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Studying computer networking at uni need some advice

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uperkurk

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Post Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:38 pm

Studying computer networking at uni need some advice

Hello all, im starting my computer networking degree at uni in october and it does have some C++ moduels but not that much. I want to learn C++ in my spare time at uni because I think it will greatly benefit me later down the line when I try to get a job.

I have looked at the source code some programs written in C++ before such as tic tac toe game and a keylogger and I just think "how will I ever learn what this crap means" lol.

I dont see how its possible to remember so much syntax and remembering when it would be used and why.

I would like to know from you professionals did you literally learn by doing these small tutorials and then thinking "Let me see if I can do this or change that and see what happens"

Downloading open source programs, reading them, changing them and getting them to do slightly different things?


I really want to learn but I think the most important thing is finding a good book or online website because if im learning stuff but not really making a program then ill lose intrest fast. What do you recomend?

Thanks guys.
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hayabusa

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Post Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:53 am

Re: Studying computer networking at uni need some advice

When I started learning programming, it was self-taught, by trial and error, and, as you said, looking at others' code, figuring out what it was doing, how I could fix bugs or tweak it, etc. Later, I formally took Perl and other classes, to get more 'foundational' knowledge. 

Most languages, nowadays, I pick up books and learn on my own, as aside of differing constructs, and some terminology, the underlying principles are the same, and you just need to learn how ABC language does things in comparison to XYZ language.

HTH,
~ hayabusa ~ 

"All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved." - Sun Tzu, 'The Art of War'


OSCE, OSCP , GPEN, C|EH
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uperkurk

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Post Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:03 am

Re: Studying computer networking at uni need some advice

Thnx hayabusa. How long roughly from when you first made your hello world program or picked up your first book to you make a meaninful program that actually had a purpose?

Can you tell me what this program was please. Sorry for all the questions.
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Triban

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Post Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:26 am

Re: Studying computer networking at uni need some advice

I doubt that anyone really memorizes all the syntax, unless they do nothing but code and in some cases they are not always coding in the same language.  But like hayabusa said, its the general principles that we must learn and the basics of what each language entails.

Think of it like an actual speaking language.  Latin is the basis of most Western European languages.  Spanish, French, English.  Thought they are all different, much of their base is Latin and the initial principles are the same.  They sometimes even share the same words or variations of words.

Thanks to some intro programming courses I am able to at least read through some code and understand what some of it is doing.  At that point its just a matter of learning a bit more.  Best bet is to learn a language that may assist you in future tasks.  Scripting is used quite often so if you look to PERL or Python to start, that might work.  From Python you can branch into Ruby which is supposedly a bit easier and is used quite a bit in Metasploit.
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rance

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Post Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:22 am

Re: Studying computer networking at uni need some advice

For the new coder with no experience, the "hello world" tutorials will certainly show you the construct of programming, and how to accomplish tasks in the language you've chosen.  I find that that gets boring after a while.  And when you start getting in to other languages, you're going to find that things like, oh, an array is an array, a variable is a variable, etc, regardless if it's perl or php.  You might be able to work with the array differently with the languages, but it's all the same in theory.

The best way I've found to learn programming is to have a goal in mind.  You want to write something to parse some flat-file DB info, you want to scan stuff, whatever.  I find if I have a goal in mind, I can start coding toward that goal, and as I need help, then I'll refer to online references or programming books.  As opposed to just going page by page through a book (boring), and coding in the "hello world" examples (boring), I find working towards a specific goal is much more invigorating, more brain power required, and by being faced with challenges/problems, you're more apt to remember what you learn as you work through the discovery/problem solving steps.

My two pennies worth, anyway...
Poking at security since 1986.  +++ATH
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uperkurk

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Post Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:52 am

Re: Studying computer networking at uni need some advice

Thanks rance. My only problem is I dont really have a goal I cant think or a program thats small enough to be doable but still meaningful. I think maybe small games is the first step like tic tac toe or a simple game where you have the slider at the bottom and have to rebound the ball and keep it going as the ball gets faster....

Then something alittle more complex like a tetris game or something. I would also like to learn a scripting language that is used to exploit a weakness in a website. Maybe javascript or something? I'm not so sure though..
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eth3real

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Post Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:03 pm

Re: Studying computer networking at uni need some advice

I took one programming course years ago, Intro to Computer Programming. The language was VB.NET, and since I already had a job programming, it was mostly useless to me. However, every time I try a new programming language, I still run through the exercises we did in that class, even though they were pretty basic.

I would recommend finding a set of programming exercises, maybe in an old text book, and see if you can perform them in the new language. The reason it helps so much is that the exercise is giving you a goal, and they usually won't take that long. Since my old programming book is VB.NET, the code examples are irrelevant if I'm using a new language, like Python or C++. This is also a good thing, because it will force me to start looking for things on Google, instead of handing me all the answers if I get stuck.
Put that in your pipe and grep it!
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Triban

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Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:32 am

Re: Studying computer networking at uni need some advice

I am trying to strengthen my knowledge of Python and have looked at 3 different books.  The freebie online ones: Dive into Python and Learning Python the Hard Way as well as Beginning Python: Novice to Professional

I started with Beginning Python and was getting frustrated with the differences in code, they released the Python 3 edition before Py3 was officially released so there are numerous code mistakes right in the beginning.  Also it went over all the principles and standard functions of Python, which I found helpful, but not enough to keep me interested. 

At this point I will probably focus on Dive into and The Hard way.  Dive into has the most accurate information on both the 2.6/7 versions as well as 3 and they kick it off with a small python script and break it down per section to explain things.  The Hard way is basically a number of excercises to get you comfortable with programming but not overload you with the different functions and modules of Python, at least early on.  And it emphasizes that YOU MUST TYPE OUT EVERYTHING... DO NOT COPY/PASTE!!!  Once you work through all the excercises and extra credit it then recommends to go back to some of the other books to learn more advanced stuff.  So far I like the setup of this one. 
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uperkurk

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Post Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:30 pm

Re: Studying computer networking at uni need some advice

Thanks 3xban, I heard python is great for new comers but I dont want to confuse myself with learning python just yet because my uni course had some programming modules but there all C++

I did some C++ before and learnt about if statements, functions, classes and some other stuff but didnt really understand what it was doing, I was just typing out what I saw on the youtube videos :)

This was about 4 years ago so I have forgotten it all but im sure it will come back to me. I may give python a shot though.

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