I have my SCJP cert. and am ready to get my SCWCD cert. I taught myself (more memorization than anything). I have NO experience and don't really even know how to use what I've learned- it's all just facts. Where can I go to learn HOW to program? Are there any industry driven courses or books out there?
There's only one way to learn to parallel park, slip a clutch, or back up a trailer. IMHO, start with Swing not web stuff. Webserver, HTML and other things will only overwhelm you. You know the basics of Swing so pick up the yoke and pull. Be nice to get some experience with a IDE. There are a number out there J-Builder, SunOne or Eclipse. Textpad ( www.textpad.com ) is quick if you don't want to be overwhelmed by an IDE. Mughal and Rasmussen's book on certification has a bunch of exercises. If you did not use it for SCJP it will certainly add to your knowledge base. Cheers [ September 05, 2002: Message edited by: Rufus Bugleweed ]
You might consider getting a textbook focused on teaching programming, as opposed to teaching a particular programming language. I'm thinking of the sort of book typically used in the introductory programming course for computer science majors. It's been several decades and several languages since I've looked at such a book (anyone remember PL/I?). But I've noticed Deitel & Deitel's Java, How to Program on the textbook shelves for such courses, although I've not looked at it. Ideally, whatever book you pick should have enough exercises, and, in addition to teaching a programming language, should cover basic data structures, algorithms, and object-oriented programming.
Take a look at the Cattle Drive. Writing the programs on your own will be a good exercise, but you will get even more benefit from the nitpicking. If you would like to see what some of the participants think of the Cattle Drive check out this thread and this thread.