Programming…The Beginning

02 Jul

In college, math majors typically have to do something or another with computer programming. In my undergrad program, I had to do some basic dappling with Maple and Mathematica, but it was super easy. We copied exactly what was out of the book, and then the exercised changed a couple of variables and we ran something very similar to that which was already worked out in the book.

Then we had to take on full-on programming class. Most people took Visual Basic because it was super easy. The programming requirement came up at a point in my program where I was taking somewhere between 20 and 26 units a semester. To save time and money, I took a class or two on-line from the local community college every term. At the time, husband was a computer science major. He told me to take whatever programming class was offered on-line and he would help me out; my only option was C++. I wasn’t worried about it until husband pointed out that he was only familiar with C+. Apparently that extra + made a big difference, because he couldn’t help me much. This class was. a. struggle.

I had to teach myself everything from the textbook. It was a bit rough, but I got an A in the end. Now I’m learning R, another programming language. Pretty much the only similarities between C++ and R that I can see at this point is that both use an interface that provides no help, and both can make the biggest headache and hours of trouble because you added an extra space or didn’t close your parenthesis.

This post is to serve as a benchmark for my adventures in R. It’s here so that in a few months when I’m completely frustrated and have no freaking idea what I’m doing, I can go back to this post and remember that it took me several hours just to load data into the program this week. I was super stoked when I figured out how to reshape a data set. These will hopefully by old hat to me by then and I can remember that growth may be slow, but it does happen. Another special side-effect is that I now get some programming jokes…

California, please keep tabs on me. Don’t let my Colorado experience kill the girl who wears hot pink, knee-high argyle socks to the gym.

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Posted by on July 2, 2011 in Grad School


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