I think the best advice you can take appears in an article by Peter Norvig: Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years. <http://norvig.com/21-days.html> This repeats the "learn by doing" and "do what interests you" advice others have given. Other similar advice and tips can be found in How To Become A Hacker by Eric S. Raymond. <http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html>

If you're looking for what to learn first, know that the web is the main focus of libraries these days and it helps a great deal to have the fundamental areas down pat. The more thoroughly you know HTML and HTTP the better. People often unfortunately neglect learning HTTP and what goes on between the server and browser. CSS and JavaScript are next. Learn best practices in each area. A good resource for web application best practices is Ellliotte Rusty Harold's Refactoring HTML but it is not for absolute beginners. Also look at POSH (plain old semantic HTML) and Microformats.

In libraries, programmers typically don't have a background in CS. There is no need to be ashamed about this since this is often true in many areas where programming is not the focus but an aid to something else. Take courses in computer science only if you love computer science for its own sake.

The biggest problem for those of us who have learned informally is learning to be efficient programmers, which is something usually not taught to someone learning a new language. The skills you need are taught by the free online course in Software Carpentry. <http://osl.iu.edu/~lums/swc/> The audio of the first lecture explains clearly the need for these neglected skills. <http://osl.iu.edu/~lums/swc/mp3/intro.mp3> Again, you're better off coming to this after you've learned and used a first programming language.

How do I know all this advice is good? Because I've been meaning to take it myself for quite a while now! :)

Chris Gray
Library Systems
University of Waterloo

Wayne Lam wrote:
Hi all,

  I am new in here and i am currently worked in the library too.
I am always confused that when i read the post in here, there are always
something i don't understand
and there are so much to learn.
  So, the question is, hows everybody learns to be a good coder for
libraries, what s the secret and what
kind of technology are most important to learn?



Reply via email to