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I'm a complete novice to programming. where do I start?  RSS feed

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I'm just starting out with programming.
I'm looking to java because I would love to get out of the unskilled seasonal labor market. i.e. landscaping, masonry, and my favorite, dishwashing. (which I TOTALLY HATE WITH THE WHITE HOT INTENSITY OF A THOUSAND SUPERNOVAS!!!)
Anyhow, I'm hoping someone here can recommend to me a book, website, etc, that can help someone like myself.
I would like to take the first certification exam Sun microsystems has in java. (is that developer or programmer?)
and then start working.
Ranch Hand
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API Documentation:
Thinking In Java by Bruce Eckel
Effective Java by Joshua Bloch
Design Patterns by Erich Gamma et al
Refactoring by Martin Fowler

If you're looking for a career I'm not sure certifications are the way to go. I think most companies are looking for a degree, but I may be wrong.
lowercase baba
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the programmer exam is the first one to take.

Many folks here swear by Head First Java, written by Bert Bates and Kathy Sierra. Kathy founded part of the Javaranch, and Bert is a moderator around these parts - they're both awesome folks, and their book really is excellent.

if you go to the bunkhouse, you'll find more book reccomendations.

then, start writing code. even if at first you're simply typing in what in the book, letter for letter, you'll make mistakes and have to figure out what went wrong.

then, you can start tweaking the code you are given, to make it do more stuff.

come here with questions. don't expect anyone here to write code for you, but you'll get more help than you could ever need if you are polite, and help people help you.
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Welcome to JavaRanch!

Beginning steps:
  • Bookmark the API Documentation.
  • Download and install the JDK (Java Development Kit).
  • Run a Hello World program.
  • If you have any problems with the above steps, post back here and someone will help you out. (If it's an installation issue, be sure to mention which operating system you're using.)

    If you're teaching yourself Java, your best resource is going to be a good introductory book, like Head First Java. There are some good free resources on the web (like the Java Tutorial that Ken linked to above), but buying a really good book will save you a lot of aggravation in the long run.
    [ March 23, 2006: Message edited by: marc weber ]
    Don't listen to Steve. Just read this tiny ad:
    The WEB SERVICES and JAX-RS Course
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