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PirateKing15

Importance of College

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In my experience college/uni isnt that important for computer security. If you find the right place to go to then having like minded people around is much more beneficial than actually attending college/uni. Im currently studying Computer Science and while i havent learnt a great deal about computer security i have been forced to learn things that i would otherwise keep putting off. It's also helped to expand my ideas about computing. When i started Uni i wanted to learn more about computer security but now im looking into going into research, maybe AI or cryptography,

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Yeah. I am still young(16) but that doesn't mean I can't look towards the future. I am really interested in programming more than anything. I have started C++ three times and stopped for some reason, started Java twice and stopped for some reason. Started Python twice and stopped for some reason. At my age, I have a lot to deal with like school and work and all that so I always end up not having time to dedicate to reading and such. I plan on starting one of the aforementioned again and sticking with it this time. I have more free time now and would like to give it another shot. Although, I am also interested in the computer security field as well. I like to read a lot so that is a big help. I have always been the kind of person that picks things up easily and quickly. I only got interested in computers a year or two ago and I already know quite a bit. Out of the languages I mentioned above, any suggestions? I want it to be one of the three. Although, C# is a possibility as well. It is gaining lots of popularity lately. Seems interesting.

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The big ol' language question. Some people say learn C because it's used everywhere and you get alot of control over the language (like pointers and such) but other say c++ because it's like C but Object Orientated. IMO C and C++ are great languages if you can use them right, but learning to do so can take a lot of time and practice. C++ has some really awesome features but it's hard to find books on them unless you can already program.

When i first started getting into computers (around 16) I started with learning a few languages but kept stopping because i got bored with them. Looking back it was because i didnt have anyone to help me learn the more advanced features. There's only so many ways you can write a "hello world" app.

At the moment im learning Python which i really like. I would suggest learning Python and java. Java is portable so you can develop on any platform and is object orientated. It also has a similar syntax to C/C++ so it will be easier to switch if you want to in the future. As well as being everywhere in industry (web and application development) it is also really easy to write quite complex programs. There are libraries for everything which makes it easier for a novice programmer. Learning a scripting language like Python is also worthwhile as it makes you think about things like differences in syntax. Also handy for smaller tasks.

Of course, everyone has different interests and their own opinions on the best language to start with.

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I know what you mean about wanting to learn more advanced things. I found a really great Java tutorial that was teaching me at a quick but effective speed. And I remember now that I stopped Java the first time because I lost that tutorial. I guess Java it is. I really never got into python because of the fact that at the time, I was on Windows and I didn't understand how to save scripts or anything. I was basically just learning math over again. It got boring. So I am really thinking about Java. But I have learned quite a bit of C++. That is the language I got the farthest with and I really liked it. So I don't know. Maybe I'll just do Java and then like you said, C++ will be easier to grasp.

EDIT: I've thought about it and I've decided to stick with C++. Mainly because I don't feel like installing JDK right now. And compiling is a whole lot easier with C++. Any suggestions for compilers though? I've primarily used Dev C++.

Also, I've started reading 'C++ By Dissection' by Ira Pohl. It's kinda old(2002) but it has a pretty quick learning curve and that is what I am looking for. And if you still have any comments on the college thing, feel free to let me know your opinion.

Edited by L33T_j0sH
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Go to college and get a degree in computer science if you're interested in programming. But be ready to do a lot of math because when you get into higher up computer science it becomes very math-heavy.

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college isn't for everyone, but i would say it's a very good idea to at least get a bachelor's degree in something. even better for you if it's something you like and are interested in. that way you can get a job with a salary you can do things with, although as long as you're happy and satisfied, it doesn't matter.

as for programming, C/C++ and python are great languages, and definitely pick up a book on the language you're learning. i'm a c++ man myself, and i will say that coding with someone else is a great way to get into the language more.

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I really have no one else to get into C++ with. That's why I was considering C#. I have a friend that knows C#. And I have another friend that is a very proficient programmer.

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I really have no one else to get into C++ with. That's why I was considering C#. I have a friend that knows C#. And I have another friend that is a very proficient programmer.

Thats why the internet is so great. Start a small project and see if you can get others to join you.

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You ought to sort your priorities right. Saying that you want a future in programming, but as of yet have failed to learn how to program, with fruitless repetitive attempts emancipates that your dreams remain as pipe dreams, and suggests that you would most probably be unable to self-educate yourself in the field. Attending a college may, or may not improve the current condition of your level of understanding, this usually depends on your will and attitude to learn under an authority, and not for your own development.

If you hope to have any future in this, you should learn _how_ now. Tomorrow really never comes, and if it does, you're probably not going to learn it, anyway.

It's time you made a decision, and acted upon it.

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I understand what you are saying oddflux. But as I said, it is not that I can't "self-educate" myself. It's that I was always too busy before. I have A LOT more free time now and am willing to dedicate more time to it. That is why I am ready to get back into this. I am pretty sure I will not have to worry about stopping this time.

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Even small amount of school whether college or VoTech school helps if you get a certain track going.

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L33T_j0sH I wouldn't suggest learning Java first. It can be cryptic from time to time and might be on the hard side for beginners. IMO I would take into consideration Visual Basic or Python they're both very English word based and easier to learn. I took the same path when I first started programming, keep switching never saying solid. The best way to get good is to stick with just one and master it. No matter what, don't drop that language. Bouncing from language to language is just going to slow you down and confuse the hell out of you!

C# is more or less a variation of C++ and Java, except no header include files and all that fun junk. If it were me, I would save C# as a second language. At this point I am master C++ as best as I can.

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Like I said, I was leaning more towards C++ than anything. I have gotten the farthest with it and like it very much. And I know it is a very powerful language with a lot of control. The past 2 days I have been skimming over the first few chapters in the book for stuff that I have already read 3 times just to refresh my memory and then I am going to get started learning again. It seems like every time I start again, I understand something that I didn't understand the time before. Thanks for all the suggestions. Any suggestions on the college thing are still welcome. Although, since I am more into programming than anything, I think that college is a good idea. (It's not like my mom plans on letting me skip out on college anyway. :P )

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If you're into programming more than anything, then starting by learning a programming language is completely wrong. What you should do instead is learn about algortithms and data structures (yet again, the link in my signature) that are completely abstract, and then learn implementation by learning the syntax of a language you want to learn. By starting with any language you are limiting yourself to the paradigm preferred or sometimes enforced by the language. Since you said you're more into programming than anything, then you should learn the ability of solving problems first, not the ability of implementing solutions. You're going to be much better off then.

Edited by WhatChout
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Back in the day when I had nothing better to do then to program (living out in the boonies, no car, and noone to hang out with). I worked on my programming skills by taking puzzles and making programs to find all the possible solutions. In fact. I just did that "triangle pegboard" puzzle a few days ago, the one you find at Cracker Barrels. I'm thinking of posting it as a challenge. If anyone's interested, I'll move forward and post it.

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Go to college and get a degree in computer science if you're interested in programming. But be ready to do a lot of math because when you get into higher up computer science it becomes very math-heavy.

Mind making a list of mathmatics you would need to learn from the ground up, if you are willing?

Thanks.

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algebra, trig, calculus I & II, discrete math, and linear algebra are the main required courses pretty much anywhere you go for CS. Depending on the school you go to there may be other required classes or optional recommended courses.

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If you're into programming more than anything, then starting by learning a programming language is completely wrong. What you should do instead is learn about algortithms and data structures (yet again, the link in my signature) that are completely abstract, and then learn implementation by learning the syntax of a language you want to learn. By starting with any language you are limiting yourself to the paradigm preferred or sometimes enforced by the language. Since you said you're more into programming than anything, then you should learn the ability of solving problems first, not the ability of implementing solutions. You're going to be much better off then.

This is a really neat way to do it, since all languages are based on algorithms and data structures to and extent but I guess it would only work if you're ok with not seeing any final product. I know the main reason I loved programming so much was because I could code and create something, not mess about with formulas and theory which I spent most of my time doing at school :P

At the moment I'm studying CS at University and the math bit is killing me in my DS&A module. I really wish I spent more (read ALOT more) time with math. I wouldn't bother with VB tbh, I wish I hadn't, I'd go with another language like python or C++. C# is pretty good to. I found Java to be really, really tricky when learning it in my first year. The syntax was easy but the concepts behind OO just elude me completely <_< I guess that's because I come from a structured programming language background.

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If you're into programming more than anything, then starting by learning a programming language is completely wrong. What you should do instead is learn about algortithms and data structures (yet again, the link in my signature) that are completely abstract, and then learn implementation by learning the syntax of a language you want to learn. By starting with any language you are limiting yourself to the paradigm preferred or sometimes enforced by the language. Since you said you're more into programming than anything, then you should learn the ability of solving problems first, not the ability of implementing solutions. You're going to be much better off then.

I'll be sure to take a look at that. It's sounds like a good idea. What exactly at that site do you suggest I read. I don't see anything right off that seems like what you are talking about.

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This is a really neat way to do it, since all languages are based on algorithms and data structures to and extent but I guess it would only work if you're ok with not seeing any final product. I know the main reason I loved programming so much was because I could code and create something, not mess about with formulas and theory which I spent most of my time doing at school

Well then you didn't really love programming, you loved tinkering or coding at best. A good programmer is a one that can devise a universal solution that can then be translated into any language the programmer chooses. Other people just think inside the limitations of the syntax provided by the language they know. Coding monkeys don't even think, they just apply well-known solutions to observed patterns and pray that they work. All of these people can code in a certain language, but the programmer is the one who, by understanding of the theory, can make meaningful practice, instead of blindly trying out known solutions.

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I'd say college is important because it gives a person a well-rounded education. Many of my colleagues have CS degrees. Besides good technical knowledge they know a lot about architecture, advanced mathematics, business, medicine, foreign languages, and writing. Most of which will help in the IT security field.

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College is nessecary because everyone 'thinks' that it is. Today its just a business that pumps the kids who can pay the bill. As more and more suburban students were born, more of them began to attend this schoolastic nightmare we call college where your typical accredited university banks on dorm fees and tuition payments and parking tickets. In return we get a multiple choice education where the answer may or may not be 'all of the above' depending on how one looks at it. This mainstream flow has caused a 'general' acceptence level of education and is now being standardized as highschool was 20 or 30 years ago. Eventually there will come a time when a highschool education or ged will not get you those high paying jobs at a young age only experience will. Current profesionals have told me that THEY have been told they'll never be managers at major companies/institutions without and MBA or equivalant.

If one were to skip college, which I wish was a more plaudable alternative; experience and certs play a role...the rest is who you know. You will literally have to climb the ladder from the bottom. A college education will put you a few rungs up regardless of experience and certifications. However; don't be fooled into thinking just a degree will get you ahead. I know more idiots with degrees in CS that couldn't do nearly what you'd expect them to be capable of. The problem with school is that it is very unapplicable. If you want to be a true "well-rounded student" then you'll need work experience related to your field of choice, not wegmans cashier or a toll both attendant. If you want to be a step ahead of the game, you'll have certifcations (low level obviously) that prove what you have learned about your field so far (aside from school learning). I'm graduating this summer and what i've heard from many IT professionals is that grades don't really mean shit. Get the degree on your paper and be done with it. In order to promote your knowledge of programming/computers that you've learned outside of school then you must get certifications, ever if you are super-leet programmer w/e with 30 years experience, your next employer doesn't know how good you are unless you've reached certain accepted milestones. The moral of all this nonsense is that if one wants to be as succesful as possible and is not some gifted golden child then they have to look at EVERY aspect of self actualization.

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From what I've seen IT employers would rather see a CS degree vs Certifications. My current position, Sr. Network Technician, which was listed as requiring a CS degree was almost unattainable to me just because of a lack of formal education. After a month of consideration they just hired me because nobody else they interviewed had the job skills for the position.

They explained the hesitation to hire me at first. The position required several other job skills besides tech; such as leading a group of NOC support techs, project planning, communication with the Customer Service Dept., etc ... I did not even apply for that position, as my resume was forwarded to a manager after applying for a lower level position. My consideration for the position was based simply on my past employment experience as a supervisor and technical knowledge. They did however give me a big time quiz regarding my tech. knowledge before hiring. I was on a conference call with my predecessor and hiring manager when they asked me various networking/tech scenarios and solutions.

At hiring it is easy for a tech savvy person to quickly assess ones technical prowess by putting them on the spot and asking various tech related questions.

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How important would you guys say college is in the internet security field?

College is essential for just about anything that you wish to turn into even a marginally successful career. (Note the use of the word "career", not "job". Any idiot can find a job to work at for the next 30 years and barely eek out a living.)

Even in the pre-Internet days where college educated workers were *not* a dime-a-dozen, those stories of high school and college dropouts who become multi-zillionaire geniuses were few and far between. Nowadays, I believe I can say with an astounding degree of certainty that you will not ever be "successful" (i.e. by the generally accepted standards of modern society) if you do not have a college degree of some kind. Hell, there are lots of people with college degrees who aren't even making it.

Formal education is worthwhile... it's hard to see that while you're being subjected to it, but it's true. Sure, it's easier to think that you don't need no stinking classes and that you can become some sort of maverick dynamo super-l33t ninja on your own... but take a good honest look at what your reasons are for thinking that. If they are anything like "School sucks!", then you're probably not in the right frame of mind and would likely be making a bad decision. Study on your own anyway, if you are so inclined. But don't be too quick to think that academia has nothing to offer.

4 or 5 years in college is a very very small amount of time, compared to the potential for 40-50 years of regret of not going.

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