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Honestly seeking Advice.

Jit Gupta

Joined: Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 26
I seek sincere advice/opinion from you people. Please don't pounce.
I am new to Java programming. Once earlier, I took a programming course. With that knowledge, I have started learning Java programming on my own (Selfstudy). I have got books from Deitel "Java How to program" and also another book "Java 2: A beginer's guide" by Herbert Schildt. I feel Deitel book is interesting and thorough. However, the book is too dense and sometimes difficult to understand. Moreover, I find that the exercises at the end of each chapter are very difficult. Eighty percent of those exercises, I am unable to solve. On the other hand the book by Herbert Schildt, I find, is sketchy.; does not go into details.
I am totally at loss and do not know what to do. I feel frustrated. Am I wrong in learning a language only through self study? Or, I have not chosen the right books?
Moreover, how much should I know/learn so that I can apply for an entry level Java programming job.
Finally, should I leave the IT/programming career ambition and concentrate on other type of job. Is it really worthwhile to spend time/money on IT career.
I understand many of you are very experienced and hardcore IT professional. How did you learn the programming language. Or, otherwise, how did you start? And how much time will it take (at least) to at least capable for applying for an IT job?
I feel I have written too much. However, I request honest opinion from you people.
My thanks in advance!!!
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 33102

I learned Java from books. I think the book you use depends on how much programming experience you have. "Thinking in Java" is a good book if you don't have much programming experience.
Also, you may want to start with some easier exercises. Try looking at some college websites for intro courses. They often have the homework questions online (and the solutions for if you get stuck.)
Good luck!

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Michael Morris
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 30, 2002
Posts: 3451
Hi Jit,
Welcome to JavaRanch. Well I would suggest Head First Java by our fellow JavaRanchers Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates. The book is written in a very unique style that keeps everything fun while teaching all the basics.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction. - Ernst F. Schumacher
Grishma Dube
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 01, 2003
Posts: 275
Hi Jit,
I personally think nothing wrong in self studying but it would be great, if there is someone who can guide you. Because, while self studying, you may miss some important points.
And if you are trying job in india, then you probably have to go thru a technical test. For that, you should be really strong in core java. Bcoz, the questions will be 'predict output'type questions. And for entry level technical interview, they really dont expect you to know much in detail, theoratical knowledge is enough( means if you know the terms theoratically thats enough).
And regarding the books, i suggest you to start with Complete Reference and then go for Thinking in Java. And along with the Core Java, also try to get some idea about JSPs and Servlets.
So don't fell frustrated..Good Luck.
Jamie Martel

Joined: Jun 27, 2002
Posts: 9
I know exactly what you mean, as I too came to programming from a different background (I used to be a Mathematics Teacher).
The best advice I can give you is to build up your confidence by actually trying out programming exercises. When you're new to programming, the more "hands on" experience you can get, the more it will help your understanding.
I found the tutorials on the sun website very helpful.
also, the following book: "Teach Yourself Java" by Joseph O'Neil (Osborne books) is great for beginners, as it cosolidates your knowledge regularly with lots of short examples and questions.
Don't rush - you may have to cover things a couple of times. Once you have mastered a book like that, work your way through something more thorough and detailed, geared towards the Sun Java Certified Programmer Exam - there are some good recommendations on this website.
As to how long it will take you before you're ready to get a job in Java - it's such a personal thing, and also depends on the job. Sometimes the learning doesn't really begin until you start doing your first real job. I started off by working my way through the book above, and then applying to various companies as a junior Java Programmer, letting them know that I had taught myself, and that I was keen and able to learn. Don't get disheartened too soon.
Hope that helps,

Jamie Martel,<br />SCJP<br />SCWCD
Michael Morris
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 30, 2002
Posts: 3451
Hi Minnie,
Welcome to JavaRanch, the absolute best site on the www for Java information. We don't have many rules around here, but we do have one. Please change your display name to a first and last name to comply with the JavaRanch Naming Policy. You can change it here. Thank you for your cooperation.
Jit Gupta

Joined: Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 26
Thanks Jeanne, Michail, Grishma and Minnie for your advice.
I feel I have been overwhelmed by the volume of information presented by Deitel book. Moreover, my location has also compounded my situation. To access any bookstore such as "Borders/B& N", where I can browse books on Java before purchasing, I have to travel 180 miles one way.
Any way, I will definitely learn the language. It will require more hardwork.
Once again thank you all!!!
John McDonald
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 01, 2003
Posts: 112
I would recommend a book that is VERY HELPFULL to you. JAVA 2 BLACK BOOK. This book shows you very basic programming to start with. It comes with the source so you can modify and learn from it. It it extremely boot your learning curve. Experienced programmers find this book as good reference, too.
Then you can move on to other book like Core Java. The more Java books you read, the more you know how people write codes for different projects.
Don't buy book from Wrox if you are a beginner. Most of their books are dense like the one from Deitel. Some of Sun books are simple and straight forward.
Programming world is fun sometime. But more than 50% of the time is frustrating. Just do as much as you can suffer, then your answer is obvious. You can survive, then you get it. It you find this too much stress for you, you already know the answer.
I changed my major to Computer Science in Junior year. I work as a programmer for 4 years. Sometimes frustration is up to the my neck. But that what I do for living.
Good luck my friend.
[ July 21, 2003: Message edited by: John McDonald ]
Brian Wilson

Joined: Jul 20, 2003
Posts: 4
I have looked at a lot of books on teaching your self OOP in Java and I have a book by Mitchell Waite Signature Series titled Object-Oriented programming in java.
I find this book is very easy to understand and the examples at the end of each chapter really work. Plus you also get a CD-Rom with the book with all the examples on it.
The only problem being that this book is probably out of publication but you might still find one lying around in some of the bigger book stores.
I bought this one from Chapters Book Store.
I am also trying to teach myself Java and I use this book plus the Tutorials From Sun and Java Boutique. Now I'm coming here as well because I read that this was a good site if you wanted to learn.
B Wilson
Dirk Schreckmann

Joined: Dec 10, 2001
Posts: 7023
Here is a list of free on-line Java tutorials and books that I have found useful:
  • Sun's Java Tutorial
  • Introduction to Computer Science using Java by Bradley Kjell
  • Introduction to Programming Using Java by David J. Eck
  • Dick Baldwin's Java Programming Tutorials
  • Interactive Programming In Java by Lynn Andrea Stein
  • Bruce Eckel's Thinking In Java

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