It is the way the human brain works. Whatever we do, our brain is constantly looking for more effective solutions and shortcuts that would allow us to do the same thing quicker, better, and in a more convenient way than before.
So rest easy, if you are wondering if there are any tips and tricks to learn Java quicker and easier, it is perfectly natural for you to do so.
We are not sure about “tricks”, but there are certainly some ways to maximize the efficiency of this process, which would allow you to end up learning Java as quickly as it is realistically possible. Of course, different things will work for different kinds of people, but some tips and recommendations definitely can and will make your life as a Java learner considerably easier.
Here’s a number of the most applicable and proven to be effective tips and suggestions about learning Java quickly, based on our own experience at CodeGym and from a number of experienced Java developers.
1. Find an exciting project that you can build with Java
Here’s a nice starting tip
from Brian Knapp, an experienced programmer and the author Code Career Genius blog: “When I was a senior in high school back in 2002 I decided to learn Java. I got myself a copy of Teach Yourself Java in 21 days to figure out the basics and how it was different than C/C++. The book was helpful, but I chewed through it in a week or two. And then I did something that made a huge difference. I decided to make something cool with Java! I got really excited about making my own Final Fantasy style RPG game using Java 2D. For the next month, every single afternoon and evening I was obsessively hacking away on that project. Along the way I figured out how to output graphics to the screen, animate sprites, output and move a tile map on the screen, collision detection, music, sound effects, and I even built my own tile map editor using Java Swing! The key point for me was being excited about building something. I had a project that I had such good energy about, and Java was an exciting technology to make everything possible!”
Brian is certainly right. Finding something fun and exciting that you want to build with Java is a great way to motivate yourself to learn the language in a quick and fun way. Actually, this is one of the things we were having in mind when designing the CodeGym course. That's why we have a storyline, connecting parts of the course together, and various tasks designed to get excited about applying Java to learn how you can use this language to create something you like.
2. Practice as much as possible
“Practice makes all the difference. I was able to become an expert Java tutor because of constant, repeated practice. Certainly, this is the key to the success of professional programmers. You’re just going to have to code it!” — says
John Selawsky, a senior Java developer and Java tutor.
And we couldn’t agree more! We keep saying this from the very beginning: in learning how to code, practice makes all the difference. We have built the whole CodeGym’s course structure around this practice-first approach, in fact. This is one of the main reasons many of our students are able to find themselves a first coding job before they even finish the last level of the course. When learning Java at CodeGym, most of what you do will be practicing. So we kind of took care of this one for you already. Just don’t forget to practice if you decide to take some way of learning Java other than CodeGym.
3. Study regularly and don’t take long breaks
Another important tip that we can share based on our own observations and the experience of our former students. Studying regularly and continuously, without taking long breaks (preferably without a break longer than one day) is an important success factor. Experience shows us that people who tend to take long and numerous breaks normally progress really slow and more often end up quitting the course without succeeding.
So we would definitely recommend, as much as you can, to stick to learning Java on a regular basis as taking breaks for the most people results in the need to “refresh” the memory when they are getting back to it, or even learn it all over again, as your brain tends to forget the new knowledge real quick, especially if this knowledge is not supported by an appropriate amount of practical experience.
4. Collaborate with other beginners and fresh learners
Collaboration with other fresh learners to combine the efforts and support each other is another little trick of successful Java self-learners. This approach is effective because of the way our brain works: the best way to learn something for it is to teach it to other people. That’s why collaborating with others and helping less experienced learners works so well.
Of course, we have always known how important the community and collaboration is. That’s why we have the Help section
on our website, where CodeGym students can ask for help, and get it from fellow learners or Codegym’s own Java experts.
5. Keep your learning sessions long enough (longer than 1 hour a day)
As many experienced programmers will tell you, learning Java for one hour every day may not be the most effective strategy. For most people, one hour just won’t be enough as the actual time you spend coding would be somewhere around 20-30 minutes.
Here’s what Reinder de Vries, an experienced developer and founder of LaernAppMaking.com website, has to share
about this: “Just learning one hour a day (no matter how many days in a row) is bad for the retention of what's learned, and will harm your learning ability. Do you have the option to learn 2 or 3 hours a day, perhaps in smaller intervals? When you learn programming for one hour, the actual time you spend writing code can be as little as 20 minutes. Aside from programming you do a lot of other things: reading, looking up references, staring at the screen, trying to put together Google search queries, and, of course, checking Facebook or WhatsApp and other interruptions. When learning, your mind needs to "warm up" (just like working out) and cool down, processing the new information. Switching tasks and context takes up attention, and especially for programming it takes time and effort to "zone out."
One general thing to add here is: don’t waste time and, as much as you can, focus on achieving something faster (you don’t have all the time in the world!), be it learning how to code in Java or something else. Here’s a good motivational recommendation
from Hagar Qim, an experienced Java developer: “Don’t dally. Economies change. The IT world changed a lot over the years, but one thing is still the same: when a weak economy forces companies to cut costs, projects will be postponed or even outright canceled. When projects disappear, jobs disappear. Eventually, the economy pendulum always swings back, but that might take years. So ride the tides of a still booming economy to get that good start.” Well said.
6. Don’t set the bar too low
Another good general tip is not to place the bar too low for yourself when it comes to learning how to code, which is what many beginners typically do. For example, it is typical for people to think they are too old to learn a new skill, especially if it is “as complex as programming.” Even people in their late 20-s or early 30-s often think they might be “too old for this shit.” Of course, in most cases being too old is just an excuse you come up with to allow yourself to quit, often before you even started.
Here’s what Brian Lim, an experienced Java coder, has to say
7. Bonus tip: sing your code
And to conclude, here’s an additional nice and unusual bonus tip from Reinder de Vries, who recommends you to sing your code (that’s something new!) as a way to trick your mind out of being bored.
“Did you ever try singing your programming code? I mean, it sounds silly, but it works. The mind gets boring when you do the same thing all the time, and it learns way less if you use one learning method. Reading all the time, only watching videos, only writing on a keyboard is not an optimal way to learn. Instead, try writing down code with pen and paper, or draw a programming concept using a fine-liner and a bigger pencil, or... sing your code!” recommends Reinder.