Ok, before some of you older types start buggin' yer eyes out asking how I could even possibly think to ask that question, this is coming from a newcomer, and was sent via email. I asked if I could post this question here so that he could get a variety of responses from people actually hashing it out (no, not talking about OOP-3 ) here at the Drive. Please give him your feedback, good or bad.
My background is that i am in commodity research and web development and took up java at the start of the year in order to branch out and learn some new stuff by doing evening courses at the University of Westminster. These have almost ended and i hope to do my programmers exam in Jan sometime. One of my main problems is a lack of java experience (the same as a lot of people i see), i can do somethings at work but sometimes its hard to find a project to do. Do you recommend the Cattleranch as providing any really good experience, it looks good but at $200 i want to check that its worth it (i.e. can i claim to have good experience after passing it, i have been doing java examples for the best part of a year already with my course although the examples have been nowhere near as good) also does the $200 cover all 21 examples.
Chicken Farmer ()
Joined: May 08, 2001
And my response:
In regards to whether or not the Cattle Drive, more specifically the $200, is worth it, I give a resounding yes. I am in the same boat you are. I started Java at the beginning of this year, planning on taking the exam in a couple of weeks. My programming experience was rather limited, I do mostly systems administration, but it is incredibly boring, and I LOVE programming, especially Java. The Cattle Drive helped me out tremendously, and I don't think I would be nearly as proficient with the language if I hadn't started the courses. The feedback is indispensible, in my opinion. And I think that when you get through the courses, you will have a nice command on the syntax and concepts of the language, but also will have learned how to write code properly! Knowing how to write code is one thing, knowing how to write it well and make it readable is completely different! The Cattle Drive helps with that. The $200 covers all the classes, and even the ones that come after JDBC ( I believe they are making assignments for things like Swing and Threads ). One thing that needs to be considered though is that right now Marilyn is the only person handling all of the submissions .She's busting her booty to keep things up to speed, and doing a mighty fine job of it. Sometimes takes a couple of days to get a nitpick back. When you get into Servlets and JDBC, you'll be writing programs with 300+ lines of code. That doesn't seem like a lot compared to the huge enterprise applications that are around, but for these assignments I think that is quite a nice sized program. But it also takes quite some time to nitpick through, so if you are impatient about it, might not be for you. Just wanted to give you all the angles! Anyway, I highly recommend it, it is a great source of motivation and education, not to mention experience.
[This message has been edited by jason adam (edited December 08, 2001).]
JavaBeginnersFaq "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that's why they call it the present." Eleanor Roosevelt
Joined: Jan 19, 2001
Hey there newcomer, Here's another link to complement Jason's comments concerning the time it takes to go through the Cattle Drive: http://www.javaranch.com/ubb/Forum19/HTML/000842.html And an update on my opinion as stated in the link Marilyn gave above: I echo Jason's resounding yes: definitely worth it. I come from a non-programming background and I haven't coded outside the Cattle Drive (yet). Having just finished the second module, I feel I have a good grasp of object orientation and how Java works, even if I haven't written a zillion pages of it. The practice you get here really gets you to think not just about how to do something with Java, but how to do it well. The feedback you get is really valuable. Pauline
Joined: Dec 05, 2001
Hi, i'm the newcomer that wrote to Jason and several of the other sherriffs and bartenders (admittedly copying the question to each one). Firstly i am very impressed with the level of response. I think almost everyone i wrote to you replied and all (bar one who only said that it was good but that if it was a money issue i should do the SCJP instead but luckily i can do both) were very positive about the Cattle Ranch. Thanks Jason for putting up the Thread, i have read some of the replies from the links that Marilyn and Pauline put up and think that i will get on and do it, seeing if i can combine the study for the SCJP and the cattle ranch together to keep enjoyment levels up (as endless revision tends to do my head in). It looks to be worthwhile and its good that you have someone to ask questions of as i find just working on my own doing questions from the back of a book chapter is less motivating. (out of interest i was wondering if Javaranch gets commission from Peter Van Der Linden as if they don't they should). I'm glad that i found this site as before i did i was wondering myself why there wasn't a site on the internet for other newbie java programmers just wanting to get some experience and looking to get jobs. My other question was that i am thinking of doing a website and adding java into it as a showcase of my skills and was wondering what good ideas there were out there to put on it so if anyone has any bright ideas (or even the possibility of collaborating with someone to design a really funky website) Once again thanks for all the feedback and watch this space in a month or two's time for what i really think of it having pulled my hair out on long winter nights Sam
Sam Tilley SCJP, SCWCD
Joined: Jan 19, 2001
Originally posted by Sam Tilley: It looks to be worthwhile and its good that you have someone to ask questions of as i find just working on my own doing questions from the back of a book chapter is less motivating.
I think this is really the key to what sets the Cattle Drive apart.
... watch this space in a month or two's time for what i really think of it having pulled my hair out on long winter nights
Uh oh, we didn't tell you about the hair thing...hmmm, well you might want to shop around for a hat or something. Better yet, post your questions before it gets tooooo bad.
Marilyn de Queiroz
Joined: Jul 22, 2000
Originally posted by Sam Tilley: (out of interest i was wondering if Javaranch gets commission from Peter Van Der Linden as if they don't they should).
Not only does Javaranch not get a commission from Peter van der Linden, but we have not yet been able to convince him to post here.
Joined: Apr 16, 2001
A bit off topic but: I think can understand Mr. van der Lindens' reluctance to post. Imagine the amount of questions that would be posted for him. If he values his spare time, he's probably smart not to start the avalanche
Joined: Mar 15, 2001
Without a doubt. You will be exposed to a style of coding that is far more logical and easy to read than any examples I've seen in any book or tutorial. The follow-up you get on your questions and advice/critiques you will receive on your work is precious. You will be prompted/goaded/tormented into writing elegant, concise code and the understanding you garner from the experience will be beyond anything you get in a regular classroom. At least, that has been my experience.
Joined: Jan 08, 2001
Orginally posted by: Rick Prevett I think can understand Mr. van der Lindens' reluctance to post. Imagine the amount of questions that would be posted for him. If he values his spare time, he's probably smart not to start the avalanche
As a counter to this I would add that he would also get a lot of respect out of the Java community and would probably prompt more people to buy his material. Part of being a writer is talking to people. Michael Ernest posts here quite regularly, and because of that I remember his name and will definitely recommend his books to people. Van der who? [This message has been edited by Joseph Russell (edited December 19, 2001).]
Being at a loss for something to do, I just stumbled across this topic. And look, a little gift for me! Thank you, Joseph, you're kind to say that. I am also a PvDL fan. His reputation runs over a much larger sphere than mine. Plus he's a heads-down programmer for a day job. I'm (more or less) self-employed, and teaching's my thing. Peter writes, I suspect, because he can reach more people through a book than he can by "touching" them. While I'm happy for the success of RHE, and whatever notoriety I might generate on JR, my real charge in professional life comes from engaging people and seeing their lights go on. I'd do it for free. Oh wait....I do do it for free, which is why I have to stop now and then. It's really very gratifying to see my contributions recognized out of the blue, Joseph. Thank you. ------------------ Michael Ernest, co-author of: The Complete Java 2 Certification Study Guide
Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen. - Robert Bresson