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#1 steve.v  Icon User is offline

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Programming books *Worth it?

Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:01 AM

Hello. I am currently enrolled in C++ course and I've recently took an interest in learning Java. A quick look at the job market in my region(midwest) show many job openings for Java.

I am considering learning from a book and through web help and tutorials. With the amount of information on the web, would it be better to just teach myself or should I consider a class course? I am more of a do it yourself kind of guy, but I am afraid I may not be as fluent compared to someone that actually took the programming class. Would I be making the wrong assumptions if I think that it is more important to learn the concepts as syntax will always come later? Please help this young padawan. thanks.

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Replies To: Programming books *Worth it?

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Programming books *Worth it?

Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:10 AM

Programming classes sometimes hit on details easy to overlook and they provide structure. If you grab a Java book and do your C++ assignments, that should be sufficient to get a basic grasp on the language. Supplementary tutorials and interactions with other Jaca programmers are great for filling in the gaps. Don't be afraid to post on the Java forum if you need help with your code!
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#3 BetaWar  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming books *Worth it?

Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:56 AM

It really will depend on how you learn. As Mac said, courses add structure you may not find in a book, but if you have a language down pat (like C/C++) then learning another won't take much time at all.

I am personally someone who learns well from web-based tutorials. That is actually how I began programming in the first place.There are tons of tutorials out there on pretty much ever topic (except some of the more "advanced" features of C++ such as dynamic linked libraries -- those seem nearly impossible to find a web tutorial on).

The point here, is that the structure of a class may help out, but you can definitely get quite a bit of information (and actually be ahead of your classmates) by simply following tutorials and making sure you understand what is going on.
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#4 steve.v  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming books *Worth it?

Posted 31 October 2012 - 11:55 AM

Hey, Thanks so much for answering my questions, your input has helped me made up my mind. Thanks again.
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#5 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Programming books *Worth it?

Posted 31 October 2012 - 12:18 PM

View Poststeve.v, on 31 October 2012 - 12:01 PM, said:

Hello. I am currently enrolled in C++ course and I've recently took an interest in learning Java. A quick look at the job market in my region(midwest) show many job openings for Java.


Java is a good language to learn. Most people find it offers a lot of opportunities and a lot of frustrations, but the fact remains that it due to language lock-in if for no other reason there is a lot of work for a skilled Java programmer, and will be for the foreseeable future.
Also, due to the high usage, there is a lot of material on language design, compiler construction, and so forth available about Java. So for example, if you're interested in learning to write a compiler Java is a good language to work with: the language spec is easily available (google will take you right to it) and very good. So it's a good one both for working and for learning.

Quote

Would I be making the wrong assumptions if I think that it is more important to learn the concepts as syntax will always come later? Please help this young padawan. thanks.


It's really worth learning the syntax and the details of the language precisely as you go. Every language has little "gotcha" clauses that are less likely to get you if you really understand the nuts and bolts. For example, in Java confusion about "pass by value" and "pass by reference" is eliminated entirely if you understand what primitives and objects really are, to the machine. If you don't understand this, you'll have to make up all sorts of rules for yourself, and you'll get confused. Similarly, the confusion that every newbie experiences in comparing Strings (you have to use the .equals method, not the == comparison operator) is eliminated entirely if you understand objects.
That's just one pair of related examples. There are others.

But if you find you learn best by examples and hands-on work, that's cool too. Go through the tutorials at oracle and run all of the code that you find there. By the time you're done there you'll have a few miles of Java under your fingers, and then you can pick up copies of Effective Java and Practical Java and read through those, which should help you figure out a lot of the details you'll have skipped. Java Gotchas and Java Puzzlers are also useful.
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#6 luckielordie  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming books *Worth it?

Posted 12 November 2012 - 04:20 PM

Books are invaluable for me. Most of the time I use them as a reference. The problem for me with online tutorials is that the information you get can be incomplete or all over the place.
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#7 steve.v  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming books *Worth it?

Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:19 PM

Hey, thanks Jon for the insight, I've since started looking at the web based tutorial and I think I am moving along :D. I didn't realize oracle even had these resources. Thanks for pointing it out!

Steve
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#8 alexr1090  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming books *Worth it?

Posted 18 November 2012 - 05:32 AM

This year I was required to buy the book for my class because we were doing examples directly from that book. However in past classes instead of buying the brand new $200 book my teacher would let me buy last years version for a couple of bucks.

Good luck to you!
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#9 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming books *Worth it?

Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:51 PM

I tend to buy several books over anything I find entertaining. When I was low on money or not working, I bought books for $0.01 on Amazon. They were older books, but still had some good information that gave insight without breaking my wallet in half. I may post a picture of my library some time, but when stacked it's taller than me (hint: I'm 6'1".)
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#10 YasuoDancez  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming books *Worth it?

Posted 24 November 2012 - 09:54 AM

As mentioned, school provides the structure. For example, I would not of known to go from the basics such as syntax, to Data Structures, on to learning Assembly where Assembly provides a better understanding of how the underlying code gets translated and works, which, in the end, provides for better coding when programming at a higher level language.
Furthermore, obviously, structure does not only involve moving from course to course, but moving from inside each course, as well as other general education courses.
The obvious made more obvious. :winkiss:
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#11 Vompaudi  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming books *Worth it?

Posted 26 November 2012 - 02:04 AM

In my college we IT-students don't normally use books, cause almost all things on information technology is developing every day. IT is lifetime learning new. So i.e., when book about stable version of C# at this moment comes to stores, its content is soon out of date, when there is published new, more accurate version of C#.
In my college we are teached always to find the latest things only from Internet. Sometimes we read from books about some stable things like IP-addresses and creating LAN wiring for empty room.
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