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Beginner/Intermediate help needed

Jack Moore Iii
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 07, 2012
Posts: 76
I am making a b-line towards Oracle certification in Java, but apparently I really suck at learning. I read through the entire K&B SCJP6 book, and I have a better understanding of Java, but the intricate details seem to slip through with most every mildly hard Java code question. So anyway, I have now turned to the "Java Round-Up Game" on this site. And I'm getting decent scores, but obviously I need to go a little bit higher in skill level whilst being constantly bombarded with code and Java rules with explanations to go with my inevitably wrong answers. I suppose what I'm asking is what other place has something similar, like a list of valid Java questions that I can answer? I tried a lot of the other mock test stuff, but they are a little too advanced at the moment, and I need to learn the fundamentals inside and out before I can even think about reading code and understanding it. Keep in mind that I have a BS in Computer Science and I've been programming my entire life, mostly with C++. I've just been lazy as crud up until now...
Greg Charles
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 01, 2001
Posts: 2840
    
  11

I think it's beeline actually ... as in straight as a bee flies. That doesn't actually make sense to me though since the bees I've seen seem to meander a bit. Maybe I just haven't seen them properly motivated.

That may be your problem too. As you've seen, skills in programing and the ability to pass certification exams don't completely overlap. Also, it's hard to find compelling reasons to get certified unless you are actively programing in Java now. You're doing everything else right. The K&B book is Heads First Java, right? That's the one I would have recommended if you hadn't read it already. You've found the Roundup and online sample tests already, but they're too hard for you? Are you falling down in particular areas more than others? You can ask about those areas specifically and we'll try to break them down for you.

Java is like any language, computer or human. It's best learned by actually using it. Set yourself some problems and solve them with Java. There are a bunch at Project Euler, or you can join the Cattle Drive here at the Ranch. Good luck!
Jack Moore Iii
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 07, 2012
Posts: 76
The reason I need to get certified is I have no work experience in programming, and Java is the closest thing to a marketable skill set that I've always been dancing around with C++ even with different syntax and more OOP elements added in. And while there are employers who don't care about certification, at least some do, and that beats the 0% who care about my lack of it at the moment. I'm also interested in going for a .NET certification path, but that's later. I always seem to get like 60-80% of the questions wrong when they give the code sample + 4-6 multiple choice questions, two of them being compilation fails, and run-time error. To me, that's just like saying, throw a dart at it if I get the least bit hung up in the code, since I am being timed and only have like 3-5 minutes for each question.

I think some of my weak areas are error handling, since there are a billion errors to be thrown and caught, and tying each one to every class and method that could throw one at runtime or whenever is a complete blur to me. Also what to do to actually handle the error is not that apparent to me yet. I understood the basics of threads pretty well, but I haven't run into a lot of those questions. And yeah, I would probably have benefited from a class in Java when I was in college because I tend to not write actual code, but instead try to read code and learn about it. Maybe there are more code writing project examples somewhere I could attempt to write and compile. The ones I have done, I stick to note pad and javac/java command lines as suggested in the past so I get no help at all other than what I know. Other than that, I suppose it's just the mass of syntax and rules that I don't know because I don't do it every day, which would be rectified if I got a job as a Java developer. Catch 22!

I'll try out the Cattle Drive thing since the Round-Up game is working so well, might as well stay with a constant theme...
Jayesh A Lalwani
Bartender

Joined: Jan 17, 2008
Posts: 2273
    
  28

I don't know about the test right right now, but when I gave the SCJP test 12 years ago, I was coming in from 5 years of C++ experience, trying to switch over to Java. I was using Java as part of my job at the time (I was kind of like the JNI guy) IMO, at the time most of the answers made logical sense if you had used Java. The test seemed designed so that people who have been using Java professionally would pass it after couple of months of learning.

Maybe if you think you are at a roadblock, the problem might be that you are trying to learn the test too hard, whereas the test is designed to test your ability to program in Java. Maybe you should focus less on trying to pass the test, and instead focus on trying to learn how to use Java
Jack Moore Iii
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 07, 2012
Posts: 76
Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:
Maybe if you think you are at a roadblock, the problem might be that you are trying to learn the test too hard, whereas the test is designed to test your ability to program in Java. Maybe you should focus less on trying to pass the test, and instead focus on trying to learn how to use Java


Yeah, well, that's what I'm doing. Or trying to do. I don't even really have a full grasp of all the fundamentals and syntax or else I'd be scoring 100% on the Round-Up game every time. Granted there are only so many questions and eventually I'll memorize them all. But there are only so many Java facts out there to be known as well, so that's not exactly a bad thing. I'm going to attempt some of those coding projects on the Cattle Drive page and see how I do. Honestly, I've only written like less than 10 source files in Java, and that's including my college time. So yeah, I more or less felt like since I had been dealing with C++ for so long, that I could just jump into Java head first. And while that works on some of the programming logic aspects, I don't really know how to use it, practically...
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 38031
    
  22
It is hazardous to think you can write Java because you can write C++. There are all sorts of pitfalls, eg the meaning of the keywords protected and static, which are subtly different in Java.
Jack Moore Iii
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 07, 2012
Posts: 76
Greg Charles wrote:
Java is like any language, computer or human. It's best learned by actually using it. Set yourself some problems and solve them with Java. There are a bunch at Project Euler, or you can join the Cattle Drive here at the Ranch. Good luck!


I was looking at Project Euler. Is it really helpful to write programs to solve those problems? I mean, I suppose writing any program is better than none, but will it require the use of the advanced functions of Java that I need to get good with? I suppose it can if I choose to add them in. Ah well, time is better spent writing code than typing...

EDIT- Yeah, okay. Anything that can motivate me to write 5 programs in one night is probably going to work for some greater good. Thanks for the suggestion!
Jack Moore Iii
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 07, 2012
Posts: 76
I saw someone else saying Servlets and JSP were good things to study as well, but they weren't mentioned in the SCJP6 book as far as I remember, as objectives at least. Is that something I should focus on after I get the basics down if I want to get a job as a developer?...
 
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subject: Beginner/Intermediate help needed
 
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