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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My wife (ISTJ) has expressed a very serious interest to get her graduate degree in Bioinformatics. She already has an undergrad in Biology and needs to learn software development as it will be required for this graduate degree.

As a CS major going for his masters - I have tried multiple strategies to start her down the path of software development with terrible results. Each time, it is clear to me that it is definitely the approach I took and it's starting to become incredibly frustrating to me. One of these strategies was finding something she needs/wants to organize (finding a problem) and then telling her to start programming a solution (giving her the books/tools/etc). This strategy only overwhelms/frustrates her as she doesn't want to "jump in" immediately without confidence in the topic. The whole trial/error learning approach that INTJs thrive in simply does not work for ISTJs.

I realize a class and reading books are probably among the best ways for most ISTJs to learn. Before I "throw a book to her" (which makes me think I'm avoiding responsibility in helping her with the experience/information that I have), is there a better route to teach/instruct my lovely ISTJ before she goes to class in March?

Thank you in advance.


(I tried to use detail oriented sentences instead of abstract concepts - so I apologies for the amount of text, but I'm trying my hardest to appeal to the ISTJ audience.)
 

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Find out which programming language is taught at the schools Object Oriented Programming classes and buy her a book for beginners. This will give her some of the basics to wrap her mind around, and she will be more prepared come march. If you can follow the material's purpose, and find ways to have her exercise that than have her then do so, because she will be motivated then for reinforcement.

Programming takes that problem solving train of thought that all don't embrace immediately.
 

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I've always struggled with programming. I'm good at mapping out the logic and the flow necessary to get where I'm going, but I just struggle with the language. I'll usually have a syntax error somewhere in the program that torpedoes the whole thing and I'll spend hours debugging until I get so frustrated that I give up. It's like trying to drive across the country, but you've never driven a car before. You know the route, but your car stalls 3 hours into the journey and you don't know why. You'll spend hours under the hood trying to figure it out, even though you don't really know how a car works. After a while, you'll get frustrated and give up. In the end, all you had to do was just put some gas into the tank before it went empty, but there isn't anyone around to tell you this...

Virtually every software book seems to be written for/by people who think completely differently than I do. I find it frustrating to waste hours of my time reading half a book and all I've learned is how to open the program and save a new document. Classes also are a waste of time, because I feel that after months of learning and spending hundreds of dollars, I still don't have enough of a grasp on the language to actually do something useful with the program. (I also have the same problems with learning foreign languages and musical instruments.)

Try to find her a textbook for the language she needs. Look for something that has lessons and chapter review questions for her to review. Another concept that worked for me was when I learned Dreamweaver, the book I read walked you through how to build a single website from the start to finish, instead of bits and pieces of different websites.
 

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My wife (ISTJ) has expressed a very serious interest to get her graduate degree in Bioinformatics. She already has an undergrad in Biology and needs to learn software development as it will be required for this graduate degree.

As a CS major going for his masters - I have tried multiple strategies to start her down the path of software development with terrible results. Each time, it is clear to me that it is definitely the approach I took and it's starting to become incredibly frustrating to me. One of these strategies was finding something she needs/wants to organize (finding a problem) and then telling her to start programming a solution (giving her the books/tools/etc). This strategy only overwhelms/frustrates her as she doesn't want to "jump in" immediately without confidence in the topic. The whole trial/error learning approach that INTJs thrive in simply does not work for ISTJs.

I realize a class and reading books are probably among the best ways for most ISTJs to learn. Before I "throw a book to her" (which makes me think I'm avoiding responsibility in helping her with the experience/information that I have), is there a better route to teach/instruct my lovely ISTJ before she goes to class in March?

Thank you in advance.


(I tried to use detail oriented sentences instead of abstract concepts - so I apologies for the amount of text, but I'm trying my hardest to appeal to the ISTJ audience.)
I'm pursuing a Computer Science degree currently. I can only learn by programming. Have her design and create small, easy programs and work her way up. I know that reading a textbook about concepts doesn't help me without knowing syntax. I can't stand to try and make a program without an example to know how to structure it and use correct syntax.

-Give her examples of what a similar program using correct syntax looks like.

-If she is trying something and can't find the solution and she asks you a question don't answer it like all my guildmate did by just giving the concept. That doesn't help at all. Just show her how, explain why, move on.

-Also, yeah, trial and error only works if you have somewhat of an idea of how programming works. When someone is a complete n00b the errors are just going to be confusing.

HTH

I've always struggled with programming. I'm good at mapping out the logic and the flow necessary to get where I'm going, but I just struggle with the language. I'll usually have a syntax error somewhere in the program that torpedoes the whole thing and I'll spend hours debugging until I get so frustrated that I give up. It's like trying to drive across the country, but you've never driven a car before. You know the route, but your car stalls 3 hours into the journey and you don't know why. You'll spend hours under the hood trying to figure it out, even though you don't really know how a car works. After a while, you'll get frustrated and give up. In the end, all you had to do was just put some gas into the tank before it went empty, but there isn't anyone around to tell you this...
Wow. This is a perfect analogy of how I felt in my first programming class.
 

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I'll usually have a syntax error somewhere in the program that torpedoes the whole thing and I'll spend hours debugging until I get so frustrated that I give up.
Which is why I love Test Driven Development. Allows me to catch silly errors before it comes to a point where you have to debug the whole program all at once. Also very useful to have a bank of tests if you need to majorly restructure your program. Then again I've only used it for small programming projects so not sure how cost effective it is with larger programs. Probably also depends on your development environment.


Try to find her a textbook for the language she needs. Look for something that has lessons and chapter review questions for her to review. Another concept that worked for me was when I learned Dreamweaver, the book I read walked you through how to build a single website from the start to finish, instead of bits and pieces of different websites.
Find out which programming language is taught at the schools Object Oriented Programming classes and buy her a book for beginners. This will give her some of the basics to wrap her mind around, and she will be more prepared come march. If you can follow the material's purpose, and find ways to have her exercise that than have her then do so, because she will be motivated then for reinforcement.
^ Good advice. So basically a book that guides beginners through a structured lesson plan.

If you have access to lecturers they can normally recommend a good textbook too.

Question: Do you mean Software Development as in actual programming or Software Development in the broader sense?
 

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I hate M$ VC++ IDE, it always fails me on file I/O. Even a program with only 7 lines fails.

Yep, books for beginner really helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
First and foremost, I want to thank you all for your posts - I've read them over several times. The overall message I'm getting is:

Step 1) Beginners Book: Provides an initial knowledge base.
Step 2) Visual Instruction: Use diagrams & code examples when explaining something. I presume a copy for her use is necessary for retroactive analysis/study.

I probably also have to have a complete working system in mind when giving partial examples so that each detail is 100% accurate/compilable and not just random pseudo code for discussions sake. I have a feeling that'd frustrate her.

Question: Do you mean Software Development as in actual programming or Software Development in the broader sense?
Great question, I carefully chose software development as I want her to really understand how to take a real life problem and provide a software solution. Programming is obviously a key part to this. I find that the design and real life application is critical. This should be married with a good programming background in my opinion.

Answer:
Software Development with my opinion that excellent Computer Programming is quintessential to an excellent Software Developer.
 

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Great question, I carefully chose software development as I want her to really understand how to take a real life problem and provide a software solution. Programming is obviously a key part to this. I find that the design and real life application is critical. This should be married with a good programming background in my opinion.
It's true, ISTJ's aren't know to learn just to learn, making the real world application crucial. Do you always find this in yourself?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It's true, ISTJ's aren't know to learn just to learn, making the real world application crucial. Do you always find this in yourself?
Yes, I think that's a J thing - maybe a TJ combination. By definition, useless information is information I can't use.

INTJs and ISTJs love "life applicable information" - albeit we may define this differently. Detail/Data vs Concept/Theory may prove to be the difference. Additionally, I've found that we usually agree in the end whether or not it's life applicable (even though we calculate it differently).
 
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