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What motivates me...  RSS feed

 
Michael Pearson
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I've only been on the Cattle Drive for a few weeks, but I noticed that the Assignment Log is bottom heavy. Has there been a recent influx of new greanhorns or is this normal? I'd like to exchange with you my motivation to learn Java in the hope you'll share yours too.
I think this is a very informative forum. It's a tool that is a lot more fun to use than just reading a book or self evaluating your own test programs.
I'm using this forum to help teach myself an OOP language to change careers. I've got 8 years experience with non-OOP languages and an engineering degree, but I can't wait to move on.
I'm looking forward to my first coding job, learning UML techniques, and eventually being able to lead a software design team. I try to dream big, it makes the hard work fun.

Mike
 
Joel Cochran
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I am one of the recent additions, but I've been here all week!
I work for a VERY small software company. To put it mildly, we were dying. Our code was stagnant, our methods were stale, and the future looked bleak. But one day we had a vision. We examined our vision and decided it was time to sink or swim, soooooo.......
Over the last six months we have gone from late 80's tecnology and techniques on a legacy system to fully functioning Internet development. I've learned CGI, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, SSI, HTTP, and I even wrote a Java Applet before I knew anything about Java! (BTW, you can see the results at http://www.vamanet.com if you're interested.)
It has been exciting and challenging, the best period of employment in my life. It has stimulated me to reach farther...which is why I'm here.
I want to re-engineer our software to be fully platform and database independent. I want to build a real GUI. I want to seperate businees logic and presentation. In short, I want JAVA, and I want it NOW! Servlets, .jsps, Swing, EJB ... I want it all!
Cattle Drive has been great. I can't get over the job that the nit-pickers do (and on a volunteer basis at that!) I've read a couple of Java books and I went to a seminar and I've learned more in the last few days than all the rest put together. What a blessing to have the cattle ranch! I look forward to the day that I can pitch in and help someone else like they've helped me.
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Joel Cochran

[This message has been edited by Joel Cochran (edited March 29, 2001).]
 
Brian Burke
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Mike,
I'm working towards a job change as well. I graduated college with a degree in Finance and Russian. Last July, I quit my financial analyst position to start making my way into programming. Currently I'm doing some very basic web development(HTML, some JavaScript, some ASP) and project management.
Java Ranch has been very helpful in keeping me on track. Especially since Johannes begun the Assignment Log. I'm fairly good at going off on tangents like seeing something in ASP or C++, then trying to learn some of that, rather than focusing on one language at a time.
So my motivation is similar, I too look forward to my first coding job.
Brian
 
Ed Byrnes
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My motivation to learn Java is to start a new career. I taught science for eleven years at a private school and didn't get a contract for this year. I see this being jobless business as an opportunity, I accomplished what I wanted with the teaching and while there were a lot of great times, I'm glad to NOT be working with kids for a change.
As I'm learning Java I have also started an addition on our house and figure I will save way more than I would have made working during the same period of time. I enjoy the work, especially with spring coming. My 20-year-old helped me today, we got the floor joists up over the new basement and half the plywood in place.
Besides reading the recommended Java books as much as possible, I am doing the assignments, now on the Java Say(b) assignment. I have it working fairly perfectly and now I get to try different ways of getting it working perfectly!
So I'm very fortunate as I have a loving wife who is making it possible for me to pursue the Java. She only bugs me about getting a job maybe once or twice an hour. We have an old dog with tumors and a funky skin condition, I get to take him to the vet tomorrow. He is very healthy, even with the above maladies and with my luck he will live another twenty years.
All the people here at Java Ranch are my motivators and encouragers. I hope we hear from others. The best to all...
~Ed
 
Pres Brawner
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I've actually made the jump. I was working as a Perl programmer when my company got bought out and I was told "Guess what. You now code in Java."
I was delighted.
I'm finishing off GeekWatch and am soon to go on to the rest of problems here.
When I first started I wondered as the first poster "This is great! Where's everybody else? Why don't I see stuff from the people doing the advance assignments?"
A couple of observations. One, they are posting, but not here. I hit problems at work all the time. I go and do a search on this site, and if I don't find my answer, I post to one of the forums. (Usually not this one.)
Another thing... it is possible to get discouraged. I've tried to make recommendations and been slapped down pretty hard. The organizers of the site feel they are doing a good thing, just the way it is, thank you very much. If you're not happy, don't come back.
Another thing: requirements aren't always clearly stated. For example, the assignment for GeekWatch says something like, "Read over the Date library and see what it can do for you." I did. I didn't like what it could do for me and used GregorianCalendar instead. I did use Date for one thing, but I had crossed the line. I got back nits saying "Didn't you read the assignment? You used the wrong class!"
The requirements are known by the authors, but will only be communicated after we fail.
Having said that, I'm still here. This is a good thing, and I look forward to my email every night and the opportunity to send in a new assignment, or another revision.
 
Jane Griscti
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Hi guys ...
My motivation has really just been curiousity . I was an Accountant, quit working full-time in 1990 .. the long hours were killing my husband and me; we were both gone from 7am to 7pm 5 days a week ...barely got to see our kids... and spent the weekends running around doing errands and housework; something had to give, so before it did we decided to give living on one salary a try .
In 1992 I had a part-time job, with flexible hours, fall in my lap. I'd always been a bit of a computer nut; the things fascinate me, and the job was to provide basic phone support for DOS/Windows/OS2 to consumers so I jumped at it. I'm off the phones now and develop internal tools, mostly using Notes. Still part-time, which is fine with me
I started reading about Java in '95/96. Played around building a few applets then got sidetracked by the need to get my Notes certification. Last August I decided I'd like to be a real programmer; started studying for the SCJP and found JavaRanch ... been hanging around ever since
I really enjoy Java. I started the Cattle Drive assignments, along with Bill, when Marilyn put out a call for more nit-pickers ... yes, they make nit-pickers do the assignments just like everyone else and trust me, they don't pull any punches on the nits . Bill's doing nits now (I think), but not me. I'm working on another project so don't think I'll have the time for awhile but I'm still going to complete the assignments. It's been a real eye-opener! I've never worked in a real coding shop so who'd of thunk my emminently logical methodology would appear so completely illogical to someone else

------------------
Jane Griscti
Sun Certified Programmer for the Java� 2 Platform
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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"Has there been a recent influx of new greanhorns or is this normal?"

The number of students seems to be increasing logarithmically. Last October there were three students simultaneously. Now there are about 50 or so. (Some on the log are inactive, but there are others that are not on the log.)

From the time the cattle drive was initiated in January, 1999, until October, 2000, (22 months), about 100 students started the course.

Since last October (5 months), 139 students have submitted at least one version of Java-1.

[This message has been edited by Marilyn deQueiroz (edited March 29, 2001).]
 
Jane Griscti
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Marilyn,
Your fame is growing
 
bill bozeman
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Man Marilyn, how do you keep up with it all. I wonder if we will ever have to get to the point where we only have a certain number of applicants at a time so we have to close the classes for a little while.
Hope not, but that is a lot of new apps lately.
Bill
 
Pauline McNamara
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I like hearing those stories of folks whose educational and/or professional backgrounds don't include Computer Science or Information Technology, etc. THAT motivates me, actually, since I'm one of those and just kind of playing at learning programming as a hobby. It feels like tinkering, but instead of an old radio it's a new program assignment.
After looking at some books with exercises, I was often stumped when I could't figure out why a certain solution was preferred. Here at Java College, the nitpicking service is extremely helpful in this regard, since we find out not only how to produce the requested result, but also why a certain way might be more efficient or logical.
That's pretty motivating, too!
[This message has been edited by Pauline McNamara (edited March 31, 2001).]
 
Michael Matola
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I'm one whose educational background doesn't include computer science or information systems but is working in the field.
For me it took some job jumping (actually it was through temp agencies) to sort out what I wanted to do. I went the route of relational databases and studied a lot on my own to get the necessary skills.
A problem I've faced while doing this is what I'd describe as 'getting past HR.' That is, if I could get my resume to or interview with a technical person, I stood a good chance of having my skills fairly evaluated. But if I had to deal with HR folks who didn't have a grasp of the technologies, they often couldn't get past my liberal arts background.
I believe that the folks who hired me at my current job showed some imagination -- I was part of a group of 15 people hired and trained together for entry-level developer positions. Some had actual CS/IS backgrounds and some did not.
I'm doing well at my current job, but it's been a battle to get the technical assignments I want. Due to my 'good communication skills' they've tried to steer me in the direction of working with end users to gather requirements, coordinating small projects, etc. But it's really design and programming that I want to do.
I'm learning Java because I'm interested in object-oriented technologies. Eventually I want to get certification because I think it will take some of the focus away from my nontraditional background.
Mike
(kak Brian Burke, ia tozhe izuchal russkii iazyk )
 
Jane Griscti
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Hi Michael,
Sounds like you should check out the Java Architect(sp?) certification! Your communications skills would be really useful in developing 'use cases'; which, according to Martin Fowler, are essential to good design
Jane
 
Brad Ford
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Hi all!
It really is interesting to see everyone's story so I thought I'd add mine to the mix. Like quite a few others, I'm coming at this without a CS background. I graduated with a BSc in health studies a while back, worked my way up quickly in the industry and suddenly (well, maybe not to suddenly) realized that I was on the fast track to somewhere I hadn't really put much thought into. I wasn't really happy and was having numerous ethical conflicts so I quit. It all worked out with other personal plans - 2 and half years in Japan, travel, retraining, really deciding what I want to do (if you're really curious, you can get the full story on my web page.
To make a long story short, I decided that I most liked the IT and business parts of my past jobs so that's the direction I'm heading now. I did a lot of self-education over the past year and a half re: html, css, oracle, server side scripting, embedded html, dynamic web site design, but nothing on paper to show for it.
It was pretty difficult getting my foot in the door to start. I ended up doing contract work through Aquent, a sort of IT temp service. Through them, I've made some valuable contacts and will hopefully get a junior programmers position by May or so. The HR people that I've talked to unanimously recommended taking the SJCP as a starting point - reviewing my resume, they thought I had a good background but no proof of knowledge. The Sun certified logo would apparently be the difference between the round file and an interview.
So that's how I ended up here. And a better 'learning' web site, I cannot name. Thanks to everyone here at Javaranch.
[This message has been edited by Brad Ford
[This message has been edited by Brad Ford (edited April 02, 2001).]
 
Michael Pearson
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I�d like to thank everyone that has kept this thread alive the past couple of days. I like hearing the stories behind the names on the forum. It personalizes the forum.
If you have a story to let it rip!
Mike
 
Johannes de Jong
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Good idea this posting Micheal, I've meant to contribute a few days ago but things got a bit busy.
I've been in IT for nearly 24 years. I've done it all. Started on the IBM 360 and am now back on Old Big Blue. In between I worked on mini's, no not the little British cars, I like them a lot though and PC's. I've also coded in about every comp. language that exists, some I hated, others are like your first girl-friend, you cant help but remembering and feeling something for her. My old computer language girl friend is Assembler. I was such a fanatic that I even took core-dumps home and debug the programs in it with my yellow reference card. Heck I knew that language. I had a "passion" then for programming computers.
Somewhere along the line it has only become a job. Don't make a mistake IT has always treated me well, given me a solid income but in the end I put in too many hours for to little "real" satisfaction.
And that motivates me seeing the "passion" people here have for Java, ie. programming. The dedication of the Marilyn's, Paul's, Frank's, heck the list is endless.
With you're example I'll start having fun again.
And good luck to all of you that are making career changes.
Thanks

[This message has been edited by Johannes de Jong (edited April 02, 2001).]
 
Randy Trover
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Reading all your stories has been great. I'm always surprised at number of people I meet out in the field that don't have CS degress or didn't start out in the IT field. I've been an avalanche forecaster at a ski resort in Utah for 32 years. I started coding in pascal while try computerize all our weather and avalanche records, that lead to dbase, foxpro, delphi and a summer job working for a local consulting company. I've been doing lots of work in Delphi, but market for Delphi programmers seems to be drying up, and it always best not to have you horses hitched to just on wagon. So, here I am fighting my way up the learning curve with the other greenhorns.
Cheers
Randy
 
Diana Ryan
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Brian and Michael, ya tozhe izuchala russki yazik.
First Music, then Russian, then Computer Science.
smeshno, da?
~ Diana
 
Michael Pearson
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Johannes,
I too loved Assembly...
When the whole language fits on one small fold-up card it must be cool.
Mike
 
Michael Pearson
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Diana,
I tried to use an on-line translator to convert your Russian to English, but it didn't work?
How about a little help?

Mike
 
ryan burgdorfer
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Originally posted by Diana Ryan:
Brian and Michael, ya tozhe izuchala russki yazik.
First Music, then Russian, then Computer Science.
smeshno, da?
~ Diana

I think she has provided the English translation herself (in green)...I may be wrong, however.

------------------
  • Ryan Burgdorfer
  • Java Acolyte in
  • Columbus, OH USA
 
Michael Matola
whippersnapper
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Close, but not exactly.
Diana was just adding herself to the list of Russian-studiers-turned-programmers on this forum.
An interviewer once told me that some of her best programmers were language majors. Although I usually downplay the connections between natural languages and computer languages, I didn't launch into that spiel at the interview, of course.
I once trashed the hard drive of an old computer of mine with a bootleg copy of the Russian version of OS/2, but that's a different story...
- Mike
[This message has been edited by Michael Matola (edited April 04, 2001).]
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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This may be a good point in time to ask that you all stick to English. We've had some problems (in other forums) with people saying not so nice stuff in other languages. Since the moderators here at the ranch don't know all the different languages in the world, we've decided that the best thing to do is just ask people to limit themselves to English, at least in their postings here on JavaRanch.

Thanks for your co-operation.

P.S. You're more than welcome to click on the face icon in someone's post and send them personal email (if they have included their email address in their bio) in any language you desire.

I'd also like to say that I know a few languages other than English myself, and I'm not trying to imply that anyone here is trying to say anything nasty. But this is a policy the sheriffs and moderators arrived at out of necessity. Thanks again.
 
Diana Ryan
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Translation:
"Brian and Michael, I too studied the Russian language
First Music, then Russian, then Computer Science.
Funny, isn't it?"
Sorry about that. I won't do it again. Will refrain from using German or French as well.
Russian is such a fun language, if any of you have Russian tongue twisters to share, I collect them. I have a few I can share too, of course.
~ Diana
 
rick juggler
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Hi,
I've been interested in Java and the Open Source Movement for just a short while now, ever since I discovered there was an alternative to MS. I think people who get into programming are at heart a bit independent, and the idea of a platform independent language appealed to me. I won't go into it, but my loyalties are NOT tied to Wintel and Mr. Gates.
When a friend approached me and asked if I was interested in starting a Java Users Group, I said 'Absolutely!'. Since he had access to a server, he was able to supply the group with the resources to write and test all the different aspects of Java (JSP's, applets, servlets, access to databases, etc.). We've ( the JUG) have only been meeting for a few months, every other week, but I'm learning new things every time.
If anyone is in the Lincoln, Ne. area and would like to come to our JUG, the details can be found at http://jug.javadelic.com.
Anyway, off to the Cattle Drive!!!
rick
[This message has been edited by rick juggler (edited April 07, 2001).]
[This message has been edited by rick juggler (edited April 07, 2001).]
 
Dianna McDonald
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Hi all!
Very interesting backgrounds and motivations I must say. My situation has been a journey to say the least, both educationally and geographically.
I finished my Arts Degree in Sociology in 1997 and quickly discovered that I had no marketable skills, as such. Computers and technology definately seemed the way to go, and I had developed a keen interest in it, so I completed an Information Technology program. It taught me the basics in networking and OOP programming in C++ and Visual Basic but very little Java( we only focused on applets actually). I had been very excited about the Java language because of the ways it could be implemented into web applications and the lack of depth in the Java course really bothered me. So I am trying to amend the situation.
I hail from Newfoundland Canada and moved all the way across the country to British Columbia, a beautiful province, to work as a web designer. Though I enjoyed it at first I found myself becoming bored, not enough action, so I am studying Java so that I might change my work role to programmer. Over the last 6 months I have been trying to learn Java in my spare time and have found it difficult. So hard to stay motivated after working 8-10 hours a day but I have resolved to get this done. I attended the Java University at Comdex a few weeks back and have the voucher for the exam, so I have until January to write the exam, I would like to write it sooner if possible.
Anyway, I have found this site extremely helpful, a friend of mine who has acheived the SCJP status actually recommended it as one of her favorites. I hope that I can stay motivated and I think that becoming an active member of these forums will help me tremendously.
Cheers All and Good Luck!
Di
 
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