Learning Path---for the millionth time

Hi,

I'm now to programming though have a pretty advanced working knowledge of excel VBA (loops, pivot creation, data cleanup). But obviously you can only do so much with VBA before things get very slow.

Wanted to know your thoughts on my below plan:
1) Go through some MIT opencourseware on C++ and get a finance-centric C++ book.
2) Learn Mysql
3) Learn C#

Getting sellable skill sets are always a goal.

Overall:
I just want to get better at handling data and automation. Everything is in Excel right now which works fine but just isn't fast enough or slick enough.

Initial project would be to do some easy calculations on pulled bloomberg data that is made available on the web and other marketing materials.

Is Mysql the right place to start for storing data? I've been googling but it looks like you would need an intermediary to pull from bbg (R or C#?) and then push that into your MySql database?

I chose C++ because it looks to be stable and like a standard. Chose C# because it is similar to C++ but would offer the ability to increase productivity when things just need to get done.

Long-ish term:
Would want to get into creating trading tools for use by our desk. Backtesting index methodology.

Basically I don't want to get fired when I get old.

Thanks!

(and sorry I am very new to this)
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Basically I don't want to get fired when I get old.
The antidote: lifelong learning.

I chose C++ because it looks to be stable and like a standard. Chose C# because it is similar to C++ but would offer the ability to increase productivity when things just need to get done.

I've seen worse choices (i.e. C++ and C# are good choices IMO).
 
Sorry more newb questions:

1) Does it matter if I use G++ or Visual for finance?
2) I've come across on an old Visual C++ 6 book "Sams Teach Yourself" would what is contained in that book still be useful? (though I plan on buying other books as well)

Thanks again.
 
Go through some MIT opencourseware on C++
Not worth it, go through some of this instead:
http://isocpp.org/get-started
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/388242/the-definitive-c-book-guide-and-list

BTW, I stand 100% behind this quote:
Unlike many other programming languages, which are often picked up on the go from tutorials found on the Internet, few are able to quickly pick up C++ without studying a good C++ book. It is way too big and complex for doing this. In fact, it is so big and complex, that there are very many very bad C++ books out there. And we are not talking about bad style, but things like sporting glaringly obvious factual errors and promoting abysmally bad programming styles. And it's even worse with online tutorials. (There is a reason nobody bothered to setup a similar question for online tutorials.)

Special emphasis needs to be put on this:
There is a reason nobody bothered to setup a similar question for online tutorials.

In fact, personally I'd take "I've learned C++ online" to be a pretty good weed-out signal (not even bother interviewing if this were a new position--not your case clearly, but perhaps just something to keep in mind).

get a finance-centric C++ book
Only after you're done with the C++ part -- i.e., at minimum after you've completed the Beginner stage, Introductory phase (see the stackoverflow list). Attempting to mix it prematurely is a recipe for disaster and it will only get you more confused, not less (that being said, immediately after the Beginner/Introductory stage practical applications are the way to go to grow domain-specific skills and confidence associated with practical exposure).

1) Does it matter if I use G++ or Visual for finance?
No, G++ is a part of GCC, which is on the "1. Get a Compiler" list: http://isocpp.org/get-started
As long as it's a relatively new GCC (4.8+ has much friendlier error messages, getting closer to Clang; 4.9 will also have colorized output, which may be of additional help, but is not necessarily crucial), you're going to be fine.

What's your OS?

2) I've come across on an old Visual C++ 6 book "Sams Teach Yourself" would what is contained in that book still be useful? (though I plan on buying other books as well)

No, not only useless, but actually "negatively useful" (reading it would more hurt than help, C++ has changed dramatically and fundamentally since the MSVC 6 era).

As for the books -- again, I recommend the recent (and peer-reviewed) lists:
http://isocpp.org/get-started
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/388242/the-definitive-c-book-guide-and-list

Personally, I can vouch for the latest "C++ Primer" by Stanley Lippman, Josée Lajoie, and Barbara E. Moo.
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Sorry more newb questions:

1) [..]
2) I've come across on an old Visual C++ 6 book "Sams Teach Yourself" would what is contained in that book still be useful? (though I plan on buying other books as well)

Thanks again.

NO. VC++ 6 is stone age.
See Polter's suggestions. Learn the nuts and bolts first.
 
Thanks Polter and all,

I'm glad you posted I was just about to checkout on Amazon with some books not on that list.

I went with the C++ Primer book...probably should read it before I pick a compiler but my work machine is running Windows 7 Professional.

If any members suggest one I would probably just do that (as long as it is stable and is used commonly). I don't like choice when I don't know anything about the subject in the first place. But I do like to just jump into something and dig in.
 
I'm glad you posted I was just about to checkout on Amazon with some books not on that list.

I went with the C++ Primer book...probably should read it before I pick a compiler but my work machine is running Windows 7 Professional.

A book not on the list doesn't mean it's a bad one. C++ Primer and Accelerated C++ are excellent books -- provided you already know something about coding. I'm not sure I'd recommend them to someone new to coding.
 
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