I am looking to get back into programming after a (very) long hiatus. I am not proficient in any of the currently popular software languages (C, C++, or Java). I am looking to make a career change and I have decided to go back to what I like doing--programming. I have decided that Java is the place for me. Question: Should I look for a Java training course with classroom sessions or should I use one/several of the books that teach Java and learn it on my own. [This message has been edited by Scott Bloom (edited June 25, 2001).]
Mileage varies widely for different people. Since you haven't been programming for a while, I would think a classroom setting might be beneficial for you. Some courses can be pretty expensive though so try to go through some introductory books on Java and object oriented programming and use the class to reinforce what you read. But then again, you could be one those people who are fine just going through a book. The most important thing to do though is to write a lot of practice programs and apply what you learned. Of course, you need to visit JavaRanch a lot too because this is one of the best places to get help on things you don't understand about Java Good luck!
I shelled out $2000 for an "intensive" programming course in Java. The class met every Saturday for about 6.5 hours. But it was a waste of money. There were roughly 15 people in the class, and the class didn't have any prerequisites. Some people had trouble with simple pc fundamentals. I definitely learned Java on my own, and in retrospect after passing the scjp, I would never had taken that class. Personally, I thought it would keep me disciplined to my studies, but it really didn't. So I would be careful before you put your money out there. I would recommend studying on your own and using javaranch to your advantage. Good Luck with your decision. -Sean Casey
A lot of it depends on your prior experience. It sounds like you already have some programming knowledge so you may already have a grasp on the fundamentals of programming. My first experience programming since high school (using BASIC) was about 10 years afterwards. I got one of the 'teach yourself' books and set out wiht my notebooks and highlighters and started learning. I made it thought the entire book, even modified some of the programs in the book to do different things. Since then I've gone back to college to get my degree and have had numerous programming classes. After the first (intro to programming) I went back and looked over the book I had learned from before. I was amazed at all the notes and comments I had written in the book - most of them were way off base, some were just flat out wrong!! Like Junilu says your mileage will vary but for me it was invaluable to have an actual teacher to show exactly why somethiong worked the way it did and to explain the underlying concepts. You could probably find an introductory course through a local university or community college and that to me is the best way to go - at least to build a solid foundation.
Hi Scott. I would get a copy of "Thinking in Java" by Bruce Eckel at http://www.mindview.net/Books (It's free to download). This would be a good start. There are a number of other free resources out there. I have to agree with Sean when he stated "I would recommend studying on your own and using javaranch to your advantage." Don't forget the free Java Tutorial at Sun's site. Good luck. -Angelo