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Barry Burd

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since Jun 18, 2003
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Ph.D. in Math; M.S. in Computer Science; Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics at Drew University in Madison, NJ; Author of Java For Dummies, Java Programming for Android Developers for Dummies, and other books.
Madison, New Jersey, USA
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Recent posts by Barry Burd

Can you post screenshots so I can eyeball the symptoms? Thanks.
5 years ago
Sahil,
Do you have any ways to do any kind of networking? Are there people you can talk to who are connected with IT jobs? Have you spoken with anyone who hires out consultants? Doing things like this is really helpful.
5 years ago
Ray,
Sometimes it helps to just walk through existing loops and checking to make sure that you understand why they give the output that they give.
Here's a program with nested loops:



Make yourself a chart with columns labeled "i", "j" and "output" and step through each line of the program as it would be executed, asking yourself what the line does to the value of i or j, or to the output. Keep track in the chart of the updated values of these things. When you're done making the chart, run the program to find out if it gives you the output that you predicted. If it does, you understand something about nested loops. If it doesn't do what you predicted, ask yourself why the output that you predicted isn't really what the program does.
Ask me some follow-up questions if you have any.
5 years ago
Raghavan,
My book covers Java starting from scratch. It's accessible by people with no programming background, so I don't cover the latest features in Java 9. I cover JShell in Java 9, but not the new module system. (In fact, the module system was rejected by the committees yesterday, so it's not clear what will be happening with that.)
The book is not comprehensive. I emphasize learning to program using Java, and I don't try to cover every Java feature.
As for the project-based approach, the answer is mostly "no." The book has lots and lots of complete program examples, but I try to keep each program example short and easily digestible on its own. Above all, for each Java feature that I introduce, I try to show that feature in the context of a complete, runnable example (even if that example isn't the most practical example that you can find).
Does that answer your questions?
  --Barry
5 years ago
Mohammed, If you're almost ready to take the certification exam, my "Java For Dummies" book isn't for you. My book is for people who aren't already familiar with Java, and my book doesn't go into the kinds of details that you need for the certification exam.
Good luck on the exam!
5 years ago

Gail Jurczyk wrote:Barry, thank you so much for your quick reply! I had already purchased your Java 7th Edition direct from the publisher, Wiley. I appreciate the link to the second book and your encouraging words. I am absolutely working through your exercises.



Gail, If you have feedback about the exercises, I'd appreciate hearing it. This is the first time I've put exercises in one of my "For Dummies" books and I want to make sure that they're the right level of difficulty.
5 years ago
The two most popular IDEs are IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse (with IntelliJ IDEA gaining in popularity over Eclipse). The third most popular IDE is NetBeans. After that, there are IDEs that don't show up a lot on surveys. For example, BlueJ is good for Java education (with a particular emphasis on the object-oriented programming idea). You can also use no IDE at all. If you use Windows, you can compose code in Windows Notepad and type commands in the Command Prompt to compile and run programs. (I don't recommend doing this, but it's good to know that it's possible and that Java is not the same as a Java IDE.)
Beyond reading people's comments about IDEs, the best way to choose an IDE is to download a few of them and try them out. Once you become used to using a particular IDE, the clicks and keystrokes become part of your muscle memory so you hardly ever think about using it.
5 years ago
Glenn, What debugging techniques have you tried? What goes wrong when you try them?
5 years ago

Gowri Tatikonda wrote:I'm used to Modular programming. But yes - Object Oriented programming concepts and thought process is somewhat new to me.



What they call "modular programming" isn't the same as object-oriented programming. You might get something out of my book's discussion of OOP.
5 years ago
Gowri, You're the best judge of the level of book that's right for you. If you have experience writing code in other languages, my Java For Dummies book might not be for you. On the other hand, if you've never worked with object-oriented programming concepts, you might find the second half of the book to be very informative. Only you can say. Maybe there's a way you can preview a few parts of the book to get the feeling for it before you decide to immerse yourself in one book or another.
As for other resources, there are so many online that it's difficult to know where to start. If you poke around, you can find hundreds of them -- many of them very good.
5 years ago

Dana Ucaed wrote:Hello Barry,

I read that I have a chapter named : Ten ways to avoid mistakes.

Can you say what is expected to read in this chapter: design error, compiler error?

Thanks



Dana, That chapter is mostly compiler errors and logic (runtime errors).
5 years ago

Gail Jurczyk wrote:Welcome, Barry Burd.

I have failed Java the last 2 semesters I took it at my local community college and am signed up for a 3rd semester this coming fall. D: I am desperate! Forget winning your book, I am buying it right now and working through it this summer in the hope it will help me break through. Thank you for reaching out to those of us who are finding the language hard to grasp.



Gail,
My newest edition has exercises for you to work through. If you persist in trying them, you're bound to learn a lot. Above all, don't study by only re-reading the material. If you keep writing code, you keep improving your skill. You make a lot of mistakes and you learn from your mistakes. It works for you no matter what format the exams are.
 --Barry
5 years ago
I'll be looking into the Android Things API (https://developer.android.com/things/index.html) when I have a few minutes. It runs on a Raspberry Pi 3.
5 years ago
Bo,
I like Java because has a clear approach to object-oriented programming without making the developer worry about implementation details. Some people don't like the fact that Java is verbose, but I like it. I like the (somewhat wordy) structure that surrounds the fundamental ideas. As soon as Java was released, many colleges flocked to Java as a first language for reasons like this. Even more colleges adopted Java when it became the language of the ETS Advanced Placement exam in Computer Science. Java lets you see object-oriented programming principles in an orderly, well-thought-out fashion.
The other thing I really like about Java (not necessarily a first-language issue) is the strict rule about backward compatibility. New versions of Java almost never break legacy programs. I've written seven editions of Java For Dummies and, in all that time, only one of my examples stopped working from one release of Java to the next. (Between Java 5 and Java 6, one method in the java.util.Scanner class changed its behavior because of a bug fix.)
5 years ago

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:It varies by person; this isn't something I can answer. It depends on your background, learning speed and target.

The first step is to pick a book. Make sure you write lots of code. Try all the examples and make your own.

Also, think about the question of why should an employer hire you without experience. People typically use pet projects/volunteer projects/sharing code on github/certifications to get around this.



I agree with Jeanne. The advice that I always give is (1) Do as much coding as you can, and (2) Attend meetings of Java developers near where you live.
The idea here is that practicing coding is the best way (maybe the only way) to learn coding. Also, attending meetings makes you aware of the issues that developers face. You may not understand what the developers are talking about, but you always learn something. Sometimes, you learn what you should know but don't know, and that's a good thing.
5 years ago