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Starting Java 13yr old

Dustin Eldridge

Joined: Feb 04, 2008
Posts: 20

I am going thru the HF Java book and love it so far but I have a little knowlege of programming (took some quick 3-5 day classes on VB, and use MySQL at work so I can join tables to find data.) My question is my son would like to start learning with me but I think this book might be a little above where he needs to be. I would like to help him as he is learning but I dont know if there is any book like this HF Java book but for the complete beginner. I looked at the HF Programming book and it teaches Python I am not against Python but I have never looked at what it is like. Is Python like Java so that I could help him on his journy while I learn Java? I am just in the 4 or 5 chapter in my HF Java book but seem to be getting the problems right because my code is working and I am not looking at the answers to get them to work so thats good I think.

Dont know where to start?

fred rosenberger
lowercase baba

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11955

that is an interesting question...most folks around here would probably say that HF Java IS the book for the absolute beginner. I'm honestly not sure I could think of a better book. I'm not saying there isn't one, just that I'm not aware of any.

There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Campbell Ritchie

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 46345
I always think it is better to learn programming from somebody who can program, rather than from a book. Can you explain things like objects, loops and selection to him? Can you demonstrate that a computer has an IQ of 0.0 and takes whatever it is told literally? He may know people who work like that
Dustin Eldridge

Joined: Feb 04, 2008
Posts: 20
I think I will get ahead of him several chapters so that when I try to help him through it all the examples will be ones I have finished and understand completely.

Kristjan Toots
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 03, 2011
Posts: 59

Hello Dryan,
I am quite new to the programming aswell, so my advice at this point might be a bit off.

I find Stanford's Programming Methodology lessons quite interesting, catchy and easy to follow. Proffessor Mehran Sahami is just awsome & brilliant.
It starts from Karel the Robot, to teach the basic. Then it goes on hand in hand with a book: The Art and Science of Java.

CS106A is an Introduction to the engineering of computer applications emphasizing modern software engineering principles: object-oriented design, decomposition, encapsulation, abstraction, and testing. Uses the Java programming language. Emphasis is on good programming style and the built-in facilities of the Java language.

Stanfrod Center for Professional Development
Stanford University
Stanford University Channel on YouTube:
CS106A at Stanford Unversity:
Campbell Ritchie

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 46345
Welcome to the Ranch Kristjan Toots
Hunter McMillen
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 13, 2009
Posts: 492

There is a book called 'Starting Out With Java: From Control Structures through Objects' by Tony Gaddis (3rd Edition) that was used by my school for the introductory programming course, I found reading level very easy and the explanations were clear and simple. It also comes with a CD that has step-by-step code demonstrations and samples.

Here is the URL to the Barnes and Noble page for the book, it sells used for 4.00+ dollars


"If the facts don't fit the theory, get new facts" --Albert Einstein
Wim Vanni
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 06, 2011
Posts: 96

My son is 8 and was very intrigued when I told him about how programming can also mean creating games. We've spent some time with Microsoft's Kodu and quickly he was creating things 'without training wheels', only once in a while asking me to help him when he got stuck. Many programmers might find that this 'point-and-click' style is not the best way to learn how to program but it does give you a good feel about 'events' very quickly. And nothing keeps you from digging deeper and going further with the code than can be achieved in the visual interface.

I never had the chance to try it out but there's a similar environment for Java, named Greenfoot. If you take the time to explore this, I would love to hear about your findings.

ashwin bhawsar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 16, 2011
Posts: 62

For all you guys who wanna tech your children the concepts of programming download Scratch.
Scratch is a tool developed by MIT Labs and is specially target for children between the ages of 6 - 16 .
It is an interactive tool that allows you to animate a simple character using drag-and drop blocks that represent programming concepts like loops, variables....

You can watch videos about Scratch and download it for free from :

Wiki Link :

I highly recommend to try out this tool.

I agree. Here's the link:
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