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My New Plans (Am I Just Bad at Java Sequel)  RSS feed

 
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For those of you that saw my Java Rant post (Am I Just Bad at Java?)
Here is a sort of update to my new endeavors, which of course can use advice.

Also, if I'm in the wrong forum, please redirect this post to the correct one.

Also also, I'm on a smart phone so while I would like to link my first topic just so people can have an easy link to look back to, I'm afraid I cant on my Android. Sorry about that.
[added link to first topic for Graham -Jeanne]


Anyways, I know a lot of you on my old post gave me lots of encouraging and knowledgeable posts regarding my Java 1 class, and I also know a lot of you told me not to give up and keep at it, which I greatly appreciate from all of you here at Java Ranch.


Unfortunately, I just cannot seem to keep up with the class for a grade. Like I said in my first thread, I would never give up out of frustration, but out of the fact that as a student I wouldn't be able to continue on due to a non-passing grade. And unfortunately I don't think I'm going to pass.


It is still early, sure, but on the other hand I do not want to wait too long to drop the course for fear that I'll pass the deadline for dropping a class (Its a deadline of 10 weeks into a class to withdraw, and I'm in about my 7th week).

However, many variables are applied to this situation. I cannot go under 12 credits, and I currently have 14 credits this fall semester. However, my Java class is 4 credits, so if I drop the class I will be at 10 credits, which obviously wouldn't work.

So whether or not I can drop the course, I will still need to wait a semester to start Visual Basic 1 for the major I plan to switch over to, Digital Forensics.

I know what Digital Forensics is in a real life definition, but can anyone here tell me what its like from a computer user definition?
Just like someone can describe Java in a general perspective and a programmer perspective, what should I expect from Visual Basic?

I'm told from many of my friends that if I already know some Java material, I should be fine in Visual Basic. Is that true?

Will I just run into the same frustration and bad grades I met in my Java class? I hear the professor is much better than my current Java professor. Digital Forensics is the only other computer major at my campus, so I obviously really want to make it work out. If I can't do this, then I will probably pick up a non-computer degree, which is alright, Im sure I can find something else that fits my interests, I just really enjoy computers and working/spending time on them, its like my life. So if anyone has any Digital Forensics experience, or Visual Basic, please inform me.


As for Java, I don't think I'm finished with it. I'll still continue to code and create programs for fun and as a side hobby, because as a student you need to work towards your interests for a grade, but as a hobby you can work at as slow a pace as you like.

And who knows? A university is not a lifelong boundary. Maybe some day I will become fluent in the language and get a job somewhere using it. Or maybe I will have enough time/money to go back and take more Java courses for a form of a degree. The future holds no bounds for improvement.


I appreciate all the help I've been given here, and I hope to continue to receive it from all of you.
 
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Hello Graham

Having read your first post and now your decision to drop the Java 1 course and go for VB in Digital Forensic?

Anyway you know what forensic is right? It's like getting evidence at those crime scenes you see on TV and stuff. But the only difference is that those are tangible. Digital forensics is like the crime scene is on the web (computer) like when a website is hacked. I believe forensics in the computer world goes hand in hand with security (which has its own little world: network security, server security, application security etc).

Looking at the programming choice, in my opinion, Java is more practical than VB, yet I heard VB is a really really simple language to learn back in the days anyway.

Regarding your credit situation, if you drop then you will be a part-time student! Yet how many courses are you taking? 4?

Good luck with the rest of the semester.
 
Graham Wolk
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Yes, I know it will be dealing with crime and justice computer work. Like I said in my post, I know what it is from a real world perspective, I'm still not entirely sure what it is from a computer perspective though. What exactly is Visual Basic? I understand that Digital Forensics deals with a lot of retrieval of data and history, which I think would be interesting to learn.

I know this is an out of place website to be asking this, since this is a forum specifically for Java, but has anyone had any experience with this?
 
Graham Wolk
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Oh and to answer your question, I'm taking 5 courses.

Yes, it is quite a drag what my credit situation is. Java is a whopping 4 credits, which is ironically the one class I want to drop.
 
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Hm, I wouldn't have thought that computer forensics involves any programming language, much less one particular one. Maybe some scripts or basic programming in a high level language for extracting information from a mountain of data/files you're looking at, but the language used for that shouldn't matter.
 
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Graham Wolk wrote:Yes, I know it will be dealing with crime and justice computer work. Like I said in my post, I know what it is from a real world perspective, I'm still not entirely sure what it is from a computer perspective though. What exactly is Visual Basic? I understand that Digital Forensics deals with a lot of retrieval of data and history, which I think would be interesting to learn.

I know this is an out of place website to be asking this, since this is a forum specifically for Java, but has anyone had any experience with this?




Visual Basic is another programming language just as Java, C++, Python, etc. are programming languages.

I'm not trying to sound mean but if you can't make it through an intro Java class, VB will be no easy task either as most intro programming classes usually involve most of the same base knowledge with different syntax and quirks for the language.

On top of that from what I understand, digital forensics will also involving coding. One may not be writing code but will be looking at it and needing to understand it. This field also will involve a lot of database interaction which will most likely mean that one will need to understand SQL, which is another type of programming language strictly used for database interaction.
 
Raymond Gillespie
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Graham Wolk wrote:Oh and to answer your question, I'm taking 5 courses.

Yes, it is quite a drag what my credit situation is. Java is a whopping 4 credits, which is ironically the one class I want to drop.



How are you taking five classes at only 14 credits when one of them is 4 credits? Are you taking a one credit class?
 
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Graham,
I've moved this post to Jobs Discussion. (Beginning Java is only for technical questions.) I also edited your first post to include the link you wanted to post.

As context, I looked online for a college that offers a Digital Forensics major. I found this one. My idea was to see how programming fits in. Based on that list, I can think of three reasons they want you to know how to program:
1) So you can write parsing logic (as Ulf said)
2) So you can READ code
3) So you can talk to developers when there are problems. I work for a bank and talk to our security team regularly. It helps that they know basics so we can have technical conversations.

Since your new major presumably only has one programming class, at least you won't get to the harder programming concepts. But you will need to master what is covered in an intro class. If you have a break between this semester and the next one, I recommend you get an intro to Visual Basic book and practice. That will give you a head start so the other intro to programming class isn't as overwhelming.
 
K. Tsang
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
As context, I looked online for a college that offers a Digital Forensics major. I found this one.



Is it a coincidence that the link mentioned Java OR VB as a required course? And from the course code, the Java is from CS major and VB from computer technology major.
 
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Graham Wolk wrote:Yes, I know it will be dealing with crime and justice computer work. Like I said in my post, I know what it is from a real world perspective, I'm still not entirely sure what it is from a computer perspective though.


And there, I suspect, will be your rub. You will still be dealing with computers, and computer languages; just on a different basis.

I'm also not sure that VB is the answer, because it's just another computer language - and one that's in far less demand than Java is. And arguably less powerful too (please don't flame, VB-philes ).

I think that you really need to get a handle on WHAT it is that you don't (or can't) do when it comes to learning this type of course before you take your next step, because simply saying "Java was a bust; let's try VB" is almost certainly (IMO) NOT the answer.

It's clear that you're under artificial "credits" pressure to make a decision, which is unfortunate; but ask yourself this: What if you have exactly the same problems with a VB course as you did with your Java one? Where will you be in six months' time?

Perhaps it's time to take a new tack altogether, and forget about computing for the moment. What about something else, like pure Maths? Or Art? Or History? Or a real language?

Your pinch right now would seem to be credits, so my advice would be to pick a course that you WILL be able to do - and stick to. That's not to say that you can't pick up computing at a later date, when you're not so stressed. I know a lot of pretty successful programmers that didn't start until they were "out of school".

Programming may not be for you at the moment. But that doesn't mean it never will be.

HIH

Winston
 
Raymond Gillespie
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:
Perhaps it's time to take a new tack altogether, and forget about computing for the moment. What about something else, like pure Maths? Or Art? Or History? Or a real language?



Unless he doesn't want to be employed after school, I wouldn't suggest any of these fields.
 
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Graham Wolk wrote:Unfortunately, I just cannot seem to keep up with the class for a grade. Like I said in my first thread, I would never give up out of frustration, but out of the fact that as a student I wouldn't be able to continue on due to a non-passing grade. And unfortunately I don't think I'm going to pass.



Yeah, well, to tell you the truth, I remember my first classes in C programming. There were a few guys there who were real computer people. They have had a computer since they were 11. They failed the first three programming tests and never returned to school. Other guys like me, did not know how to format a floppy disk at the beginning of the course, but did pass the programming tests easily. Programming is something else than liking computers. Unfortunately. (Coming from a computer programmer that does not even like computers that much, but that is also a problem for me.) You have to have some talent to abstract problems. You either have that, or you don't. Sorry if I encourage you, but I cannot lie to you.

Graham Wolk wrote:I'm told from many of my friends that if I already know some Java material, I should be fine in Visual Basic. Is that true?



Not really. Programming is programming. Visual Basic hides some details perhaps, but you still have to have the same talent. Math talent, abstraction talent, exact science talent. Stuff that in my opinion just got from your moms and dads DNA at conception or you dont.
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Raymond Gillespie wrote:Unless he doesn't want to be employed after school, I wouldn't suggest any of these fields.


Hmm. I suspect that having a degree will be rather better than not having one. One of the best programmers I know got his in Soil Science. And anyway, it sounds like Graham's pressure right now is for credits, not a job.

Winston
 
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Well, VB might be useful for the course you're looking at, but it's nowhere near as marketable/useful as Java. As the others have said, if you can't manage the Java course, you're probably going to struggle with a VB course at a similar standard as well. Maybe consider Winston's advice and look for a course that you can stick at and actually pass, which will remove the grade pressure at least. In the meantime, you could look at some gentler routes into programming in your spare time.

FWIW I would highly recommend Python as a starting point e.g. via free online courses such as Coursera's popular Programming for Everybody which just started again this week. Python is much easier to get started with than Java, but it's still object-oriented and it's very widely used for all kinds of applications from ad hoc scripting to full-blown systems development. Or pick up a book like Head First Python and work through it at your own speed. If you feel comfortable coding in Python, you will be able to re-apply all the same skills in Java (or VB if you really must), and you will have a useful tool in your kit for ad hoc coding in future. If you just can't get the hang of programming, then at least it hasn't cost you anything financially or academically.
 
Raymond Gillespie
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It sounds like you are quite interested in being in the technology field so I would suggest looking into something along the lines of a software information system or management information systems degree. You will most likely still be required to take some type of introductory programming course but that is about as far as it will go. Most degrees like these are heavy in things like project management, software requirements, and technical writing.

If you can't manage to get a grasp on programming, remember there are dozens of jobs within technology in which one never has to program.
 
Winston Gutkowski
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chris webster wrote:FWIW I would highly recommend Python as a starting point...


Funny, I've heard that a quite a bit; although I have to admit not knowing Python at all. Can you put your finger on any reasons why that's the case?

You've got me interested now...

Winston
 
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For a first quick impression, I would say: type in your webbrowser 'codeskulptor', and when that
page is loaded, click the 'Docs' tab at the upper, slightly right.
You wouldn't believe how short it is what you see there! Far less daunting than looking
at the Oracle API.

Greetz,
Piet
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Piet Souris wrote:For a first quick impression, I would say: type in your webbrowser 'codeskulptor', and when that
page is loaded, click the 'Docs' tab at the upper, slightly right.
You wouldn't believe how short it is what you see there! Far less daunting than looking
at the Oracle API.


Righto. Cheers Piet.

Winston
 
Raymond Gillespie
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:

chris webster wrote:FWIW I would highly recommend Python as a starting point...


Funny, I've heard that a quite a bit; although I have to admit not knowing Python at all. Can you put your finger on any reasons why that's the case?

You've got me interested now...

Winston




Learning curve isn't so steep
Requires very little boilerplate
Easy to use tools to get one started and work with python
Dynamic typing

The above reasons seems to be popular answers but for myself taking it as an intro programming class in college I can now see why. First off, it is easy to get started writing code without the need to understand a lot about functions, declarations, etc. There is no big IDE that ones needs to learn how to use before getting started.

I think it can help one get a basic understanding of programming without all the overhead.
 
chris webster
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:

chris webster wrote:FWIW I would highly recommend Python as a starting point...


Funny, I've heard that a quite a bit..


Probably from me!

In addition to the reasons Raymond mentions, there are lots of great free learning materials at all levels for people to learn/improve Python - some of them are listed on this post.

I've been encouraging some of my non-programmer data analyst colleagues to pick up some Python and they seem to be finding it useful and fun. If I'd suggested Java, they'd probably have given up after spending a week trying to get past "Hello world"!
 
Winston Gutkowski
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chris webster wrote:Probably from me!
...
I've been encouraging some of my non-programmer data analyst colleagues to pick up some Python and they seem to be finding it useful and fun. If I'd suggested Java, they'd probably have given up after spending a week trying to get past "Hello world"!


Well, as an old data analyst, that interests me even more. I actually went through the Wiki page, and I have to admit it intrigues me. I was also an admin for many years, and so regard myself as "expert" at shell scripting (shkshbash) as I am at anything. So I like the idea of an interactive environment.

I suspect this "ducktyping" will take a bit of getting used to, though.

Winston
 
chris webster
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:So I like the idea of an interactive environment


Then you should also check out IPython Notebook - it allows you to mix live code, text, generate graphics etc in a browser.
 
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