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Question from a newbie....

 
Jana Smith
Greenhorn
Posts: 16
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Hi all,
The more I read about JavaRanch cattle drive college, the more I want to join. However, my question is really this since I've been unable to find an answer to this specific question. Can a person who knows next to nothing about java benefit from this cattle drive? I've heard of benefits of this program to experienced programmers...and the "complaining" of the nitpicking which is highly valued part of this program. However what about people who know nothing about java and want to take the Sun's test maybe by Nov? Or is that too soon? Any opinions, suggestions, and ideas will be greatly appreciated.
TIA..
 
Pauline McNamara
Sheriff
Posts: 4012
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Hi Jana, welcome to the ranch.
To your questions...
Can a person who knows next to nothing about java benefit from this cattle drive?
Yes. Several of us started out with little or no knowledge of Java. Most of all you'll get practice actually writing code, with an emphasis on writing readable code. Not every single aspect of Java is covered in the Cattle Drive, but you'll get a good look at the things that are covered.
However what about people who know nothing about java and want to take the Sun's test maybe by Nov? Or is that too soon?
Preparing for the certification exams of Sun is not the primary goal of the Cattle Drive, though many have said that it helped along the way. If you need to pass the cert exam, you'd have to prepare for it in other ways. You could do the Cattle Drive as something on the side, it wouldn't hurt, it's more of a time question.
Is Nov too soon? How long it takes to prepare for the certs varies from person to person (their background, their time to commit to studying, etc. etc.).

The folks who've done both will have some good feedback for you, they should be showing up any minute now...
Cheers,
Pauline
 
Marie Mazerolle
Ranch Hand
Posts: 81
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Hi Jana,
I passed the SCJP in December 2002, and I just started the cattle drive. The cattle drive will definitely help you with the exam, but DO NOT rely solely on it for studying. The exam is all about theory while the cattle drive is about practice. You will learn the theory while studying for the exam (the most helpful material for me was the book "Complete Java 2 Certification Study Guide" and Dan Chisholm's mock exams). And you will learn how to write better code and actual apps with the cattle drive.
So, if you just want to pass the exam, I wouldn't say the cattle drive is necessary, but if you want to be a better programmer: "Mooooo!"
Marie
 
Carol Murphy
village idiot
Bartender
Posts: 1202
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Dear Jana,
Please see this link: http://www.coderanch.com/t/4795/Cattle-Drive/Howdy-all-welcome-newcomers
It's one of mine, and might help you decide to do the drive. I did the cattle drive for about 2 years with absolutely no programming experience whatsoever, and completed it recently.
I am studying for the exam myself, but I am having real trouble with the theory needed to pass the exam, as I have no formal training. The mock exams
that are available and some study materials from Sybex are my main source of
information, and it is going slow. But the cattle drive was the only thing that kept my head above water while I was learning Java, and I do not think I would have kept at it if I hadn't found JavaRanch. In my opinion, it's worth it!
[ September 02, 2003: Message edited by: Carol Murphy ]
 
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