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Just introducing myself - i think i'll be here pretty often  RSS feed

 
Nathan banks
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Hi people, i didn't see any kind of new user welcome forum, but i see myself searching for answers and posting questions specifically here, so I thought I'd say hi.  I'll probably be here very frequently for quite some time (hopefully! I really don't want to get discouraged!)  I am a knowledgeable computer user to a joe-shmoe or my 65 year old mom but I'm far from a pro and i don't have any programing experience.  I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands and am trying to be passionate about pursuing my dream of becoming a "capable" java programmer.  Ultimately I want to develop an app i have imagined for a couple of years.  I know that i have a LONG way to go before i can reach my goal, but I hope to be active here and look forward to this trip.
 
Paul Clapham
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All of our forums are user welcome forums... Welcome to the Ranch, Nathan!
 
Nathan banks
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Thanks Paul, happy to be here.  Just for the record, i actually work on a horse farm, so this whole cattle this is brand new too! 
 
Stephan van Hulst
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Welcome to CodeRanch Nathan, I hope you have a good time
 
Winston Gutkowski
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Nathan banks wrote:I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands and am trying to be passionate about pursuing my dream of becoming a "capable" java programmer.  Ultimately I want to develop an app i have imagined for a couple of years.  I know that i have a LONG way to go before i can reach my goal, but I hope to be active here and look forward to this trip.

So do we.

A few tips for you that may help:
1. Get a good beginners book, and follow it thoroughly - including doing all the exercises it suggests. One such book is this one, but there are others in our bunkhouse area, with reviews; and people here will be happy to tell you about their "favourites".
An alternative is the Java Tutorials, but you may find them a little dry to plough through on your own. They're very useful as a reference if you're having a bit of trouble with a particular topic though.

2. Remember that computers, no matter how smart they might seem, are basically stupid. They do exactly what they are told to do; so if a program you write doesn't work, it's almost certainly because YOU did something wrong (even if you can't see what it is). This means that accuracy is extremely important.
Specifically, Java is case-sensitive, so 'long' is not the same thing as 'Long', and 'doSomething' is not the same thing as 'DoSomething', and it makes all the difference between a program that works and one that gives you errors.

3. Asking questions is something of an art form in itself, and usually requires a bit of thought; so resist the urge to bash off a question the second you run into a problem. Most of the bods here are quite experienced, but we're not mind-readers, so try and include as much information as you can - including any code you've written. Oddly, enough, the thought you put into writing a clear and intelligent question may well point you to a solution - but if it doesn't, this page contains some great tips on how to ask questions properly.

4. Whenever you run into problems, STOP CODING.
Coding is fun, and when you first start out there's a tendency to want to dive straight into it, because when it works, it's great. But as soon as you get past the real basics, like "Hello World", you'll find that you need to think before you code, and code quality is directly proportional to the amount of thought you put into it.
Professional programmers spend about 20% of their time actually coding (and often less); the rest is spent thinking, analysing, drawing incomprehensible scribbles on bits of paper, and staring blankly off into space - so if you see someone doing that, don't assume they're slacking off.

Hope it helps - and welcome to the Ranch!

Winston
 
Nathan banks
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Thanks everyone for the warm welcome the great advice.

Winston Gutkowski wrote:
1. Get a good beginners book, and follow it thoroughly - including doing all the exercises it suggests.



I have started reading "Java: A Beginner's Guide, Sixth Edition 6th Edition" by Herbert Schildt.  So far I've completed the first 3 example programs, and I sure know what you mean when you talk about taking my time.  I am doing my best to supplement the book and the exercises with information from forums and such when I have had a question or two about "why is that?"  This is going to be slow and arduous, but i am starting to enjoy learning this already. 

I guess I never pursued it before because I didn't think I had the memory for it, or it would maybe just be above my head.  My younger brother, who works for IBM and has a degree in computer science (way smarter than me) gave me the motivation i needed when, kind of out of the blue, said he thinks I would be a great programmer.  I said i don't think i have the memory for it, and he said "That's what the internet is for!"  Him believing I could do it has given me the push I need.  I am going to pursue this quietly until I feel more confident in my ability, but I want to be able to thank him with my success!
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:. . . drawing incomprehensible scribbles on bits of paper, and staring blankly off into space . . .
I seem to spend about 99% of my time doing that

Welcome to the Ranch (again), and as your brother says, don't worry about memory. You can write all the Java® syntax you actually need to know on one sheet of paper, without ever writing on both sides at the same time. Only it will be all “incomprehensible scribbles”. You need a few resources, where you can find out about Java® programming. Start with these three: 1 2 3.
 
Daniel Cox
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Nathan banks wrote:I said i don't think i have the memory for it, and he said "That's what the internet is for!"

The information repository that is the internet makes the life of a programmer a lot easier. However, I think that the most important tool that a programmer has is a flair for logical thinking. Many programmers enjoy maths puzzles. If you are the kind of person who doesn't mind spending many hours staring at a small piece of code and figuring out ways to may it work better, then I think you'll do fine as a programmer. Some people get bored really quickly.
 
Nathan banks
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Campbell Ritchie wrote: Start with these three: 1 2 3.

Thats TOO funny.  I have seriously been to all three within the last 10-12 hours.  I have failed to define a search that will lead me to the answer of a question I have, but was reading through 2 for a little while during my hunt.  In truth, I have only "visited" 1.  It's a little intimidating!  I think its time I post my question.  It's probably best I start a new thread for it.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Visit link 1. Read what you need to read. Post a question about what you found, telling us how much you understood and how much you didn't. It takes time to learn your way around the API. You can also try this and see if you can find your way around it. (Nobody else can ‍)

I think this thread can be duplicate back into the Beginning forum. They are a friendly lot round there ... except the resident moderator.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Welcome Nathan. Have a cow for being the post that inspired a new users introductions forum.
 
Nathan banks
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Welcome Nathan. Have a cow for being the post that inspired a new users introductions forum.
Hey, Thanks!  My first cow!   The JavaRanch has already been very inspiring to me, so I'm glad to have any sort of meaningful impact here.
 
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