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Felix Black
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First of all hi, its a pleasure to be here.

For a long time I didnt really know what I wanted to do with my life, I finished University, floated around, bouncing from job to job, with no real aim or intention.

About 18 months ago I woke up one sunday morning, and decided that I wanted to (finally) learn to program, I'd allways had an affinity for computers, maths and Science.

So, over the course of the last year and a half I have taught myself to code W3c Compliant Xhtml Strict 1.0, CSS, Php & Mysql with a sprinkle of flash and javascript thrown in.

I enjoy web development, but, what i really want to do is forge a career in software development.

And so I have arrived at Java.

I want to work in software development, its all I want to do ... and the number of times I've looked back and thought "If only i'd started earlier" or "if only i'd really thought about what university degree to do" ... then maybe I'd allready be doing what I want to.

But, I am where I am .... and I know that if i'm serious about making this work, I have a long, steep and probably very fun and exciting journey ahead of me.

I believe its important to have a long term project and so I've decided to try and build a Small business Stock Control System... goods in.. goods out, locations, prices, a few reports etc etc ... as a long term goal, to help me learn.

I am sorry for the long post, and so I shall get to the point;

I'm thinking of working towards the Java certifications as a method for structuring my learning, starting with the SCJA .... I suppose my first question, in this rather long winded life story of a post, is... Is it worth it?

Is gaining these qualifications actually going to help me get a job one day? ... I know it says it will on the Sun site, but they're the ones making the money, and I always like to get an independant opinion.

So, am I on the right track taking this approach, and when read paying over my �150 and getting the first of these certifications? ..... or not?

Of course id would love to hear any advice you guys can give to a determined... yet inexperianced Java Baby

Thankyou guys for any help now, or in the coming weeks, months, years ....
 
marc weber
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Originally posted by Felix Black:
...I'm thinking of working towards the Java certifications as a method for structuring my learning, starting with the SCJA .... I suppose my first question, in this rather long winded life story of a post, is... Is it worth it? ...

Welcome to JavaRanch!

Preparing for the SCJP exam is an excellent way to learn Java. Different employers will place different weight on the certification, but the real benefit is in what you learn while preparing, and the confidence you will get by passing.
 
Bert Bates
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I think your path is a good one, the only suggestion I'd make is to learn basic Java and then start studying for the SCJP. The SCJA isn't really intended for people who want to be programmers. The SCJA is more geared towards people who will work with programmers and who want some understanding of Java.

Good luck, and don't be shy about asking questions, everyone benefits when you ask good questions.

hth,

Bert
 
Felix Black
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thank you chaps ... I can see this forums reputation is well earned

I'll do as you suggest and look towards the SCJP instead.

As far as basic java goes, im getting to grips with the whole OOP thing, which is something I didnt play with in php, aside from that concept, the basic syntax doesnt seem to be a major problem for me.

If im honest, im having more problems figuring out the compilation process, and whether i'm better using JCreator, or notepad and c:\javac myproject.java ...

I can create multi class projects in JCreator... well I made an enum project that used two files.

But I cant see how this would work at the cmd prompt?
 
Felix Black
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update :

I just ran my enum program from cmd ... and it worked !!!

i compiled my twi .java files ... then ran the main class ... and everythign went fine.

Now im really confused.... how the hell did it know where to look for the enum ?

This java stuff is magic !!
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Welcome to the Ranch.

I used to use JCreator and command prompt all the time when I used Windows. You open a file using JCreator, use the "save" or "save all" buttons, then go to the command line and use "javac . . . java."

If you have two classes in the same folder (as obviously for your enum example) the Java compiler and JVM have no difficulty finding them. If they are in different packages you use "import" statements to tell the compiler where to find other classes, and if they are in different folders you may have to use the -cp options for execution. But -cp is all in the future for you

This is a link to the index for all the Java documentation.
 
colin shuker
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Hi there, welcome to the ranch,
Your situation is the same as mine, didn't do anything after uni,
except crappy jobs, and finally realised there is no job that I would really like to do except for programming.

I did maths at uni, and have always like programming, but wasn't skilled in it.
So I took a java course and did the SCJP exam, then the SCWCD exam after that.

I don't know much about the SCJA exam, but I wouldn't bother with it for now, there aren't many programming questions, I would definatley do the SJCP exam, its fairly hard, but you only need 52% I think to pass.

Some of the questions are tough, but most of them are about loops and conditionals and fundamental language questions.

If you did fail it, you probably wouldn't fail by much, and you can always take it again.

Also, I recommend you get Eclipse, its a great IDE, perhaps the best free one, it virtually writes code for you, and it does unit testing too.

Good luck!
 
Brian Smith
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I would have to disagree with the previous poster about Eclipse, while it (as well as Netbeans, JDeveloper, IDEA, etc) are great pieces of software don't get me wrong, but if you are serious about learning the Java language and core APIs I would stick to something simple like TextPad or something that does not write code for you. Just a simple text editor with syntax highlighting. All the bells and whistles of a full IDE will just gum up the works for now in terms of learning and getting comfortable with Java.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Agree with Brian Smith. But the nearest I have found to a text editor with syntax highlighting on Windows is JCreatorLE used as I said.

Now, when not using Windows, that's a different story
 
John Dell'Oso
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Another alternative editor for Windows - the Crimson Editor:

Crimson Editor

Cheers,
JD
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Only last week I heard about Notepad2 (probably nothing to do with its un-numbered namesake) available here, and probably many other places. I have never tried it.
 
Shannon Bender
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I have used notepad 2 in school for several programming classes.. It is lightweight and portable. I have been very happy with it. Might be worth looking in to...
 
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