Looking for opinion on programming course

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by theimp, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. theimp macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2006
    Ithaca, NY
    Hello :)

    I am trying to decide whether or not to take a course that starts next week at NYU. NYU offers a "professional certificate" in java programming. I can take the first course without deciding to pursue the whole certificate or not. The syllabus is here: http://samsultan.com/java

    Right now I am working as a mechanical engineer in a job I hate. I really want to learn computer programming because of my love of computers/internet applications and math. I have a BS from cornell in mechanical engineering.

    Do you think this course / certificate would be worthwhile? I would love to just apply for a masters in computer science, but that would be impossible given my extremely sparse background in programming!

    Any suggestions would be great.
  2. Bill McEnaney macrumors 6502

    Apr 29, 2010
    That looks good, my friend. But I think that, to become a professional programmer, you'll need more than a course about one programming language. Years ago, I substitute taught some classes about programming. Weeks later, some former students of mine, who saw me at a college I was attending then, told me that they enrolled at the college because the school where I taught didn't qualify them for the computer jobs they wanted. Even before I talked with that at the college, I worried that during their classes at the technical school, I might have implied unintentionally that the technical school would give the students all the credentials they needed when I knew that it wouldn't do that.
  3. theimp thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2006
    Ithaca, NY
    Thanks for looking at the syllabus. I just wanted to make sure the course was "legit". There are 5 courses to get the java certificate. After that I would still want to learn more (although at this point I don't know what or how).

    The other option I have is trying to get a post-bac by taking the undergraduate courses in computer science (but that would be very expensive). I figure I will evaluate this option after taking this course / certificate programming.
  4. Rhalliwell1 macrumors 6502a

    May 22, 2008
    Looks good. It would give you a solid foundation to build up on. Although its not an impossibility, i wouldn't expect to walk into a job from that course alone. You might want to consider a few further courses and possibly learning the C programming language.

    Good luck and remember there is always people around here if you need help understanding some concepts! :)
  5. GorillaPaws macrumors 6502a


    Oct 26, 2003
    Richmond, VA
    Another option, or at least a way to supplement that training is to look at free iTunes U programming classes. MIT has a great intro to computer science, although it's taught in python (which is a great higher-level first language). Also Harvard has an intro to computer science course as well that's taught in C. If you plan on programming professionally, you're almost certainly going to want to know some C, and might be a better choice starting off (especially for someone with a mechanical engineering background). It's pretty low level, so you can get a very good sense of "what is going where".

    For just getting started with the C language on a Mac there's a great tutorial by Uli Kusterer that I would recomend looking at. The animations he's put together are nice, and his explanation of stack vs. heap memory was the best I've come across yet.

    The more you know going into the course, the more you'll likely get out of it. I'm not saying that you can't start with Java, it's object-oriented which is something that's pretty essential to learn in modern-day programming. Knowing some C certainly won't hurt you when trying to learn Java.
  6. theimp thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2006
    Ithaca, NY
    Thanks everyone for such good advice and suggestions. I wouldn't expect trying to get a job in the field after this one course. The whole certificate program is here: http://www.scps.nyu.edu/areas-of-study/information-technology/professional-certificates/java-programming.html

    I have heard of iTunes university, but I never knew what it was really. I will definitely check that out, it sounds awesome. :eek:

    One last question. I hope this isn't a dumb one! Is there a list online, or any other way to find out what language programs or webpages are written in? For websites, I know I can do "view source" and I usually see CSS and HTML code, but are there other codes that wouldn't be obvious to spot in the view source. What about for applications? I would like to find out what my favorite websites / programs are written in, since those would ideally be the types of things I would like to work on!
  7. skunkworker macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2007
    Well on some of these newer languages its almost impossible to tell with what language they were built in. When you go to a url, your browser tells the server " hey I want this page under this directory with these options". When in reality that page may not really exist under that path like on a filesystem, instead the runtime generates an html page that is sent back to your browser when in reality the contents of the page could live in a sql database.

    So for the internet there are a ton of languages that stuff could be built in, from php to java to ruby on rails and more. And on some of the newer ones like ruby on rails, you really can't tell with what its built in.

    But for the most part building websites is different and similar to building applications. You can mainly use C/C++/Obj-C for constructing applications but for the most part you would not use those to build a website. Yet the MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework that Cocoa uses is very similar to building a webpage in something like Ruby on Rails.
  8. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    I've taken classes at NYU over the years and like everything else, it depends on which teacher you get.

    The Java classes were just OK. If your a beginner, those classes will help you. Be aware that most of the students in those classes are either graduate students or professionals that are looking to either refresh themselves or learn something they don't typically use.

    ** Added ** I've never had Samuel Sultan and it looks like they've changed up the course. It's also in Midtown, not sure if they don't use the Cooper Hall? downtown anymore.

    The one nice thing is that you get to bounce your questions off of a live teacher.

    There's a really good C++ teacher there, Mark Maretsky?. If you want to learn C++, some object oriented stuff, and some challenging projects, I would take his courses.

    There's also the intense course which is multiple classes rolled into one. If you can afford it / make the time for it / are a fast learner, I would do that. If you really need the time, take the individual classes.
  9. Lakven macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2012
    New York university java certificate

    Hi..I am trying to get back to work after 5years..I hav a year and a half of work experience in development and testing.
    I want to learn something and also brush up mi skills inorder to get a job
    Wil taking up the java certificate in NYC wil be agood option ?
    Is it worth the money???
  10. zidan5555 macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2013

    Sorry for digging this old thread. I'm planning to take the certificate from NYU but not sure if it is really worth it. It would be helpful to know how it went for you. Thanks!

  11. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    I'm becoming more and more convinced about this:

    Don't bother with school, particularly when it comes to programming. There's an abundance of free materials you can get from your libraries and from the Internet to teach yourself programming. Going to school for it demonstrates you lack desirable qualities, such as being a self starter.

    Save yourself the money and teach yourself how to program. Deploy a few applications on the app stores with Apple, Amazon, or Steam (depending on the type of application you make.) If you've enjoyed it, put together your portfolio and apply for some entry level positions - you have no evidence of being a good team player but that'll only come out of already having had a job in programming, thus why you'll only qualify for entry to start with. But you can move quickly in the industry from there.

    That's my two cents. I am 80% through a degree in Computer Engineering and have now had a variety of programming jobs and have been on both ends of interviews for programming positions. Although I enjoy having a deeper understanding of how computers work, I learned virtually nothing from my degree (although I am going to stick around to finish it... I see no reason to come so close and then not.)
  12. MasConejos macrumors regular


    Jun 25, 2007
    Houston, TX
    While computer science and computer engineering degrees don't focus much on actual code writing if that is your life goal, keep in mind that having a degree puts you a step above those who don't have one and in the corporate world (where the vast majority of programming jobs exist), having a BS is nearly mandatory.
  13. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    I've often preferred interviews with small companies which generally don't filter based on whether you have a BS or not and ask you to do some on the spot coding for them during your interview.

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