at the time) and started making really basic games with it. I then decided to go to college for a computer programming degree and during those three years I increased my programming knowledge drastically, through classes, personal projects, and general interest.

    Towards the end of school I decided I wanted my website to be dynamic, so I picked up PHP (easy to learn after classes of Java and C++) and since then I've just continued to expand my programming in various areas. I usually stick with web languages like php, mysql, xhtml, javascript, etc. along with actionscript and flash. Been programming about five years now.

    How difficult is programming? Too many factors to list. Depends on your language, what you need to accomplish, your resources, and so on. The key is logical thinking. You have to tell the computer to do EVERYTHING. If you can think logically you can program. There are so many things to learn in regards to programming. I'd like to think I've become a decent programmer over the years, but there are so many subjects and areas that I still know nothing or next to nothing about.
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