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My take on introductory programming courses

May 23, 2011

This post is actually motivated by this one I read today: http://spin.atomicobject.com/2011/05/17/the-deep-end-of-the-pool (the structure by few other factors I intend to draw attention to 🙂 )

Aim

To prove that python is better than C/C++ in first year to introduce programming

Objective

What the hell? I thought it was same as Aim?

Theory

Theory? Hmmm. Let’s see

  1. C/C++ has too much syntax to memorize in comparison to Python-it’s damn simple to program in python specially for newbies.
  2. Learning Python means easier to contribute to open source-there are plenty of projects which are written in Python. (I’m not going into why contribute to open source; that’s a different story altogether I’ll talk about soon enough 🙂 )
  3. C/C++ is barely used in the industry-mostly it’s Java, Java, Java. I wonder why :). Unless it’s some core product company but most students end up in the services industry which is mostly Java Forever :D.
  4. Python is rather simple with respect to syntax and understanding. Even algorithms can be written very well in an easy to understand manner. And point of computer science courses aren’t definitely speed/reliability, it’s mostly concepts and understanding.

Procedure

  1. Get feedback from first year students on how bad C/C++ was.Note: DO NOT RELY ON THE FACULTY FEEDBACK SYSTEM. It’s hopeless-i’ve seen the kind of feedback students give-they don’t care. Talk to them instead-much better.
  2. Conduct Python sessions for the same students(or just take results from my session-everyone were so happy learning this since it’s damn simple)

Observation

  1. Python beats C/C++ 100 to 0 in this experiment.

Conclusion

Python can and should replace C/C++ in introducing programming.

Of course this is my view, let me know what you think :).

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