File APIs for Java Developers
Manipulate DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF and many others from your application.
http://aspose.com/file-tools
The moose likes Beginning Java and the fly likes How to learn programming beyond just copying syntax? Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Java » Beginning Java
Bookmark "How to learn programming beyond just copying syntax?" Watch "How to learn programming beyond just copying syntax?" New topic
Author

How to learn programming beyond just copying syntax?

Anthony Allen
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 08, 2013
Posts: 3
I'm trying to learn Java programming and I'm watching Lynda.com Java Essential Training and I find myself following along with my Eclipse program open and just copying and typing out syntax with the instructor but a lot of the concepts are just brushed over so quickly that there is very little room for why, how, or what even. It's just "copy this here...now copy that here..now you want to put that in front of this..and now go do this here."

And you're just following along typing out what you're told mindlessly and it truly feels like you aren't really learning anything. What should I be doing to truly learn it?

My strategy right now is just push along and maybe I'll see something later on that makes it all click more. Maybe move on to the advanced Lynda video. Then maybe come back and watch it again while looking stuff up online until my knowledge increases on it.

I just want to get the most out of it and actually learn it. Thoughts?
Riaan Nel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 23, 2009
Posts: 157

Anthony Allen wrote:I'm trying to learn Java programming and I'm watching Lynda.com Java Essential Training and I find myself following along with my Eclipse program open and just copying and typing out syntax with the instructor but a lot of the concepts are just brushed over so quickly that there is very little room for why, how, or what even. It's just "copy this here...now copy that here..now you want to put that in front of this..and now go do this here."

And you're just following along typing out what you're told mindlessly and it truly feels like you aren't really learning anything. What should I be doing to truly learn it?

My strategy right now is just push along and maybe I'll see something later on that makes it all click more. Maybe move on to the advanced Lynda video. Then maybe come back and watch it again while looking stuff up online until my knowledge increases on it.

I just want to get the most out of it and actually learn it. Thoughts?

Welcome to JavaRanch Anthony!

The best way to learn, in my opinion, is by doing. Come up with ideas for simple programs, then implement those ideas - if you get stuck, you can always ask for help here. You could also find some programming exercises online to work through (google Project Euler).

Cheers,
Riaan


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." - George Bernard Shaw
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 39551
    
  27
Doing it, and lots of it, all the while reading about it. I can't speak to that web site -it could be great or crappy for all I know- but some good introductory books will help get you up to speed. I am highly sceptical about the amount you can learn about programming from watching videos.

While I like Project Euler, I wouldn't recommend it as a way to learn Java - it's geared towards implementing mathematical or logical algorithms, not so much towards learning programming.


Ping & DNS - updated with new look and Ping home screen widget
Andy Jack
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
I was in the same situation too. I am almost getting out of it. Learn how algorithms like bubble sort, insertion sort, selection sort work. Then, make the code for those yourself. then, compare them with "good solutions". these are standard algo, so most algo books should have a "good solution"
See what i did here.

If you feel that books like head first java should provide answers to questions like the ones you asked - then please make a comment in this post.

and...pick up a textbook (Big Java, Thinking in Java etc), except head first java and solve the questions after some of the chapters.


Java Newbie with 72% in OCJP/SCJP - Super Confused Jobless Programmer.
I am a "newbie" too. Please verify my answers before you accept them.
Andy Jack
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
BTW, anthony allen, can you talk to/communicate with your teacher on lynda.com or do you just get to watch a video of someone teaching ? I recommend that you also read a text book on java. Learn Data Structures and algorithms also.
Riaan Nel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 23, 2009
Posts: 157

Ulf Dittmer wrote:While I like Project Euler, I wouldn't recommend it as a way to learn Java - it's geared towards implementing mathematical or logical algorithms, not so much towards learning programming.

Project Euler, to me, is not a way to learn a programming language (so I agree with what you've said), but it does give you an environment to practice writing small programs in.
Gary Charles
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 29, 2012
Posts: 32
I too am in a similar situation. The book Head First Java is well liked here. I've gone through about 85% of that. One positive thing about Head First is you get to see a project from start to finish and follow it along.

I'm now about 7 chapters into Java - How to Program by Deitel and Deitel . The book is old enough to find at a reasonable price used, but not ancient. I like it because there are many details, examples, and it's to the point. I guess you could say it's dry but the dryness means there is nothing distracting. There are numerous exercises at the end of each chapter and you can crank out the easy ones giving a feeling of accomplishment while burning in some things with repetition. What I've now found is that the struggle through the exercises is beneficial in itself. That would seem obvious but I now try to remember as much as I can before looking back in the chapter to see how the author discussed it. I know that's another obvious thing to do but there's something about the "struggle" to work out a solution that helps cement the concepts in my mind.

HTH.
Andy Jack
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
Gary Charles wrote:I too am in a similar situation. The book Head First Java is well liked here. I've gone through about 85% of that. One positive thing about Head First is you get to see a project from start to finish and follow it along.

I'm now about 7 chapters into Java - How to Program by Deitel and Deitel . The book is old enough to find at a reasonable price used, but not ancient. I like it because there are many details, examples, and it's to the point. I guess you could say it's dry but the dryness means there is nothing distracting. There are numerous exercises at the end of each chapter and you can crank out the easy ones giving a feeling of accomplishment while burning in some things with repetition. What I've now found is that the struggle through the exercises is beneficial in itself. That would seem obvious but I now try to remember as much as I can before looking back in the chapter to see how the author discussed it. I know that's another obvious thing to do but there's something about the "struggle" to work out a solution that helps cement the concepts in my mind.

HTH.


Thanks. I just read a bit of it. Seems to be an excellent book. In fact, i think its much better than head first java in many ways.
Anthony Allen
Greenhorn

Joined: Jan 08, 2013
Posts: 3
Thanks guys for the great feedback. I'm going to check out all of your recommendations and really appreciate it. After creating this thread, I went through and watched the Stanford Programming Methodology videos in youtube and it really helped me a lot in filling in the gaps in my knowledge. I'm finding that the more that I watch and read, it just keeps filling in gaps and everything starts to come together more and more. So I'm just on a nonstop Java binge right now to learn everything I can. So far this forum has been one of the best resources I've came across so plan to stick around and learn from you all. Thanks!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: How to learn programming beyond just copying syntax?
 
Similar Threads
self-taught programming != mission impossible?
How are you using Clojure?
kathy and bert - ideal way to learn?
Need help with Strings
This was my idea for a project... I would like some feedback.