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Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer...

Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer...   ...because it teaches you how to think.   -Steve Jobs     Knowing how to program is an incredibly important skill that is becoming more and more valuable as technology is becoming extremely important in our everyday lives.   And even if you don't plan to be a tech-savvy computer geek who is shaping the future, programming can still greatly help you reach your goals.   I have met many mathematicians, biologists, chemists, statisticians, and accountants who used their programming knowledge to make programs that help them reach their goals.   Many scientists who conduct research program their own applications that help them conduct research or properly store/interpret data.   I have met accountants who used programming to make Excel application tools and other database tools.   If for no other reason, one... read more

Computer Programming: The need for Design training

I have an MS in Computer Science and over 40 years of experience.  I now tutor students in this area. I think that it is critical to be sure students are imbued with the importance of Design in doing Computer Programming. Who builds a skyscraper without blueprints?   Indeed, the importance extends to the entire development methodology: Requirements, Design, Build, Testing, and Deployment. Each area requires training to be a truly proficient Computer Scientist and Programmer.  I think we as tutors need to be sure students understand this. Programming is only a small part of the actual work.      

Questions from Your Tutor......?!!? Questions for your Tutor.

You'd think that, "If I'm paying for tutoring, he should be answering MY questions. Not the other way around." While I can sympathize with the general sentiment, I'd say,"you're way off base there!"   I think that the tutor/teacher/coach should never ask the student directly,"Do you understand __________ ?" Not knowing the subject matter, how would the student know/evaluate/determine if they understood or not ? Generally they can't, that's why the need a tutor. Rather than ask about specific content, directly, I ask questions to determine if the student understands the material and how the pieces fit together. Sometimes that's five or six questions.   Here's my general GAME PLAN: Find out where they are. Tell them, show them, then see what they heard and saw.   When your tutor's asking you questions, he/she is probably working the same kind of plan. You can help them help you by always providing the syllabus... read more

Variables in C#

What Are Variables? Essentially we can think of variables in computer memory as boxes sitting on a shelf. With boxes we can put things in and take them out again, or we can just look inside a box and see if anything is there. The same goes for variables; we place data in them and can take it out or look at it, as required. Although all data in a computer is effectively the same thing (a series of zeros and ones), variables come in different flavors, known as types. Again, using our box analogy we can imagine that our boxes come in different shapes and sizes, and some things will only fit in certain boxes. The reasoning behind this type system is that different types of data may require different methods of manipulation, and by restricting variables into individual types we can avoid getting mixed up. It wouldn't, for example, make much sense to treat the series of zeros and ones that make up a digital picture as an audio file. In order to use variables,... read more

Getting Started with C++ and Visual Studio

This post shows you how to get a good, free compiler for C++ and get started writing a program. To get your free compiler: 1. Go to this link: http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/downloads#d-2010-express 2. Click the plus sign next to the tab which says Visual C++ 2010 Express. Then click install now. 3. A download should start, then if you are using Internet Explorer click run on the bottom of the screen (if you are using Chrome or Firefox then go to the downloads folder and double click the file named vc_web.exe). The installation should start. 4. Click next. Click I have read and accept the license terms, and click next. Then click install. (at this point, I stopped the installation because I already have the program so if there are any more screens just do the default settings and click next.) 5. To create a C++ project click  File>New>Project. 6. A "New Project" window will appear. Click "Empty... read more

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