[thelist] programming info

John DeStefano john.destefano at gmail.com
Wed Apr 19 14:07:20 CDT 2006

I know this is a programmer-heavy community, so I would bet that a few
folks may have thoughts on this (and a few more will want to pummel me
with RTFMs!):

I am not a Web developer by trade: I enjoy learning technology, I
create rather simple sites for family and people who ask me to do so,
and I would like to do much more than I already am (perhaps even for a
living), but I am nowhere near calling myself a "developer" of any
sort.  I've taken a few "Intro/101" classes on programming, and I
understand the base fundamentals.  I've taken scores of self-paced
tutorials in PHP, Perl, etc., and gotten through them, and I've been
through a few books.  I would not consider myself technologically nor
mathematically challenged; I write IT courses (although that may not
mean anything to some, I understand what I'm writing) and most people
who know me consider me a techno-geek (though I don't thoroughly live
up to that honor).

However, I always seem to hit a 'wall' when it comes to learning how
to program or script.  I understand the basics (what's a variable? why
declare a function? how do you print your name? etc.); I get the
difference between WHILE and FOR loops.  But soon after reaching that
point, the code morphs into what seems like a different language and I
find myself just copying the code in a book, tutorial, etc., and not
really understanding the what, why, or how behind it, or, worst of
all, how to take what I just did and apply it to something I could
create and use on my own.

I'd really appreciate some constructive feedback: ideas on what may
have gotten you started off on the right foot to learning, books or
sites that helped you to better understand the process or how to
recognize what constructs can and should be used in which situations. 
Anything to give me a boost and help push me up out of this
nowhereland between "beginner" and "novice".

Thanks, as always, for your thoughts.


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