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  • Quick Question to the Tech Heads

    If someone were to go into Computer Information Systems should they focus on COBOL programming, Visual Basic Programming, or C++/Java Programming?
    Only 1 of the 3 are required at the moment so which will be of most use?
    My sanity is not in question...
    It was a confirmed casualty some time ago.


    Light, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they ticked me off.




  • #2
    Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

    Hmm, given I'm still pursuing a CS degree (on hold because of a good job at the moment), I'd say your better bet for a CIS degree is C++/Java or Visual Basic. COBOL is a good foundation language and is still used to a wide extent, but a lot of programs these days are being written in either VB or C++/Java - especially Java.

    But that's my opinion and I may be dead wrong. :D I'm curious to hear myself.

    **

    "Remember to pillage BEFORE you burn!"




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    • #3
      Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

      Where do you want to work when you graduate?

      COBOL might be good if you want to work for a financial institution, esp. one with a lot of legacy code. VB is for GUI front ends on Windows. C++ is very widely used for anything from games to web servers to robots to toasters. Java I perceive as a front-end language for a lot of higher-end business software. Open For Business, an open source ERP, is written in Java.

      I see VB as the most limiting of the choices, and COBOL as the next most limiting. C++ and Java give you a lot more choice in where to work.
      Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

      snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

      Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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      • #4
        Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

        *sigh* Thanks for the answers. Here I was hoping to avoid making someone else suffer through C++/Java altogether because the instructor is a prick.

        "Any questions?"
        "Yes, we don't understand this part right here, could you explain?"
        "Read the text book"
        "But its not in the text book"
        "Yes it is"
        "Okay...where is it in the text book?"
        "Read the text book to find out where it is in the text book"
        "And what if we don't understand the text book's explaination and ask you to clarify it?"
        "Read the text book again. Did I answer everyone's questions"
        "No"
        "Then I suggest you read the text book a few more times"

        97% fail rate and the highest grade was a 92% with the 2nd being a 73%.
        My sanity is not in question...
        It was a confirmed casualty some time ago.


        Light, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they ticked me off.



        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

          When I went to MIT, one learned LISP and Algol in the intro course, so that one learned both a block structured language and a data-oriented language. It was considered a "bozo filter" course to weed out people unsuited to Computer Science. (The CS department was very over-subscribed in the early 80's, and they needed a way to get the less-qualified to seek another department.)
          Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

          snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

          Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

            From what I understand, although Cobol is an antiquated language, if one can master it, it can be QUITE lucrative. Some of those old school software guys who help out things like financial institutions can rake in some serious bucks.
            "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

              You can make tons of money working in a Cobol shop. A friend of mine from college makes amazing cash doing revisions and re-coding of old bank/insurance programs. I also read some place that they tried to make a visual Cobol.


              I hate C++ and refuse to use Java. VB.net is a decent language if you are able use C#. Far better then all of those listed even though its basically a combination of them.
              that sounds like a good idea trooper.
              -Vulcan

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

                Some of this will be what interests you the most. I find COBOL particularly boring. There's not much use in designing new applications with COBOL so you're stuck modifying old ones. If that's what you like, then go for it. It can be quite a challenge fixing up old code and solving the problems with existing designs. Although, the style of programming is different because it's procedural when we're moving more towards object-oriented.

                VB is sort of in between COBOL and C++/Java. I don't find it particularly interesting because it's simple and that sometimes means there are restrictions. You're limited to a lot just because it's VB. It's slower and may not be as flexible. It is fast to prototype solutions though and may be pretty handy for business solutions when you consider MS Office products can be enhanced using VB for Applications.

                C++/Java is more complicated but it does expose you to more advanced programming techniques. It's going to be tough and you'll have that crappy professor. However, you can use it as a way to get better. It's the course that will teach you how to learn on your own. You'll get curious and want to figure out how software works. It will lead you to different learning paths. The prof sucks but you found out some great newsgroups, IRC channels, or forums to get answers to your questions.

                The other things is that a lot of languages are the same. You'll see the same types of logical structures used to process data. It's just a bit different with each language due to the design of the language and what the language will be used for.

                I would recommend C++/Java just because you'll be forced to learn on your own. Plus, the information gained from that course will make it easier to learn the other two languages if necessary. If you're dedicated enough to learn C++/Java with a crappy prof, you could easily figure out VB or COBOL. Although, I find COBOL so quirky that you'll probably want an instructor for it. It's so old that it actually might be harder to learn than C++ just from lack of learning material.

                - It's who you game with.

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                • #9
                  Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

                  Just to be perfectly clear, Visual Basic.Net or Visual Basic 6?

                  If it's the former, and since you're asking about info systems rather than CS/CE, I'd go for VB.Net.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

                    My 2cents: VB would be a good / easy starting point, but in my experience (from various large companies that I've worked for), c++ and java would be most worthwhile in terms of broad (and current) usage. In fact, 90% of the co-op's that we hire from a local tech school (Rochester Institute of Technology) take the c++ / java path.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

                      Originally posted by Trooper View Post
                      I hate C++ and refuse to use Java.
                      Why?
                      Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                      snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                      Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

                        Originally posted by Tarenth View Post
                        *sigh* Thanks for the answers. Here I was hoping to avoid making someone else suffer through C++/Java altogether because the instructor is a prick.

                        "Any questions?"
                        "Yes, we don't understand this part right here, could you explain?"
                        "Read the text book"
                        "But its not in the text book"
                        "Yes it is"
                        "Okay...where is it in the text book?"
                        "Read the text book to find out where it is in the text book"
                        "And what if we don't understand the text book's explaination and ask you to clarify it?"
                        "Read the text book again. Did I answer everyone's questions"
                        "No"
                        "Then I suggest you read the text book a few more times"

                        97% fail rate and the highest grade was a 92% with the 2nd being a 73%.
                        That should be taken up with the Head of the school/department. Unless thats him already. A 97% fail rate in a programming course is cause for review.
                        I am the one, I am the zero, I am your low resolution hero.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

                          Language is completely immaterial for the good jobs. If somebody hires you because of the language you know you probably don't want to work there.

                          Of course if all you want to do is write mindless code then it may very well matter.

                          What you need is a good work ethic, the ability to pursue a aggravating problem until the very end, the desire to learn every single second of your life and good problem solving skills. If you have those any language can be learned in a matter of days or at most weeks.

                          But to answer you question directly if it VB.Net go for that. You get everything with it (complete OOP capabilities, generics delegates etc) The environment is nice so that you can concentrate on learning good programming practices and not the subtleties of VI or emacs. (Not saying emacs is bad, just not real transparent).

                          An additional bonus is that there is tons of information and support available on the web. Java/C#/C++ does have plenty of information but it tends to be a little higher level, especially C++.

                          Of course if you are talking about Visual Basic 6 or below then go Java.

                          The problem with COBOL is you might be taught older styles of programming. While OOP isn't the end all be all that some make it out to be, it is pretty important in todays market. Not knowing it is going to hurt and the sooner you learn it the better.

                          Now there is the opinion, by some, that VB.Net is somehow inferior to other languages. Those opinions are ignorant. There are maybe two or three things that c# can do that vb.net can't. If you are saying that the .Net framework is lacking then you might have an argument. But VB.Net can do something that c# cannot do that, in some situations, is very very nice. Bypass strict typing. One of the things that give scripting languages so much power is this very thing. I have solved more than one riddle by carefully and thoughtfully putting the "Option strict Off" directive in my code. And playing around in VB.Net 2008 makes me so happy I have only a hand full of projects in c#. There are so many new toys to play with.

                          To be clear, the preference for c# syntax is perfectly fine. But just don't think it is better functionally.

                          VB.Net first choice. (Again, old fashion VB is a limited language. It is also an abandoned language. Stay away from it. It tends to lend itself to bad programming practices.) COBOL if you have a particular job in mind otherwise avoid. Java vs C++ is a toss up. Find out what the development environment is and choose the one you like better.
                          Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                          - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                          - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                          - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                          - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                          - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                          - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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                          • #14
                            Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

                            Can you program a "toaster" (programmer speak for tiny appliances with embedded CPUs) in VB.net? Or does it only work with a full-blown NT-like OS? If you intend to get "close to the iron", writing kernels and device drivers and filesystems, you probably need to code in C and C++.

                            I'd also recommend that you learn an assembler, and learn how a CPU works at the register level. This lets you deal with the times when the compiler itself is buggy. (I've submitted a lot of bug reports in my time for compiler and library bugs, with detailed analysis. And a few reports about buggy hardware, too.)
                            Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                            snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                            Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Quick Question to the Tech Heads

                              Originally posted by ScratchMonkey View Post
                              When I went to MIT, one learned LISP and Algol in the intro course, so that one learned both a block structured language and a data-oriented language. It was considered a "bozo filter" course to weed out people unsuited to Computer Science. (The CS department was very over-subscribed in the early 80's, and they needed a way to get the less-qualified to seek another department.)
                              Univeristy of Texas' CS department did the exact same thing.

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