How skilled with Java do you need to be in order to join the Cattle Drive? I'm really asking because I would hate to join up and have everything way over my head. I understand conceptually most of the Java that I come across, but I seem to have some slight disconnection with my brain when it comes to actually implementing or creating the code myself. Most of the Java tutorials and online lessons that I have seen are usually written by technical people for technical people. Being a "not so technical person" who wants a career in this field, it makes things a bit difficult.
I think the Cattle Drive is an excellent way to learn to code in Java, because that's how I did it. I'm not in IT, I was just considering making a career jump (right before the big dot-com bubble burst) and was looking to enroll in a computer school as a programmer. When the school went belly-up the next day, (literally) I stumbled onto JavaRanch. I had no programming experience, or training other than what I had read in books borrowed from the public library. I signed up for the drive, and actually completed it. While I wouldn't suggest that I am a cracker-jack programmer, I was able to gain an understanding of Java that I would never have from reading the how-to books alone. I recommend the Cattle Drive without reservation. If you have difficulty with a concept, there's a bunch of folks who are ready, willing, and able to help you out until you understand. I just code for fun, but most of the folks here are hard-core industry pros, and they know their cowpies!