New to Programming need some help

Hello everyone,

I'm trying to get into programming, I'm currently a computer science major. I eventually want to get my masters in software engineering at USC, and work for Google some day. Right now though, i'm focused on trying to learn java. I was in a java class, but the teacher was really bad so i withdrew from the class. I'm going to retake it but i still wanted to learn about this stuff.

Like I said i want to learn java, but i was wondering if anyone could recommend any sites or books that would help me with it. I'm actually looking for something a little specific, and i was wondering if anyone has heard of or seen anything like what I'm about to describe. So, i use to play with Legos a lot as a kid. the thing i loved about them was i could follow the examples in the pages and see the finished product slowing become complete before my eyes. The great thing was once i made a few legos, i was able to see how the pieces fit together and i could create my own stuff. I'm think for me this is probably the best way for me to learn how to program.

So, does anyone know of any books, or sites that walk you through how to program with the aims of creating a bigger program at the end? like it has you copy what the example is, but then each line it talks about what this is and why it is important. then you keep programming and following the guide until you have some sort of ruinable program. that's what i'm looking for. i would love it if anyone could send me in the right direction. I'm trying to find something like this for iPhone apps right now, as well.

Also on a side note, what are some other popular programming forums out there?




  • Hello,

    Obviously you would like to get a good foundation in JAVA before seriously learning it, IMHO. Now do not snicker... but I would actually suggest reading "JAVA for Dummies". Believe it or not, it does a good job of allowing people to 'get their feet wet' before just jumping into the pool.... It presents JAVA in a very non-technical manner that allows you to soak it in more easily than lambasting you with a bunch of techno-speak.

    I would also suggest you to perform a Google search on "learn java programming"

    You will get a good deal of places where you can get started learning JAVA for a great price ..... FREE !

    Better deal than what Big Money can get you on ! :-) IHTH


  • Thank you for your input, i was thinking about getting one of those dummy guides. i was curious though was my example about legos easy to understand? What i mean is when i gave it did you get a mental picture of i what i was trying to convey?

    Again thank you, i'm going to go look for that book on amazon.
  • I would recommend just pushing through the course and pestering your teacher for as much help as you need until you understand what's going on.

    You won't be able to do this in the higher level courses, and learning it a differentway will only confuse you or limit you in that course because you will already be thinking in a counter productive manner in comparison to what your teacher will be expecting. The things we've done in our java intro are impractical but are used for the purpose of learning the fundementals of programming in general. It's why sometimes professionals would call all the work you will probably do in your course as redundant or impractical or excessive...

    No matter what you learn in that book, it will be useless in your course because your professor will require you to solve labs and create codes in a manner that he teaches aka you will be spending time not learning java, but understanding what your teacher has on the board.

    Not trying to sound negative or anything, I am just trying to give you advice so you save time :) I also did essentially the same thing and regret not having finished that course last semester so I could be farther ahead by now (also wasted money). Teaching you java is different from learning the fundementals of programming especially to your computer science curriculum's standards -- which is what you want, because java is not important to you due to it's capability as a language to code something that you need to code, it is important for your academic and career related reasons. Learning Java for Dummies might help you make a few useless programs on the side, but will ultimately not result in any improved score/understanding of your course. That can only be achieved by your effort in the class.

    I also read some of Java for Dummies, that is why I know it was useless for me. This is just my input, don't let me stop you from reading or gaining more knowledge :P I am merely advising you on your situation versus a craving to learn java lol

    To analogize what I am trying to tell you, it's kinda like having an ssd for a brain, 50gb goes to java, would you rather get an ssd that's fresh and never been touched to write for the first time your school's basics of java, or would you rather get a used ssd with 50gb of useless java on it that you will have to overwrite anyways. If you have ever had to take AP calc in highschool or something like that, then retake calc in college it's the exact same thing lol...

    Also I used to hate lego instructions when I was a kid XD I always wanted to make my own thing, in elementary school I did it for those little robot legos that we would program... now that I miss. Either way, have fun, good luck and best wishes with your future in programming :)

    EDIT: My professor's actually a woman, so ignore my assumed gender label for yours. -- first time I thought she was a total baffoon and couldn't understand a word, the 2nd try now I still can't understand her as well as I'd like, but now she has taught me a lot as I have stuck with it and I regret doubting her ability.
  • Javanub has a good point... But it was the opposite for me... I attended Cornell U in upstate NY.... in the 1990's... Java was starting out then. Yes the CS curriculum was totally rad. My prof had us do stuff I thought was irrelevant to my fledgling career as a software engineer... Even dropped Calculus once, but took it the next semester...

    But I would have to say learning the basics of Java prior to attending class helped me... syntax, etc.... The methodology of software development can be taught in many ways... Every prof has their own style, etc. What helped me there was that I kept an open mind to the profs methodologies. What they can't change is the basic syntax rules of a language... That I learned by doing prior reading... I learned methodology in class more then actual syntax. I learned more syntax from self study. Ultimately it is a balance. In the end I applied what I learned syntactically and utilized the methodologies and passed the course nicely.

    Here is a funny... When I worked for a software engineering company prior to Y2K, I read 'SQL for Dummies' during my breaks... Afterwards, they wanted me to give classes for SQL !!! I taught more problem solving & analytics than SQL per say...

    Read, read, read, but keep an open mind to apply what ever you learn.

    We had a saying at CU...
    Those who can.... do
    Those who can't ...teach ! :icon_cheesygrin:

    Have a great day.

  • The most important aspect of Java is OOP. I read a lot about it before I attended any Java classes and it helped a lot.

    Read this. It's an excellent introduction in my opinion (and not too long), very well written. What is being explained may seem self-explanatory sometimes, but still, read it. It's a good way to prepare (or prime) your mind to think in Java. Pictures and diagrams included. :)
  • Mr. Ignorant,

    Nice name.... ya know Mrs. Knowitall by any chance ? :-) We can have a lot of fun with this one.....

    Anyhow, I checked out the link you supplied, and I agree with you. It is a good start, and well written. Thanks for the info.

    Happy Thanksgiving...

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