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Thread: How does and old Cobol programmer become a Java programmer

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    Default How does and old Cobol programmer become a Java programmer

    Hi,

    I got a BS in CS back in 1987 with a specialty of IBM mainframe and Cobol/Assembler.

    I spent 15+ years as a Cobol programmer, know it like the back of my hand.

    I always hated the Cobol language, felt it just was too crippled or limiting, and I dread the idea of ever going back to it.

    I also haven't been working as a programmer since October 2004.

    I learned some java at that job but never got past the 3rd day of a 5 day corporate class.

    I've written tons of java code at home, but never did any windows or internet programming. I'd really like to do some windows or internet coding.

    I'm a person who is really good at programming, and really good at learning new things. I love object oriented programming, it just seems beautiful to me (in reverse to how Cobol was so ugly).

    SO - the question is - How do I reinvent myself as a Java programmer? Do I take classes at a company or community college and get some certification? Do I get a masters degree and focus on java?

    I'd really like to do it in an inexpensive way. I am broke and will be tapping my Mom's retirement money to fund this education, so I really don't want to have to take too long to pay her back. So even if the Masters is the best, if community college is good enough I might prefer to go that route.

    I'm in located in the NW suburbs of Chicago. I'm a female and 45 years old.

    I really sincerely appreciate your help.

    Nancy


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    Crazy Cat Lady KevinWorkman's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does and old Cobol programmer become a Java programmer

    A lot of this really depends on your personal learning preference (hands on vs from a book, with other people or by yourself, graded or not), as well as what exactly you want to learn (networking and GUIs are pretty broad areas), plus what you want to get out of it (a degree to add to your resume, or just knowledge to use on your own).

    I would suggest you work through the basic tutorials to at least get a taste of what you're getting into: The Java™ Tutorials

    They cover pretty much everything you need to get started, plus they're free!
    Useful links: How to Ask Questions the Smart Way | Use Code Tags | Java Tutorials
    Static Void Games - Play indie games, learn from game tutorials and source code, upload your own games!

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    Default Re: How does and old Cobol programmer become a Java programmer

    You may know the market for COBOL programmers better than I do, but Micro Focus were hiring in the UK recently. I got the impression they're looking at the JVM for the future of the massive installed COBOL base and were recruiting Java programmers here. They claim to have vacancies in the US too - perhaps it's worth giving them a shot?
    Careers and current vacancies - Micro Focus

    I've written tons of java code at home
    Is there any scope for you to offer Java transition training to COBOL programmers who *are* employed? I don't know whether SJCP would be worth having for this role (I don't have it, never been asked for it), but perhaps that might have some traction with COBOL factories?
    Sun Certified Professional - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Maybe Uni staff aren't structured in the US quite the same way as they are here in the UK, but have you considered going to Uni as a teaching assistant? There is always the prospect of gaining a part-time degree while you're working at a Uni, and being a full-time TA isn't badly paid (in the UK) on the great scale of things. Experience, organisation and communication skills go further for those jobs here than bleeding-edge skillz.

    I'm sorry, I can't give you any advice on how to enter commercial Java programming. If I had some advice that worked, one would reasonably expect me to have such a job myself after spending several months recently applying for them. I have a Masters in Computer Systems Engineering and a PhD in Computing, both gained 'later in life'. I've been telling people recently that my extensive academic qualifications give me an agreeably philosophical outlook on unemployment.

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    Default Re: How does and old Cobol programmer become a Java programmer

    Have you seen programr.com? They have Java courses, free for a limited time, Available Courses | Programr -Code It Online .

    You can also try free online books, Bruce Eckel's MindView, Inc: Free Electronic Book: Thinking in Java, 3rd Edition thinking in java 3rd editions is free, a bit old though, published in 2002. Free Online Java Books :: FreeTechBooks.com

    Check this too, you might be interested.
    Learning together

    Hope that helps.
    -Mel

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    Default Re: How does and old Cobol programmer become a Java programmer

    I'm an old Cobol programmer (30 + years) and am currently taking a Java class and am having much difficulty understanding OOP. I try to relate it to Cobol but can't do it. I have been at it for 1 1/2 months and am as confused now as I was when I began. I still don't understand OOP.

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    Default Re: How does and old Cobol programmer become a Java programmer

    OOP is simply many objects(little programs which complete a single task, but might not be usable alone) coming together to make a fully functional real-world program. For example, lets take notepad(win xp version), if you were to make this using Java, you would first write an object which would draw the application's window. You would also write another object which would save the file when the user clicks the save button, and another which would open a file when the open file button is clicked. The last object you would need is one which would receive the keystrokes and print them out in the text area of a window.

    An other way I could put it is a restaurant(first and main object, this would be the one that runs everything), when you go to one, a waiter will come and take your order, you can think of the waiter as an object, then the waiter will give the order to the chef(second object) who will prepare it. After the order is ready the waiter will bring it to your table, and once your done the cleaner(a 4th object) will clean the table.

    If however, you were to use a none OOP language; you would have one person doing all of it. Once you enter the restaurant, you would have to wait till the only employee finishes cleaning the table, then he will take your order, head to the kitchen and cook it, put it on a dish, take order of another customer, clean another table, bring your order to your table after a few minutes of it sitting on the dish, head to the kitchen cook meal of other customer, etc. You get the idea, it would be one person have to deal with many jobs all in the shortest time possible, which overall, would cause him to be slower since he is jumping from task to task. On the other hand having a few employees, each one with a single task, would make things go faster yet smoother; less wait time, less stress on computer, less freezing, less resources being held for a simple task which was interrupted by another task, which results in more happy programmer, and more happy customers.

    That isn't the only benefit of OOP, there are others as well, reusing code, updating is faster, debugging is simpler and faster, and much more, since you only have to deal with one employee who is causing a problem, and not the only employee.

    Hope that helps,
    -Mel

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    Default Re: How does and old Cobol programmer become a Java programmer

    Quote Originally Posted by michael.duffy31 View Post
    I'm an old Cobol programmer (30 + years) and am currently taking a Java class and am having much difficulty understanding OOP. I try to relate it to Cobol but can't do it. I have been at it for 1 1/2 months and am as confused now as I was when I began. I still don't understand OOP.

    I, like you, have coded in BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, etc. in school and took Java later in life. One book I am currently reading is "head first Java" that was recommended to me during my Java course. I feel this book will help you understand OOP much better. It goes in baby steps. It is a bit dated (2005), but it opened up my mind more to how OOP worked. You can pick it up used online for around $20.

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    Default Re: How does and old Cobol programmer become a Java programmer

    It took me years to understand the OOP concept. I have about 20 years experience using COBOL/OS JCL/VSAM and consider myself a pretty good programmer. Of those 20 years, I might have 8 years or less experience using DB2 & CICS. I still struggle with CICS and sometimes DB2, but I can pretty much cover it up on the job by Googleing it or asking questions. OOP is another story though. I took classes in C, C++ and MS/Access starting in the late 1990's and still I cannot get a good grip on this stuff.

    After those classes, I took a Java Class in back 2007 at a community college. The class consisted of about 15 seasoned COBOL programmers and about 5 regular day students in their teens or early 20's. After about 2 months only 3 COBOL programmers were left in that class and I happened to be one of them.

    It took an enormous amount of effort on my part(sleepless nights), but I managed to get an 'A' in that class. Still, if somebody were to ask me to write a Java program off the top of my head, I just could not do it. The thing is, there are not that many COBOL jobs left, so Java or ASP.NET are the way to go these days unless you want to be Unemployed or under employed. One thing I noticed though, is that people who never coded in COBOL, or any other procedural type language have a much easier time with OOP, because that is all they know.

    In any case, I think the prestige in being a programmer has gone down severely in the last decade or so. Now a programmer is just a "Coder". Q/A Testers and Business Analyst make as much, or even more than a programmer these days at some companies.[COLOR="Silver"]

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