How do I most effectively learn how to program?
October 30, 2011 10:59 PM Subscribe
I'd love to learn how to program effectively in a language like C++ or Java, so that I can, within a year or so, be somewhat productive.
I'm having a bit of a professional midlife crisis, and am considering learning how to program since I've always loved it and it can help secure a decent career for at least the next decade or two. I studied engineering at a top school, so I'm not dumb, although I'm in my late 30s and the only programming I know now is HTML and basic CSS.
I understand it will take a decade of concerted practical experience to be great; I'm just wondering how much training, and what kind, would get me to the point that I could (in fits and starts, and slowly, of course) be productive.
I don't learn great from books/online tutorials without the pressure of assignments and exams (I'm just wired that way, I guess) so I'm looking into local community colleges for certificate programs for C++ and MySQL/database programming. Keep in mind that there are some basic concepts and paradigms around programming that I wouldn't want to skip over in the rush to learn a language's syntax.
Is this the wrong approach? Is it pointless? Should I just focus on a few courses and then work on practice?