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Agawam Programming Team


More Info
Getting Started
2001-2002 Competition
2001-2002 Questions
Getting Started

Considering Programming as a profession?

Here is some advice oh how to get started with computer programming.
First off it's always a good idea to start with a simple programming language.
One of the eaisest to learn is Visual Basic 6.  This is probably the best starting point if you have no previous knowledge. 
I higly recommend a series of VB books by John Smiley.  One in particular is called "Learn to Program with Visual Basic 6"  It truly is worth the 25$.  I read it when i was 13 and it was easy enough.  It comes with an introductary version of VB6 on cd.  He does not expect you have a lot of knowledge with computers, and he makes it fun.  I have found myself refering back to that book for quite some time.
After you get the general gist of how programming works, then you should move onto the programming language you feel you want to master.  Most people go on to C++, but now the new thing is the .NET platform, so you might consider C#.
The low-down of languages is this.    Visual Basic is good for making little programs and stuff, C++ is for hardcore people like doctors applications, Computer games (Diablo2), and accounting software.  Java is more of an internet based language which is closly related to C++.  Then there are all new versions of these called the .NET's which are just new variations of each.
If you do decide to move onto C++, consider a book called Ivor Horton's "Beginning C++, The Complete Language"  This is a very big and indepth book.  The arthur is good at teaching C++ and this book just has so much information, it's overwhelming.
Then you have all these websites that have other peoples code.  Such as a website called  This is a very extensive library of code, I myself even have 1 simple C++ program on it.  Just looking at other peoples code can give you and idea of what things do, and how the language is set up.  But becarful, even other peoples code might have mistakes in it.
Then of course there are the Help Files that come with each compiler.  Those can be good for a quick reference, although some people have sworn their lives on reading nothing but help files.
Also if you plan on getting a book, Beware of the "in 21 days" or "for dummies" i find that those are usually not as good as other's out there.  Your best bet for finding a good book cheap is to read reviews that other's have written online at websites such as or
And hey, if you Attend the Agawam School System give me an e-mail or just say hi.  Also consider the Visual Basic course or Computer Apps 1 and 2 for web design.

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