Becoming a Java Progammer?

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#16 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 04 March 2013 - 09:19 PM

I think it's fair to say that the skill of a programmer is directly proportional to the number of mistakes they've already made - and learned from.

I think this is one of the key reasons why writing lots of code is so much more important than reading about writing code.
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#17 farrell2k  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 05 March 2013 - 07:21 AM

I am bored, so I feel like adding a few more things.

View Postkevinb4940, on 04 March 2013 - 11:54 AM, said:

1)I have heard that Java is the most difficult language to learn.


The language is not hard to learn. It's the libraries and how they work that take a lot of time - Swing, Collections, InputStrems, OutputStreams, etc. Then there are OO design principles. The language is pretty easy to grasp, but programming (putting everything together) is hard.


View Postkevinb4940, on 04 March 2013 - 11:54 AM, said:

2)Can you teach yourself Java or do you have to be academically trained?


I am still teaching myself Java.

I have no college training. It's something I have planned to do, and when I get around to it, I know I will be bored to tears in my Java classes. My background is in real estate, so if I can do it, you most certainly can.

View Postkevinb4940, on 04 March 2013 - 11:54 AM, said:

3)How long does it take to become a Java Programmer?


2 - 3 years to really feel comfortable with the language, but only a few months to start making things. I wrote my first somewhat successful Android application 6 months after starting to play with Java.


I think it is good that you have a management degree before getting into programming. It will definitely help your career. Not many people want to write code in their 50s all the time. It's easier to be the guy who sits back and just makes sure other are doing the work.

One thing I struggled with when first learning Java was whether or not it was the right language to learn. I asked myself it every day, and sometimes I still wonder if I am wasting my time playing with Java, as all the jobs in my area seem to be c#. I decided to stick with learning java, and when I felt comfortable with it, I started looking into other languages like Python and c#. None have interested me like Java.

This post has been edited by farrell2k: 05 March 2013 - 07:22 AM

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#18 pbl  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 05 March 2013 - 07:47 AM

As, for the last 25 years, I made my living of refactoring, for performance reasons, the code written by others I cannot disagree with no2pencil and I will strongly suggest that you start to work on production critical projects right now. :)
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#19 Curtis Rutland  Icon User is online

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:21 AM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 04 March 2013 - 09:48 AM, said:

View Postkevinb4940, on 04 March 2013 - 06:54 AM, said:

...
1)I have heard that Java is the most difficult language to learn.
...


1) I have heard that as well. Never saw any reason to believe it, though.

...


Where have you guys heard this? I've never heard anyone claim that Java is the hardest language to learn. I think if it were, they wouldn't use it in the vast majority of Intro to Programming classes in college.

I suppose if you were coming from a purely procedural environment, it would be difficult to learn Java because you'd also be learning OOP, but the same would be true of any OO language, not just Java. Maybe they're talking about the framework of packages, but the same would be true for .NET or any other language with a backing framework or standard library. In fact, the organization of the packages would make it far easier to learn than some other languages like C++.

C++ would be, in my personal opinion, the hardest "common" language to learn. Extremely powerful and potent, but deeply complex.
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#20 farrell2k  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:36 AM

View PostCurtis Rutland, on 05 March 2013 - 03:21 PM, said:

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 04 March 2013 - 09:48 AM, said:

View Postkevinb4940, on 04 March 2013 - 06:54 AM, said:

...
1)I have heard that Java is the most difficult language to learn.
...


1) I have heard that as well. Never saw any reason to believe it, though.

...


Where have you guys heard this? I've never heard anyone claim that Java is the hardest language to learn. I think if it were, they wouldn't use it in the vast majority of Intro to Programming classes in college.

I suppose if you were coming from a purely procedural environment, it would be difficult to learn Java because you'd also be learning OOP, but the same would be true of any OO language, not just Java. Maybe they're talking about the framework of packages, but the same would be true for .NET or any other language with a backing framework or standard library. In fact, the organization of the packages would make it far easier to learn than some other languages like C++.

C++ would be, in my personal opinion, the hardest "common" language to learn. Extremely powerful and potent, but deeply complex.


I think they do mean the framework. I not, then python would likely be what is taught in schools, instead of Java.
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#21 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:45 AM

I've heard people make every claim about java that you could possibly imagine. Mostly, they're wrong, but the claims are made. It's really fun hanging around with the functional guys - they'll start telling you stuff like "when you're sleeping, Java will sneak out of your computer and eat your baby! I know, it happened to my friend's sister!"

I think this one is typically made by people who have tried to study programming, encountered Java, failed, and blamed it on Java. Another possible source would be people who confuse the depth of the libraries with the size of the language. Java is not a big language, but to a novice it looks huge.


Quote

I've never heard anyone claim that Java is the hardest language to learn. I think if it were, they wouldn't use it in the vast majority of Intro to Programming classes in college.


This may not be a justified conclusion. I don't think anyone chose java based on any considerations of whether it's hard or easy to learn. I think it was chosen because it was

- a powerful,
- versatile language
- with good academic potential
- and strong library support
- that is in very common use in industry.


When Java replaced C as the default first language, it was really the obvious choice on all of these fronts. "Easy" or "hard" wasn't a consideration, and it shouldn't have been, because it's simply not relevant to the calculation.

This post has been edited by jon.kiparsky: 05 March 2013 - 08:46 AM

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#22 Curtis Rutland  Icon User is online

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:46 AM

Quote

This may not be a justified conclusion.


That's true, it was more of an offhand idea than a thought-out conclusion.

However, each of your bullets...the exact same could be said for C++, and some other languages as well. I think Java won out because in addition to all of those points, two things worked in its favor:

1)its easier to teach, or easier to learn (if those are two different things) than languages like C++
2)strong and simply presented OO principles. OO in Java is much more approachable than some other languages, because it's deeply embedded into the core of the language instead of being "bolted on".

Quote

I not, then python would likely be what is taught in schools, instead of Java.


I personally think it should be. Maybe not in college, but I think Python would be a great place to start high school students. Removing as much boilerplate as possible is probably the best thing you can do for someone interested in but completely new to programming. Have them get things they wrote up and running as simply and efficiently as possible to keep their interest. Then when they've learned the basic principles, introduce them to languages with more rigorous rules.
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#23 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:12 AM

I have to agree with you there - I think that the Rube-Goldberg nature of C++ is what put it off the table for academics. For example, I think most people trying to teach the fundamentals of computation would probably prefer not to spend their time on language-specific issues of memory management. Unless you're talking about language design and you really want to get into different memory models, it's just getting in the way. (Fixing segfaults doesn't really help you understand a quicksort)

There's also the aesthetic issue: Java is considered clunky and awkward today by a lot of programmers, but at the time, and compared to C++, it was positively sleek. Shouldn't matter, but it does.

View PostCurtis Rutland, on 05 March 2013 - 11:46 AM, said:

Quote

I not, then python would likely be what is taught in schools, instead of Java.


I personally think it should be. Maybe not in college, but I think Python would be a great place to start high school students. Removing as much boilerplate as possible is probably the best thing you can do for someone interested in but completely new to programming. Have them get things they wrote up and running as simply and efficiently as possible to keep their interest. Then when they've learned the basic principles, introduce them to languages with more rigorous rules.


I can see how you'd come to that conclusion, but after thinking about it, and looking at how python can be taught and is taught, I have to disagree. But that's an interesting topic for another forum.
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#24 tycos  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:42 AM

This is how I got into development as a job:

I was a desktop officer managing PCs, general Network stuff in a large corporate environment, was asked to write a Wake On LAN site/service which I completed using PHP and really enjoyed that, the service worked well and was moved into a programming team for 4 months.

Prior to this had written very basic vb.net desktop applications and a few ASP.net websites, was into making silly Flash Games, played about with some CGI, Perl, even Pascal years before. So the passion was there and I had completed an Internet Computing degree.

I spent the first month of my dev life writing a .Net DLL for an old VB6 app. The DLL interfaced with a PostCode Address lookup service, my understanding of a Corporate network and Windows Group Policies helped to roll out the update.

So now I had some experience of working in a dev team, after creating a few small websites and making changes to existing corporate applications was moved onto Ruby and Rails and spent two years writing an Admissions system.

-------------------------------------------------

I guess my advice is, you need a passion in development if you are going to succeed at any level, any I.T related experience is going to help. My background helped me understand the environment I was created applications for, now I rarely create desktop applications, everything is online but often write interfaces between systems.

I read a lot of arguments about the best/easiest/hardest language, the truth is in the real world you can be asked to work on any platform, OS, programming language/framework at any time(not true in all jobs I am sure), Java may be a good language to learn but will not always be relevant for a solution, and how hard it is to learn depends on how you decide to learn.

The important skills are a fundamental under standing of programming, good problem solving and being open to change, if you want to be a developer just learning Java wont get you a job easily, you would need to know a lot more or find a position where you will have some training.

You actually asked
1)I have heard that Java is the most difficult language to learn.

Malbolge is harder.

2)Can you teach yourself Java or do you have to be academically trained?

I have started to learn Java to make a game, I have used it before to make plugins for Minecraft, all self taught but already experienced in other languages. You can be taught how to program, write loops, case statements etc which can be applied to most frameworks.

3)How long does it take to become a Java Programmer?

What is your goal?

Become a Java Programmer and make a basic calculator: Few weeks
Become a Java Programmer and create a simple game: Few months
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#25 conure  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 09 March 2013 - 02:28 PM

View Postkevinb4940, on 04 March 2013 - 05:19 AM, said:

Cheers Greg!

10 Years?? I definitely need a mentor.

I am from Ireland and they have an institute over here called the Open University.

I will contact them and see what they have to offer.

Thanks again

Kevin


I am in my second year with OU at the moment study a BSc in Software Development. It's great - in first year you study a programming fundamentals course using MITs scratch, fantastic foundation.
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#26 Flukeshot  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 09 March 2013 - 06:13 PM

Whenever someone asks me if programming is hard, I always say "..yeah". But what's really on my mind is that I believe the most important hurdle is adapting your brain to think like a processor. It's such a powerful tool to - as I oft put it to the wife - speak Javanese. :)

1)I have heard that Java is the most difficult language to learn.

All languages, programming and spoken/written, feel like looking at the matrix the first time you see them. Exposure and experience helps to put the pieces together. Given time, practice, enjoyment of the subject, (and let's be frank) an acceptable level of intelligence, anyone can become a programmer in a very short space of time.

2)Can you teach yourself Java or do you have to be academically trained?

I'll be honest with you, I refused to pay my academic institute for tutoring time. Nobody can really teach someone to be a programmer.. Yes there will be times that you will get stumped on a project, but at that point you have 2 choices:
- Ask someone to give you the right answer, you will learn a minimal amount.
--OR--
- Bang your head up against the problem until you solve it, learning a large amount that you'll never forget.

D.I.C can help with a little hint here and there if you choose the second route, as I've personally experienced. :)Thanks guys!

3)How long does it take to become a Java Programmer?

Unique to every person. Some people are slower than others. Natural selection should have weeded them out by now, but our health care and public welfare has gotten too good! ;)

But if you choose the path, give it 100%. Any less is just a waste of time.

Hope this 2-cents holds something useful to you.
Best of luck.
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#27 kevinb4940  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 10 March 2013 - 04:18 AM

View Postconure, on 09 March 2013 - 09:28 PM, said:

View Postkevinb4940, on 04 March 2013 - 05:19 AM, said:

Cheers Greg!

10 Years?? I definitely need a mentor.

I am from Ireland and they have an institute over here called the Open University.

I will contact them and see what they have to offer.

Thanks again

Kevin


I am in my second year with OU at the moment study a BSc in Software Development. It's great - in first year you study a programming fundamentals course using MITs scratch, fantastic foundation.


Thanks Conure

Would you have a link to the OU course you are doing please?

Many thanks.
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#28 k.e.n.  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 10 March 2013 - 02:21 PM

View Postkevinb4940, on 04 March 2013 - 04:54 AM, said:

Hey there!

I have a degree in Management but I am really looking to pursue a career in Programming.

I have a couple of questions I would be very grateful if someone could answer for me please

1)I have heard that Java is the most difficult language to learn.

2)Can you teach yourself Java or do you have to be academically trained?

3)How long does it take to become a Java Programmer?

Thanks

Kevin



Hi Kevin, I just joined D.I.C. so excuse me if I just re-posted someone elses response... will see if there's a way to remove it.

I've just begun re-learning programming after several years of inactivity (about 13). I initially took a condensed programming diploma course to break into the field. I would have to say that at that time, I picked up several books about programming and tried to teach myself and honestly, I couldn't make heads or tails out of what was being presented to me. Maybe it was the books I chose, maybe it wasn't. After taking the course, I had a much better understanding of programming overall. I didn't stick with programming because I believe (my excuse is) everyone that had worked on the y2k bug at the time was now free to get back to their jobs, and I live in a city flooded with programmers, so to break into the field was next to impossible. After these several years of inactivity (other than some minor web development), I have become fascinated with Android and have decided to re-teach myself some old tricks.

Is java the hardest to learn? No! We learned C, C++, Assembler, dos-based programming, VB and others, and I have to say that for myself C, and Java were among the easier ones. The overall concept of OOP can be quite difficult to grasp. What can make Java difficult (now even more than then) is the Java API which is collection of usable code. At the time it had about 500 re-usable programs, now it has over 4000. (You will never learn them all!)

Can you teach yourself? It all depends on what type of learner you are, but for me, picking up a book and reading the first few pages without any inclination of programming made my stomach turn. Having someone teach you the basics is a great start. That said, if you apply to a course or program, know ahead of time what you want to get out of it and look for one that focuses on what you want to learn. I'm not sure about costs where you are, but you don't want to spend thousands of dollars and weeks or months learning things you will never use. The 2 diploma courses I took covered several topics which are now no longer in use, or were just plain useless to begin with.

How long does it take? As one poster pointed out, it all depends what your goals are. You won't be writing mission-critical code in a month, but if you want to write and use some small programs, you will be doing it soon. Don't get frustrated if you don't grasp something right away, it will likely make more sense as you progress.

Take all of my comments with a grain of salt, as I have just started to re-learn Java myself. I picked up the dummies books for Java and Android as refreshers. While reading the Java book, I keep asking myself ..how hard would this be if I didn't already take my courses several years ago? It would definitely be more difficult.

The best of luck with your endeavors! Keep us posted on your decision.

Now to figure out why I just posted someone else's response!
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#29 e-papa  Icon User is offline

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Re: Becoming a Java Progammer?

Posted 15 March 2013 - 02:25 PM

I think the best way to go is to start, i started programming 2011, and it's been good so far, you learn to program by programming, so the key thing is to start, and start NOW.
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