Re: Tips on gaining proficiency in C

From: AB (
Date: 09/18/04

Date: Sat, 18 Sep 2004 19:05:18 +0530

Richard Pennington wrote:
> AB wrote:
> [snip]
>>Bored with the kind of work I am doing, I would love to learn C
>>Programming (I have theoretical knowledge, thanks to a Bachelor's in
>>CS), with the intention of, to start with, learning enough to enable me
>>dabble in systems programming (Linux/Unix) (and hopefully, a job switch
>>...quickly :) )
> [snip]
> I think your goal is reasonable and very laudable.
> I have one question, however. Please don't take this as a personal
> criticism. How can one get a Bachelor's in CS and not know C? Have
> universities gotten so far out of touch?

There was a course in C, which took us through the language. That was in
the 1st year of the 4 yr course. Unfortunately, the course was more
bookish, and did not have too much practical value.

To answer your question, yes, I do know what C is, what its syntax is, how
pointers work - all on the high level. However, not having applied it too
much to test my knowledge, and now, being out of touch for 4 years, it is
mandatory that I re-learn it with practical experience. (Which is why I
asked for pointers to projects). Unless this is done, I will not be able to
confidently present my case for a job switch :)

> What "theoretical knowledge" did they give you? Theoretical knowledge is
> great as long as you can apply it.
> Again, I'm not doubting you or your skills. I'm just puzzled by the fact
> that you have to ask the question.

As mentioned above, the question was more about suggestion related to
learning C with some bias towards systems programming (Which is obviously
OT for c.l.c)

> Maybe I'm too old: In school I started in FORTRAN, 360 asm, picked up
> Pascal and C along the way, dabbled in COBOL, and even a little RPG.
> This was (at least now in retrospect) a pretty good base to start from.
> Today (much much later ;-)) I use and write C, C++, lex, yacc, lisp,
> tcl, perl, sh, tcsh, and a few other languages.

That is nice :) While i can write a few lines of C. C++, Java, shell
(barely), and am aware that the syntactical knowledge of a language is easy
to gain (relatively) is the decision of how best to do a job with the
right tool, that counts (and which comes by experience)...

> Good luck with the job switch.

Thank you :)

>Just remember (and I think you already
> know this, by the way): There will always be something new and cool to
> learn. When we stop learning and striving, we die.

True ..Always reminds me of the following lines from a well known poem by
Robert Frost(Any errors are due to this quote being from memory)..

The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep ...