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How to stay Interested

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So I decided to get serious about learning programming, and I bought a book, "Java Programming For Dummies" by Barry Burd. I have no problem understanding it, but I can't seem to stay interested. I'll read a couple chapters covering the basics, but then I'll put it down and forget everything, only to pick it up again a few days later and re-read everything. I'm stuck in a rut, does anyone have any tips for this newb?

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Start writing code. And try to come up with new things to do with the ideas you just read about, extending what is in the book. That will also help with memory.

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Alright, thanks for the tip. Would you recommend I look for websites with basic problems or such, that I can use as practice?

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That's also a good idea. I would do exercises that require basically everything you've learned so far, and a little bit more (like one chapter more) to keep you motivated each time you do them. It's also really fun to make up your own programming exercises also, based on what you've learned. Exercises you make up yourself can be very challenging and give you good practice, because certain parts of your idea require a little bit more learning to get it done. Anything's good, as long as you practice.

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I'm stuck in a rut, does anyone have any tips for this newb?


Have you written and compiled a single line of code yet?

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ya I agree with the other poster, start writing code.

In fact, come up with a really really REALLY R-E-A-L-L-Y simply idea that you actually *want* to code.

Like say, a text based small question and answer game that would be funny to you and your friends.

The best way to get motivated is to have someone go: "Whoa, cool man!" about something YOU made.

Good luck.

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Also, make sure whatever you come up with, STICK WITH IT. If there's a design flaw or it's peppered with a zillion bugs, don't get frustrated and quit, fix it! It'll help you learn better programming and design techniques along the way.

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Mini games is always a good starting exercise for beginners,
just write what you want to write, and you can improve your skill soon.

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Quote:
Original post by Toast-99
So I decided to get serious about learning programming, ... but I can't seem to stay interested. ... does anyone have any tips for this newb?

Take up something else. Seriously. If you can't stay interested, it's not right for you. I know I'll get hate mail for this. Go ahead, flame away. We don't need guys joining our industry who need us to keep pushing them to stay motivated.

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Original post by Tom Sloper
Quote:
Original post by Toast-99
So I decided to get serious about learning programming, ... but I can't seem to stay interested. ... does anyone have any tips for this newb?

Take up something else. Seriously. If you can't stay interested, it's not right for you. I know I'll get hate mail for this. Go ahead, flame away. We don't need guys joining our industry who need us to keep pushing them to stay motivated.


He didn't ask to join the industry. Give him a chance to pick up some momentum before you tell him to go do something else. Initial motivation is not everything.

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Original post by Tom Sloper
Take up something else. We don't need guys joining our industry who need us to keep pushing them to stay motivated.
Tom, are you saying that you've never experienced the slightest loss of motivation due to a steep learning-curve? I think you're being a bit harsh... [edit] especially seeing as you're not a programmer, are you? (sorry, that was my best effort at adding flames to my comment :P )

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Original post by Tom Sloper
Quote:
Original post by Toast-99
So I decided to get serious about learning programming, ... but I can't seem to stay interested. ... does anyone have any tips for this newb?

Take up something else. Seriously. If you can't stay interested, it's not right for you. I know I'll get hate mail for this. Go ahead, flame away. We don't need guys joining our industry who need us to keep pushing them to stay motivated.

I have to agree especially since "Java for Dummies" is one of the easier Java book's I've come across.
If you don't find making an image viewer program, chess game, pong or other sample java programs that are in the book exciting or fun or don't have another program in mind then there is no point!
The entire point of programming AFAIC anyways is to make your own program/game that doesn't already exists. Yeah, you'll see alot of programmers reinventing the wheel but in most cases that's just to get practice as in my case or they don't know any better as I have seen quite a few of those programmers around here too.
There's alot of other areas you can be spending your time on as far as computers go if you don't like programming:
Photoshop for instance is pretty fun and some people spend their entire lives just working with that program
3DMax or any other animation video program
etc.
I know a musician for instance who brings me his computer all the time to fix it since all he uses it for is to record tracks from his keyboard via midi and does stuff with his music software that I'd never be able to do since I'd never spend any time trying to learn it since I'm not a musician in the first place. It still amazes me but I also amaze him everytime I fix his computer for him-LOL!

Anyways, if it's meant to be you'll come back to programming as I have time and time again if it's meant to be no matter what anyone tells you and you won't need any motivation to do so.

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I think anyone saying that he should quit because he doesn't feel motivated is being pretty harsh. I mean, if you're an absolute beginner, there's no doubt you're going to feel frustrated and unmotivated at times. The point is that if you're serious and you push yourself to learn, no matter how frustrating it gets, you pretty much got what it takes. At least finish the book and, if you still don't like it, THEN think about if programming is right for you.

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I would actually target the book to blame. I don't know much about Java, but I doubt that any well-respected author in the Java community would publish anything under the "for dummies" series. Seriously, if you want to learn correctly, you'll seek out good resources that will teach you how to do things correctly. Learning from a real resource will actually teach you things in a competent way, and will help keep you interested in learning more about the subject.

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Original post by Toast-99
Would you recommend I look for websites with basic problems or such, that I can use as practice?


Shameless plug.

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I have to disagree with anyone saying "Give up its not for you" thats just bad advice for a beginner.

I've been programming for years on and off as a hobby using Assembly, C, C++, Visual Basic, very little Java and everyone goes through being unmotivated especially in the beginning because it looks like a TON to learn before you get to do anything cool like games.

I finally decided to clamp down and actually learn more then just the basics in programming and when I was going through the basics again with the latest language I've been learning I was terribly bored. I trudged through a few books and then started learning a graphics API. This is where things got fun for me. Granted there are still days (like today) where I have no desire to program but then there are days where I do it all day.

Here's what I would say to do:

First, find out what interests you in programming. Is it making games? If so download a game builder to play with, do some programming, play around with the game builder, you will soon start to see how the two relate and things get more interesting.

Second, even though some "For Dummies" books are decent I like to learn from college text books instead. I think they are better written in general and offer more exercises and cover more topics, although they are much more expensive.

Third, maybe try a language like Python that seems to be geared more towards game programming (I could be wrong but anything I've read on python talks about games). I have no experience other then reading about it but it comes highly recommended from a lot of people.

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Agreed. Don't read about painting, start doing it. You'll probably make a big mess on the canvas at first, but it's so much fun.

And if you're still having a tough time keeping yourself interested after a couple 'games', maybe, just maybe you'll need to considder a different hobby afterall.

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You know, another way to stay motivated is to look at programming from a different perspective. Do you like building things? Think of programming as trying to build something. When you design, you are being an architect. Once the design is done, you start building. If you like art, programming is like an art, too. All the possible things you can program are only limited by your imagination. If 30 years from now you decide you don't want to make games, you can make anything else you want. Most of the skills used to make games are used in many other applications as well.

Also, I agree that the book is to blame. Like Chrono said, it's better to probably get a text book because it covers more detail and it has more programming exercises. It may not be the most fun to read, and you'll probably still feel unmotivated at times, but at least you'll learn more about the language.

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Quote:
Original post by RDragon1
I would actually target the book to blame. I don't know much about Java, but I doubt that any well-respected author in the Java community would publish anything under the "for dummies" series. Seriously, if you want to learn correctly, you'll seek out good resources that will teach you how to do things correctly. Learning from a real resource will actually teach you things in a competent way, and will help keep you interested in learning more about the subject.


Don't be fooled by the title. Many "For Dummies" books are very well written, and do a good job of teaching. I think they work to find good authors to write their books. In short, they are a "real resource", as much as any other book.

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I did enjoy the C for dummies series and the game programming in C book. I hated the C++ for dummies but like others have stated, its good to get a variety of books. There are books I have that come highly recommended that I wouldn't recommend to anyone for learning purposes. It varys person to person.

To the OP, it may be easier to set mini goals for yourself. Right now I set a goal of one LazyFoo tutorial per day, maybe do half a chapter of a book per day, it may seem like trudging at first but I notice that once most people get to classes they start to have a lot of fun with programming because you really start to see the possibilities.

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