Java Intro Course Topics

What can you expect with first year Intro to Java Programming Course at the University Level

I recall the first time I took a computer programming class in college. It was a rough time. At first, I seemed to do pretty good, but then for some reason (I think I was out one day for class) I kept falling behind and my grades suffered, I barely passed. Even to this day, I have terrible anxiety over computer programming homework assignments. Strangely enough, my first job involved learning some basic programming and from that point on, I caught on, and learned programming, but self-taught and at my own pace. The question is, what kind of knowledge do you need to have for a first year, intro level programming class especially if you are completely new to programming as i was back then?

Here are my suggestions what you need

  • how to accept user input and print out to the console, store it in arrays or variable, or save it to a file
  • get good with learning loops; differences in types of loops, situational application to different types of problems
  • become fluent in control statements, how to control the flow of the program
  • Two dimensional arrays; you will need to have an outside loop and within it, an inside loop
  • file operations, creating a file, storing data to it, reading it into your program
  • math processes especially involving modulus operator. Modulus operators are useful for extracting digits out of a number
  • Difference and hazards of using floating types vs integer number variables
  • Write a few basic programs on your own (not just the ‘hello world’ variety)
  • spend some time on learning how to format output, formatting strings etc
  • get good at sorting and manipulating data
  • Try out creating objects, procedures and functions; at some point you’ll need it.

Other tips for success

How to improve your success odds in taking a computer science programming class? Preparation is key.

  • Regulate yourself. Sleep, eat and exercise enough to stay sharp. Try to avoid staying up late at night, start working your assignments early when your mind is clear. Take frequent breaks and think about the problems while doing something else like walking outdoors or taking a shower. At these times, often solutions will come to you.
  • frequently you can run into problems if you do not completely understand all aspects of the programming assignment. Slow down. Don’t rush into programming your solution until after you completely understand what is expected.
  • Always start your assignments early and finish early, you don’t have time to be perfect on each assignment, make sure it works and pass it early so you can focus on the next challenge.
  • Deal with Technology issues before your class starts; you need to take time to set up your development environment software, test it out, and make sure it works well before your first class. Have a back-up plan. Store your source code so it is never lost and backed up. There are online sites that allow you to run your program and store them online. I suggest use a desktop and online solution; you can build a library of successful programs online that you can access any time.
  • It is helpful to be able to diagram the flow of your assignments.