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What would you do if you have 2 months of free time to study(Programming)?

Darren Song
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 03, 2012
Posts: 12

Hello. I just wanted some insights from experienced programmers regarding what I should do for next couple of months.

I am a retail store manager, with no college degree, who always wanted to become a computer programmer.

I studied on my own to get 3 oracle java certifications and I was hired under a train and hire program from a software firm.

They will be training me on Java and C# for 6 months starting this March and then hire me as an entry level programmer.

Now my question is that what do you think I should do for next couple of months before my training starts?

I thought of three things. Please let me know what you suggest.

1. Study more about Java, Java frameworks and tools.
- Since I already have taken some Java courses and have 3 oracle certifications, I think I learned the most of things you can learn by reading books. I believe only way I will improve further is to participate in real projects... But I have not worked with Java frameworks and tools such as Junit, Ant, Maven, or w/e. Should I study more about them?

2. Study C
- I was always interested in Linux and C/C++. Also I have been told that learning C could make me a better programmer in long run. Should I take this time to learn C?

3. Read and participate in Java open source projects
- Since what I will be using at the work is mostly java, should I read Java open source projects and contribute?

Thank you in advance!


OCPJP6, OCEJWCD, OCEEJBD

Today I do what others don't,
So tomorrow I can do what others can't.
Stevens Miller
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 26, 2012
Posts: 523
    
    3

Those are some pretty impressive certifications, particularly for someone who studied on their own. Well done!

What kind of software does your new employer develop? That might help you decide what to study. With your established grounding in Java, you might even want to spend the time looking at something other than coding. For example, if the firm mostly does, say, financial work, you might want to learn something about the banking or securities industries.

Good luck in your new career.
Darren Song
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 03, 2012
Posts: 12

Thank you, Stevens.

I am told that my new employer works with clients for many different industries such as education, insurance, retail, health care, etc.
When I went there for an interview, I had group of people next to me talking about how to implement education solutions for 3rd grades...

Stevens Miller
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 26, 2012
Posts: 523
    
    3

Hmmm... that's pretty eclectic. Probably pointless to bone up on any of the possible client subject-matter areas. Okay, what I recommend is that you look into software project management. If you know what (if any) management methods your employer likes (Agile, waterfall, whatever), you might want to look into those. I am inferring that your new job is with a big organization (from the wide range of topics and the fact that they are hiring trainees). This makes it seem likely that you will be part of a team, with portions of any given project assigned to various team members. Working effectively as a member of a team depends a lot on your ability to fit into whatever structure the company uses (assuming they even use one at all; I have had the misfortune to work at a lot of places where the "structure" was entirely defined by the directive, "Get it done!", which means you and everyone else will probably just argue all the time; hope that doesn't happen to you).

Truly, you sound like you've done your part (or more) on the pure Java front. Creating production code is about more than the code. It's about creation of code, as well. Go the library, online, or the bookstore, and just browse what they have. I wouldn't make this a hunker-down-and-master-it effort. Just familiarize yourself with the issues involved in producing software as a member of a team, and the various ways people try to cope with those issues.

Oh, I would also listen to a lot of Kitaro albums and see what animals the clouds made me think of. There's such a thing as over-preparing, you know...
 
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