Introduction to Java

Week one was a prep week, but I felt like we jumped right in without much fanfare. As housekeeping, we reviewed the syllabus and posted to the “Getting to Know You” forum, and we learned about and installed the JDK (Java Development Kit). Then we read and were quizzed about the text of “Intro to Java,” which included writing, compiling, and running a simple program as demonstrated.

I’m mostly unfamiliar with Java, knowing only that some programs I and my kids use (like MineCraft!) are written in Java. I’ve been anxious to learn it for a while, but I’m realizing there are concepts in Java and object oriented programming in general that I’ve not had to deal with so far in my career and education. I learned and enjoyed JavaScript last semester and did very well in CIT 160, but Java is a more complex language, partly due to its strict type syntax and because it appears (at least to me) to be designed for building desktop applications (I’m not familiar with the back-end web development application of Java yet).

That’s all well and good, and I’m incredibly excited about becoming proficient with Java, but I realize it will be a significant learning curve and that I’ll have to take major ownership of my learning this semester in order to do well.

I didn’t have any significant problems with what we covered this week, but I know more difficult assignments are coming as we dig deeper. I was able to complete my individual assignment by simply using the program from the reading as a template and changing a few things. I did have some syntax errors when compiling, but it was easy to identify and fix them. These were mostly related to leaving off semicolons after a statement or not using the correct type when assigning variables (something that was never an issue in JavaScript).

For me, the most engaging part of programming is actually putting the program together and seeing it run smoothly for the first time. I get a little thrill when it works, and when it doesn’t it’s kind of fun to sleuth through the bugs and figure out how to fix them. Seeing something I’ve created actually work as intended is immensely satisfying for me.