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Quick and Cost effective ways to learn Java

Travis Fritz

Joined: Feb 17, 2005
Posts: 2

I am new to the Java realm... I have some college experience with C++ and Visual C++ but lets pretend I don't know any programming.

I am searching for avenues to learn Java and eventually, hopefully quickly, get the Sun Certified Java Programmer. I have looked on the net and there seems to be several books out there for the certification. However I am looking for something that will help me learn the language first of all. Also the prices for these 5 day Java cram course are too expensive. So I am looking for a way to save some money as I am paying for it all on my own.

If any of you have some advise for a Java NewB please feel free to release it. Books to look for, courses to take, search hints to find what I am looking for, or whatever else you think might help!

I appreciate you taking time to help me out!


Dan Walin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 11, 2003
Posts: 109
I got serious about learning a year ago (Feb 2004) and was certified by Sept 2004. My path to success was a great co-worker who pointed me to the right places. One place, of course, is JavaRanch. There is also a "question of the day" which has questions similar to the exam - so I reviewed that every day - if I could not answer I looked it up. That's at:

I then got the HeadFirst Java book which I found from a link to this web site. The book was great. Deceivingly simple but it clearly explained all the concepts that you need to know. A deeper book which I also read (free on line) was "Thinking in Java" by Bruce Eckel.

As I got a little knowledge I began to look at samples of code from my co-worker and develop things on my own. You never really know something until you have to actually do it -then you realize how much you don't know. I took on small java projects at work and I was slow at them but learning.

Finally about two weeks before my exam, I did all the mock exams I could find - there are links to them also from java ranch. I would, at first fail, and then take them over and over learning both the content as I went but also learning to take this type of test and to expect the twists and tricks that can be in a real test.

Now I develop about 70% of my work in java and am glad for the time I spent on learning it.
Stan James
(instanceof Sidekick)
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 29, 2003
Posts: 8791
I thought "Thinking In Java" was a pretty friendly introduction to the language. I had plenty of programming background, but I think the book will work for a variety of levels. And it's Free Online. Try it and buy it if you prefer paper. (I do!)

Some of the ranchers here worked on Head First Java. I haven't had my hands on it personally, but it sounds like a cool way to get into Java, too.

A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of the idea. John Ciardi
Prashanth Lingala
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 13, 2004
Posts: 66
My Sincere Advice...

Try Herbert Schildt's : Java 2 Complete Reference...
This book is the best beginner's is not that expensive...
Once you read this material, you can then switch on to other books...

Thinking in Java is good but better get some experience before you dig into it...Head First Java is good, but the pace is fast...

I have written what i feel...
Read online reviews before you make up your mind...

Prashanth Lingala

Have A Nice Day !!!
Steven Bell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 29, 2004
Posts: 1071
There are alot of good books out there. I would second the recomendation for Java 2 Complete Reference. However, I would highly recommend you get Effective Java. It is not a good learning book but it is an absolute must have for anybody developing in Java.
Jeff Bosch
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 30, 2003
Posts: 805
All you need, and it's free:

The Sun Java Tutorial.

Good luck!

Give a man a fish, he'll eat for one day. Teach a man to fish, he'll drink all your beer.
Cheers, Jeff (SCJP 1.4, SCJD in progress, if you can call that progress...)
Travis Fritz

Joined: Feb 17, 2005
Posts: 2
Thanks for all of your advise! I went to look at books and found that there is a new Head First Java coming out soon. The tools I use don't have to be book, although I imagine the portability of books helps the learning process. Perhaps some of you know some good in person workshops or online classes?

My employer wanted me to learn Java and get certified within 3 weeks. Considering I don't program for a living and I have never used java when I was programming I think this is near impossible.

I have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. Which makes concentrating on books, online, or anything not interactive more difficult. I enjoy instructor lead training/classes the best but finding a Java course seems to be hard, unless I want to spend a couple of grand.

So what would be great is a lets try building this program in Java interactive non-programmers guide would be optimum... Of course this may not be an option as there are limited resources of this type.

A local college here in Maryland does have Java courses, but I would have to complete 3 other courses just to fit the prerequisites. So this is a long term option.

Anywho... thanks again for all of your input! I really appreciate and will get to work on using it. I will try to post here to let you know who it is going.

Thanks again!

Dan Walin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 11, 2003
Posts: 109
I assume your manager has no programming experience. He may just not understand what is required. 3 weeks to learn Java and become certified without any prior Java knowledge AND attention deficit disorder? I wonder if maybe you're first step is to "level set" with him and try to adjust his expectations. I have been programming in various languages for a living for about 13 years and have used Java off and on for about 2 years. Even with that, when I got serious about becoming certified, it took me about 7 months to get to the point of feeling I was prepared. Of course I had to squeeze studying in between other work. But - I know I could never have done it in three weeks.
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