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Am I Just Bad At Java? [Java Rant]

 
Greenhorn
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I am so glad that I found this thread. I am about six weeks into a Java class at a University and I feel like I am going do something I regret due to the intense frustration I have been experiencing. I completely forgot about how stressed I was during my two intro to Java classes at the junior college. I understand that Java is used to create programs so people can build software but there are so many ways to do it. My teachers style is nothing like any examples I can find on the net and for that matter most of the code I see just seems so foreign and different. This is my first semester taking CS classes for a bachelor's degree and I am taking JAVA and database (SQL). I forgot why I am trying to get a degree in CS besides the money which I feel like I would need a Masters to actually be any good at CS. Besides computer science I have no other interest in computers video games or unlike my classmates, they seem to live it. I regret not going for a Forestry degree but I think it may be too late because I have over 95 units and I don’t think I can change majors without an approval from the Dean. I don’t know whether to stick it out or check myself into a mental institution: )

I have been posting some Java programs on here for the past two days and I feel like an idiot because I can’t see what I am doing wrong or what I am not doing at all. A few nice people were trying to help me but I can’t understand what they mean. I have been spending more time with Java than Trig and it is starting to catch up with me. I just turned in a program tonight which I have posted and it is embarrassing to say the least. I envy the students who have class out in the forest but I will be stuck in the library or lab torturing myself with frustration for four hours at a time. At least I am not the only one! : ) Graham!!!





I probably spent about ten to twenty hours going back and forth with this thing and it doesn't run properly but was simple for my classmates.... It makes me so angry, I just shut my girlfriend and dogs out of my life and stress myself out with this and later have bad thoughts.

Sorry for the long winded rant but it feels good to let it out, this has been eating me up... Maybe someone can provide some good feedback?
 
Marshal
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I have not read the remainder of this thread recently. I have doubtless read it before but have forgotten everything in it.

The only problem I can see with that code is that there is so much of it. A beginner would find that amount of code hard to read. There are some things I would do differently, for example not subclassing GUI classes.

You need to divide and rule. The main method uses the correct technique for starting the thread to display the GUI, which you can read about here (I think you have to scroll to the bottom). It is necessary to do three things with a frame: give it a size, give it a closing operation and (last) make it appear. Now divide and rule with the rest of the code. Go through the methods, starting with the smallest, and see what they do. Start with the frame class constructor. Write down what you think each line does. Same with the methods.
 
Bartender
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Roonie Collins wrote:I forgot why I am trying to get a degree in CS besides the money which I feel like I would need a Masters to actually be any good at CS. Besides computer science I have no other interest in computers video games or unlike my classmates, they seem to live it.


I hate to sound negative, but this is a red flag for me. Choosing a lifetime career based on earning potential is usually not a good idea. If you don't have a passion for it, you will never enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it, you'll never invest the amount of time required to become an expert. Programming is HARD. It takes many years of practice to become an expert.

I'm not into video games, and that's not a requirement for the field, but a curiosity about how computers and software work is very important.
 
Bartender
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Roonie Collins wrote:This is my first semester taking CS classes for a bachelor's degree and I am taking JAVA and database (SQL). I forgot why I am trying to get a degree in CS besides the money which I feel like I would need a Masters to actually be any good at CS. Besides computer science I have no other interest in computers video games or unlike my classmates, they seem to live it. I regret not going for a Forestry degree but I think it may be too late because I have over 95 units and I don’t think I can change majors without an approval from the Dean. I don’t know whether to stick it out or check myself into a mental institution: )


The only thing I can say to that little rant/explanation is: Hunh???

Let me explain my confusion:

1. How can you "forget" WHY you're trying to get a degree?

2. How can you only be in the first semester of CS classes, yet already have so many credits built up that you can't "change direction"? What the heck were these "credits" in?

3. Why would you want to waste 3 or more of the best years of your life - not to mention (presumably) a significant portion of your career - on something that plainly doesn't interest you? "The money" might be a good excuse for someone in the S&M industry, but it seems a rather poor reason to get a BSc in repeatedly bashing yourself in the head.

Most of us here program because we like it, and head-pounding is just the price we pay for our choice (and believe me, it doesn't diminish just because you like the subject).

My advice: Tell the Dean you want to do forestry and get out there with the other Paul Bunyans. You might not make as much money - assuming you would have made ANY money as a programmer - but at least you'll be doing something you like.

And just FYI: One of the best programmers I ever met got his degree (a Master's, I think) in Soil Science.

HIH

Winston
 
Rancher
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I'm going to echo J. Kevin Robbins And Winston Gutkowski here. Programming is wrong line of work to be in if you don't enjoy it. Programming can be frustrating for everyone. Even for the most seasoned developers. The differrence between programmers and non-programmers is that programmers like working through the frustration to get a problem solved. You have to enjoy working through the frustration.

If you are planning to be a programmer for 20-40 years, you will have to learn 5-8 business domains while you are working. You will probably have to learn atleast 3 programming languages, and got through atleast 1 major evolution of technology. You have to learn, learn learn. The upside is that you get to make some very cool things. If the prospect of making cool things doesn't excite you enough to get your through the frustration, then you will have a hard life.

You are worried about 95 credits? Wait till you put 5 years into this life, and find out that you hate going into work. Money isn't going to fix that ulcer for you. Money isn't going to stop you from having a stroke.

Having said that, a lot of programmers go through some sort of epiphany in their lives. Some get it early. Some get it late. One day programming frustrates you, and you can't find the solutions. The next day, you start seeing solutions, and writing the program becomes a simple matter of banging out the solution that you have formed in your head. It's like when Neo starts seeing the Matrix after he was trapped. Being frustrated is a good way to have an epiphany. It's a good way to head towards early heart disease, too. Sort of like a Russian roullette :p
 
Rancher
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Graham,
I started out studying in general engineering at 21 after basically having a life of troubleshooting automobiles, my father was an auto mechanic and I literally started working around the guys at age 4. I progressed in complexity until in HS I had enough time in to be a journeyman auto mechanic. I had my own bay and clientele, worked independently, and enjoyed it, but it was just not what I really wanted to do. I started taking classes at the local community college and majored in general engineering. At the 3rd quarter mark I could see I really enjoyed engineering, but it was not what I really felt like I wanted to do for the next 30+ years. We were required to take a engineering programming class, and I distinctly remember sitting in the school library going through the first assignment saying to myself: Wow, I understand this. No, this is how my brain operates; I really understand this. I should change my major. This is something I can do for the next 30+ years. There is where I became a programmer.

I am good at Math, always have been, and I delight in all of the hard sciences. I thoroughly enjoyed my time studying general engineering, the problem solving is what does it for me, the time we had to calculate putting a rocket in to orbit, then sending to the moon, then to the moon and back to the earth, then to mars and back to the earth--all the time were required to use minimal fuel to achieve our desired result. To me it was easy, because I enjoyed it. Trouble shooting cars for 17 years became easy because I enjoyed the challenge of thinking in the abstract. Programming is a delight to me, I tell people that I get to play and they give me money for it. It is fantastic. I instantly see the path a project should go and the process unravels in my mind's eye and then I just have to formalize it.

I have done some huge projects, ran down roads of development the industry would follow years later, some of my code is used in as examples on how to program at various companies, some is used by permission in software packages developed by other companies, at least one package was adopted by a library system to run encryption, a lot of my code runs checks and controls on an entire industry in our state.

I cannot fully identify with you: I have always got it. But I do understand what you are saying. In my semester of my first year at the university there were over 750 students started out in Computer Science, the university has 60 seats available (60 people can make it through the program per year), each year they graduated 8 to 12 people the years that I was in school. My semester of graduation they graduated 6, but they graduated 6 more the next semester for a total of 12 that year. For 3 of the 4 year program they had classes to weed out students that didn't quite get it, and then they had a senior year that had more work than I have ever seen even in the private sector. So what I am saying is--it's hard. There were weeks that my total hours of sleep, yes the entire week's sum, were in single digits; there just wasn't time to sleep because the work needed to be done--I remember sitting at my computer for 3 full days straight coding projects that all came due at the same time (at one point I was out of sequence so thing didn't all nicely fall into line). Are you willing to put that much into it? Remember I was already good at Math, Science, and problem solving. (Oh, BTW: During college I had a wife, 2 kids, and worked 35 hours a week too)

I was once given advice by example: a young student asked his master, what need I to attain success? The master took him out into the river and dunked him under water--holding him there while he struggle to get free. As the wise master felt his student's struggles become in earnest, he brought him back to the surface. The master look at his student and simply said: when you want success as much as you wanted air, then you will have it.

If you have gotten this far in my ramblings I would have to say this to you: Not all professors at good teachers. When you get one you cannot understand you have to supplement your studies on your own, get a book or many books--often I have to purchase a 500+ page book to learn one concept in one chapter (I have literally spent 1000's on books to stay current and learn new things), go on line fine a tutorial. And be aware that Java is a tool, like a hammer, reading and learning the instructions on using the tool does not teach you how to build a project. Programming is a problem solving approach targeted at using the computer and devices to implement a solution.

You also asked if there are job in the computer industry that do not require programming. Yes, there are. IS departments usually consist of programmers, IT departments usually consist of hardware type of guys--network people. Maybe you're an IT type of guy instead of an IS type of guy.

Best wishes for your future, what ever it may hold,
Les

 
Greenhorn
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Not sure if you'll read this Graham but I'm in the exact same situation 4 years later as you were back in 2014. My first prgramming class - Java and even I have my exam on the 25th of this month.

I can relate to your struggle so much.  However the amazing comments and suggestions given to you by the awesome people here is motivating me.

I'd love to know Graham what you've been doing with it and if you pursued Java further and if yes how you've been doing? Also what helped you with your journey.

Excited to hear more!!
 
Campbell Ritchie
Marshal
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Welcome to the Ranch SH

I don't know whether you will get any replies, though..
 
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