Hi everyone.

So it obviously wasn't enough for me to change my life by moving to London! I'm now investigating options for learning C++ and I'd like to pick some brains. One of the reasons for this is that it doesn't appear to require long education like a 3 year degree and it also appears to have a wide applicability, everything from regular programming through to graphics programming in CGI and game development.

1) So what I wanted to ask first is whether C++ is as useful as my research shows it to be? Is it as applicable as to run of the mill programming as it is to graphics programming? If it isn't, what else should I be looking at?

2) If C++ is something I should be training in, what is it specifically that I need to be learning, and what should I be looking for from courses? This is especially important as I haven't coded for a long time and then it was in COBOL.

What skills make a good C++ programmer? Do I need to be methodical about how I prepare/do I need to be a strong debugger, for example? Accordingly, what kind of courses should I be taking? I realise that your advice may not completely translate as I live in London, but options within your country, such as the US, may help me get a handle on what I need to be learning. That could in turn help me focus my attention.

3) How does experience compare to qualification? Are employers looking for specific courses and requiring a high level of qualification, or are they prepared to accept experience? If experience is a defining factor, how could I go about achieving that?

4) What is the future for C++ both in general programming and graphics programming? What are the problems that are emerging that not enough people are working on? What kind of skills do they require?

5) What kind of room is there in C++ programming for creativity or what you might call lateral thinking? Is there room for providing new solutions or are people so method based that you've got to work along specific lines?

I won't dump any more questions on you for now! At the moment I'm not committed to anything. I just want to look before I leap, as the saying goes. Thanks a lot for reading and I hope people have some useful advice.