Computer Programming

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    I’m looking to attend some sort of course or class that will teach me computer programming. If you know of anything in Brooklyn, please let me know. Thanks.

    Pashuteh Yid

    Grace, if you are motivated, there are tons of good books on many languages that you can simply read on your own. You should buy a compiler program that allows you to write programs on your own computer and run them to see the results. For example, you can buy a book on C and a C compiler for your computer and work out the examples and assignments in the book. You will see if your program gives you the right answer on your own. If you make a mistake, you will know right away, as you will get the wrong answer, or possible the program won’t compile in the first place if you make a syntax error. It will tell you what type of error you made, and you will have to correct and recompile. You learn from these errors.

    There is even a book called C in 21 days.


    If you want to learn programming from 0 I would suggest the book “Head First Programming” from O’Reilly. All the software you need can be downloaded for free from the net, and its a good book.

    First a word of advice, go with Books from O’Reilly. the really are the best out there! (Disclaimer I am writing one for them now, should be out in the spring)

    And you should know that you can’t just read the book, you need to work threw all the exercises and really understand them.

    Also understand that if you want to do this for a living you need to keep learning. The best way to end up unemployed is to never improve your skills.

    Learning to program well takes time, but is really worth it as it can be a lot of fun and a very good way to make a living.

    If you have questions feel free to contact me.

    d a

    ZachKessin, does O’Reilly have any beginner graphics design books? If yes, please list them or give me a link. Thanks!


    try its around the price of a book a month and you can teach youself tons of languages at once its a matter of how many hours you put in and how disciplined you are but I used it and it’s great they have videos (of a computer and the programming not pple so there’s no untznius factor) for each lesson of each language…I find it easier than reading. When I wanted to stop I just cancelled and they didn’t make me do any commitment beyond that month…


    Too bad Cope doesn’t give those courses anymore. They were great!


    I don’t know what language you are looking to learn, but I have heard that has tutorials on a wide range of subjects (computer related). That might be a good place to start.

    Good luck.


    Several years ago, one could learn computer programming at COPE, SYRIT, Chubb, other vocational schools, and colleges.

    The type of programming that was taught (at least at COPE and SYRIT) was for business applications, as opposed to operating systems, utilities, games, etc.

    This is no longer true today.

    1) Programming can be done by someone sitting at a terminal in India, China, the Philippines, Eastern Europe, and so on. Their salaries are often a fraction of what a living wage in the U.S. is.

    2) Many huge institutions and corporations that had large Information Technology (IT) departments either collapsed or drastically cut their staff and budgets. Even some government agencies have had rounds of layoffs that impacted their IT departments.

    4) Even those fortunate to have kept their corporate IT jobs are often without the security, without the ability to switch companies, and without the salary advancements they used to have/get in the past. They are playing a game of musical chairs with an ever-decreasing number of positions available. Corporations and bosses know it, and they often behave accordingly.

    – Are too sensitive to outsource to overseas workers.

    – Require the programmer to be physically present at a certain location.

    – Need someone talented and trustworthy who you know will be available when needed.

    There are people who have done quite well with computer-based innovations, Zuckerberg (Facebook), Page and Brin (Google), YW Editor (Yeshivaworld), and many less-famous people as well.

    Nonetheless, to most people, especially, the frum community, programming means business-related IT.


    I don’t know of any beginner graphics books, but i have’t looked. Check their web site.

    For a first language I would very seriously recommend learning Python. It is pretty easy and teaches good habits. C is not a good place to start!

    You will have to write about 2000 lines of code (with someone good looking over your shoulder) before you will start to feel like you know what you are doing. Maybe more.

    If you are going to learn to program you really want a mentor who can point you in good directions and can tell you when you are doing things stupidly.


    I would disagree, While I am in Israel I can say that I am doing quite well as a programmer. However that being said the 1 year post HS fast class is not going to be the way to start, at least not if you want to do well. Do become an “A” list programmer you are going to need to get a college degree and work hard in school and after. Those classes were never going to create a skill set that would last. Sorry to break that news to you. There is a lot more to being a programmer than just knowing some Java or C++.

    If you want to keep a career as a programmer you need to learn a new language a year, and be constantly updating your skills. I has taken me 15 years to get to the point in my career where I finally feel like I really know what I am doing and can take on a wide range of tasks. A 1 year post HS class is not going to get you there.

    There is a lot of high tech still in the USA, not everything gets out sourced to India. A lot of companies are doing things locally and will continue to do things in the USA.



    I hope you continue to do well career-wise.

    To address your other points:

    There is a lot more to being a programmer than just knowing some Java or C++.

    Frum job placement offices can tell you that the number of out-of-work IT professionals is terrible.

    Out of curiosity, what job skills did you pick up with fifteen years of experience that you didn’t have after ten?


    A lot of the improvement has come in the last 2 1/2 years that I have been in my current job. I have had a great boss who has really pushed me hard to be better at what I do.

    I have picked up skills relating to code generation, project structure, code quality, automatic testing and an ability to break down problems into symbolic algebra.

    In part I am in a good place now as I have always been a web programmer and the web space is now the hot place for Applications. HTML 5 makes it very practical to build a very powerful single page application that would have required a stand alone program 3-5 years ago. You will be able to read all about that in the book that I am writing, it will we hope be out in the spring.

    And now I need to go work on it. I have to get 2 chapters to my editor by Oct 8 and with the Haggim soon I want to get as much done as I can.


    There is a lot of demand for statistical programmers with masters degrees in statistics or biostatistics. In fact, I’m trying to hire one right now!


    My company in Ramat Gan has at least 6 open spots right now I think.


    Grace, in looking through this thread again, something occurred to me in attempting to answer your request.

    As some have pointed out here, the concept of “programming” has changed drastically over the past 10 or so years, with the move from applications programming, particularly mainframe applications, to web development and object oriented programming.

    As someone who was trained at Cope in Cobol, I had to find a new route as the needs in my field evolved. I’ve pretty much carved out a nitch for myself.

    What you don’t state is how much you know about computers, what your experience is, and how tech savvy are you? Personally, I don’t care for C#/java and other type programming (ie, object based) because I’m much more business oriented, but you really need to evaluate yourself and your skill sets before anyone can really give you a fair answer.


    First of all programming is a very wide field. I do internet applications for a game company but there are hundreds of other sub fields as well. The one thing that you have to be careful of is letting your skills stagnate. I know of people who got laid off after 10 years of doing one type of programming only to find that the jobs were all somewhere else.

    Constant learning is key!

    Pashuteh Yid

    Zach, what exactly is the title or subject of your forthcoming book?


    National Council of Young Israel Job Board frequently posts employment ads in IT and programming in particular.


    The tentative title is “Programing internet applications in HTML5”

    Pashuteh Yid

    OK, Thanks. Good luck with it.

    As far as learning a language a year, I think a key question is why do we need so many languages to begin with? Many of them can do almost exactly what the others can do with minor variations.

    Today when I look at computer job ads, I see so many things I have never heard of. It never used to be this way.

    Can the new HTML 5 be used instead of some of these specialized web development tools?

    Could you please give a rundown on what’s out there, beginning from Basic and Fortran until today, and state the advantages of each? I hear things like Cold Fusion, and have no idea what it is, and I haven’t gotten around to looking it up on Wikipedia. Last night I looked up R on Wikipedia, and then saw a bunch of sites comparing it against Matlab (which I know well) and some other Stats packages like SAS and SPSS.


    As for learning a language a year, each language provides some unique ways of doing things, by learning them you broaden your knowledge, this is a good thing.

    HTML 5 can do a bunch of things, but the aspect that I am writing about is the ability to build what is effectively a desktop application in the browser.

    As for a complete history of programming, that would be a book in and of itself.


    Pashuta Yid – Various languages have been developed for various hardware systems or, in some circumstances, to meed various software needs. Some companies develop their own languages for performance or other reasons. Ask the guy who made Ruby or Python and they will tell you that different languages have different drawbacks which they were trying to address. No language is perfect.

    ZachKessin – Any chance of a courtesy copy for review? I am a yeshiva student in NY and I’ve done websites as a hobby since sixth grade. I’m in beis medrash for the last few years and I do iOS development too. I am the dev behind the recent YWN Radio app for iOS. I would love to check out your book. Please comment here and YW Editor can get us in touch if need be.

    A gutten moed to all.


    Any chance of a courtesy copy for review

    Well its no where near done, I have about 2 chapters out of 11 done at this point.


    OK, well please keep me in mind. Check out my website and please get in touch with me from there, my email is posted. It seems websites are allowed, whereas emails are not. [Bitly link: ]



    Another reason there are so many languages is that, just as they do with applications, Microsoft will come out with their own version of someone else’s languages. Sun wrote Java, Microsoft modified it into their own C##.


    There are a lot of reasons why there are many languages. In many cases it comes down to an effort to fix a specific problem with an existing language, while in others it comes from someone being unhappy with the tools that already exist.

    Java was invented to try to correct some specific problems with C++ that can cause problems in some cases. Perl came when Larry Wall was unable to use sed and awk to fix a problem he was having running some systems. Lisp started out as some formalisms in math.

    I have over the year or so really been making a strong effort to try to improve my skills as a programmer and have been working a lot on the theory side of things.

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