Sorry if a similar question may have come up in the past but after coming from a COBOL / BASIC, 17 year programming background and being off the radar for the last 4 years I am now trying to learn JAVA through an online web course and book.
I am struggling somewhat with the syntax and the whole OOP thing. With two third of the course still to complete and Multi threading, Inheritence and all other
goodies still to confuse me even more I'm just beginning to wonder if I've bitten off more than I can chew.
Basically I am hoping to get back into paid employment as a programmer/developer. I enjoyed my time with COBOL / BASIC and enjoyed the fact that once the key verbs (Keywords) had been learnt then there was not much more learning to be done and so could program merrily away.
I don't know with JAVA, I get the feeling if I eventually understand OOP that there is still loads more to learn and indeed it seems to be a language that there's all sorts of add ons and libraries and routines etc.
I must admit I am a lazy programmer. I just want to learn something quickly and then concentrate on the logic in programming and I'm not interested in continually learning the language to the Nth degree. I'm worried that if I get a JAVA job the routines will be far more complex than a mere beginner would understand anyway.
With that said I am thinking of jumping ship and learning PHP & MYSQL and getting into web programming because it certainly looks easier to read and program ( just by looking at it ) and I hope I'm right in saying is not as complex and you reach a stage where no more learning is needed quicker.
I have the opportunity to change my course in the next week or so to the PHP/MYSQL one so I just wondered if anyone on here could advise if PHP/MYSQL might be a better option considering I am struggling and indeed if the learning curve for PHP/MYSQL is quicker and the plateau of finished learning in PHP/MYSQL is attainable quicker!
Apologies if none of this makes sense, my OBSERVATIONS are based on 2 weeks intensive study so far. I'm at a crossroads. Based in the UK and PHP/MYSQL vacancies are not far behind JAVA ones. So either is good. Please no biased opinions ;-) Thanks for taking the time to read through this and thank you if you are able to offer any opinions on my observations.
PS I'm using an online compiler IDEONE to compile and run the code as the college computers are "locked down."
Re: Jumping Ship
To be an effective programmer today you're going to have to accept that you'll have to be learning on a continual basis. There's no way around this whether you decide to learn PHP, Java, C++, etc.
That being said, once you have the basics down pat learning new stuff becomes exponentially easier.
Personally I have more gripes with PHP than I do with Java, but that's due to the way I prefer to develop (I'm actually more of a C++ developer than anything else now). Both are decent languages, and it depends on what you want to do. PHP is fairly common for web-development, but if you're planning on working with large web projects you're going to have to learn Java, C#, or even C++. PHP simply does not scale well, from a development and performance stand point.
MySQL is a database implementation. and is more or less independent of whatever client language you use. It's just as easy (or hard) to interface with MySQL using PHP or Java.
Re: Jumping Ship
One of your main concerns seems to be the time it has taken to understand OOP principles. Give yourself a break. 2 weeks of even "intensive" study isn't enough time for someone who's NOT been programming with OOP for 17 (+4) years. I can't tell you when it'll happen or how much more study and PRACTICE it'll take, but if you keep at it, pretty soon you'll look back at this post with nearly-total OOP-awareness, and you'll wonder what all the fuss was about.
Moving from COBOL to OOP is recognized to be difficult, and there are special books and tutorials written just for you. I don't know that you need them, but you might consider it. There are also OOP extensions available for COBOL if you think it would help to stay in the language with which you're most familiar while learning OOP.
Whichever path you choose, keep at it, don't give up, and it'll come.
Re: Jumping Ship
Thankyou for both your detailed and concise replies they are really helpful.
I have googled the books you mention re Cobol Programmer to Java programmer and found the ones you mean. They look really good.
I'm going to take a break for the next fortnight while I learn Sage50 accounts then make a decision whether to tentatively try the PHP road (PHP Can be OOP or none OOP I read) or dig back into JAVA. Cheers.