Are you Java ready?

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.
Alexander Graham Bell

My first experience programming was when I was in elementary school. My mother got us three boys for Christmas an Apple IIc. Where my younger brother began to find different games for it I took a different path. I got a book on AppleSoft BASIC. I began with some simple programs. Then one of my Math teachers offered us extra credit if we wrote some programs that did calculations. I think the extra credit was helpful so I took him up on that. Jumping in helped me learn a lot right away. If you want to learn to program I think you should review a few main things before getting started.

Programming Required

Learning programming can be a daunting task. Many will say it is difficult to do. I would disagree. The best advice is to start. Even if you have no experience the best idea is to take the first step. Java is a great language to start with. It is useful and there are many resources out there to help you. Start typing some code and run it. See what types of issues you run into. It will challenge you in many ways. Even if you don’t enjoy it you will have a better appreciation for those who do. I think it is helpful for Business Analysts, Scrum Masters, Quality Assurance, and Product Owners to learn to code. The basic understanding can help you develop empathy if you work with developers.

Computer Concepts

To begin working with Java or any programming language it helps to understand some basics of computers. Having these three terms defined can help you as you step into software development.

Input

We can get input from many things. For instance, the keyboard I am typing this on is a form of input. The mouse we use or perhaps your finger on your phone is input.

Output

Anytime you view a screen or read a report you are consuming output. The output is not always in a format for people to read. Many types of output from computers are consumed by other computers or systems.

Data

We live in the information age. Alexa can find data by just your voice. So you want to know the Giants game score? What time does play start? Data is in many places with our ever-present computers.

Programming Concepts

My wife works in the financial services industry. They have jargon that sounds like another language. I have learned enough to be conversant. Programming is a similar endeavor. We have concepts and jargon that we use to relate what we are doing. Let’s cover a few of the basics to help you get started.

Syntax

All languages have syntax that they use. Java has keywords that mean certain things. For instance, there is a “for” loop. It will go over a code snippet “for” each item in a list. The compiler is a lot like the strict English teacher you had in eighth grade. There is no mercy for typos.

Algorithms

This word sounds more imposing than it actually is. An algorithm is simply the steps we take to complete a process. In banking, there are steps to debit an account. We want to be careful to make it so no one is overdrawn. That will make some people angry!

Application

In our quest to be brief we have shortened applications to apps. We have them everywhere. On our mobile phones, our watch, and television. We recently switched to Youtube TV. It was easy on our LG Smart television. We just installed an app. Applications are just a collection of code that runs on a device.

This is a basic list to give you some context if you want to take the next step. Now you can learn some basic Java coding and syntax. You just need to install some things on your computer to get ready. Remember it is easy you got it! Learning can be challenging so keep going.

Originally published on MyITCareerCoach.com