Studying Programming

Sally Fincher and the Computing Education Research Group

Publisher Palgrave MacMillian
ISBN 978-1-4039-4687-4
RRP £12.99
Reviewed by Heather Fulford MBCS
Score 8 out of 10

StudyingProg Studying Programming is intended for beginners and so assumes no prior knowledge of any particular programming language, or indeed of programming in general.

It has been written by a team of researchers and teachers of programming in the Computing Education Research Group from the Computing Laboratory at the University of Kent, UK.

The authors suggest it is suitable for students nearing the end of their school education, studying in Further Education colleges, or in the first year of university undergraduate studies, as well as for those responsible for supporting students during their studies (e.g. parents).

As its title suggests, the book is not an instruction manual devoted to one particular programming language, but rather a text designed to impart the generic skills, attitudes and techniques needed to learn how to program in any programming language.

The book covers introductory topics such as what a program is, common programming errors and how to avoid them, and how to go about writing your first programs.

More advanced topics are then presented, including code debugging, program design, types of programming languages and the principal differences between them, and working collaboratively on programming projects.

The book is peppered with relevant examples to assist the reader. The emphasis throughout is on developing skills of professionalism in programming and on helping the learner to grow in confidence as his/her knowledge increases.

The focus on professionalism extends the book’s relevance beyond beginners to those with more advanced programming skills, and acts as an important reminder of the attitudes and skills programmers of all levels should be seeking to develop.

At the beginning of the book, the authors provide a helpful overview of the book and the different ‘routes’ a reader might take through its chapters. The book concludes with a glossary of programming and general computing terms.

This title forms a useful addition to the Palgrave Macmillan Study Guide series, and, alongside instruction manuals and handbooks on individual programming languages, would make an equally valuable addition to any programming student’s reference library. The book is helpfully priced to suit a student's budget.