ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Head First Java - Teach Yourself Java for under $20

Updated on March 15, 2014

This year, I'm on a mission to teach myself as much computer programming as possible. I figure that the more I know, the more options I will have for my future employment.

I first became interested in programming while in Middle School, but that interest quickly turned into frustration, and now, about 15 years later, I am taking it seriously for the first time.

I've learned something in those 15 years. If a book is causing me frustration, the solution is simple: order another book. There are so many instructional books that there's really no reason to give up. Everyone has different learning styles and the options for teaching yourself today are better than ever before. Not only are there books, but there are also free online courses and many forums. All you need is motivation and determination.

I think if you set aside at least one hour a day and maybe $20-$40 a month for buying books, you can succeed at learning programming. Actually, I know that a lot of self taught programmers do it for free without buying any books, but I do find books helpful. For my learning style, it's easier to follow a book's instructions than it is to try to tackle the online tutorials. Plus the $20 I spend gives me financial motivation: I don't want to waste my money so I better start studying!

Why buy "Head First Java" then? Well, Java is the programming language that you need to learn if you want to design programs for Android cell phones. You may want to do that. But even if you don't, this book is a good introduction to Object Oriented Programming (OOP) in general. If you really want to learn what objects are, this book will answer that question - which sure was something that befuddled me! Today, OOP languages are abundant - C++, PHP5, Python, and Ruby - just to name a few. Plus, once you know Java, learning another language is easy. And you will be well prepared for taking online computer science courses like Princeton's Algorithms course.

A Few Other Books to Consider

Reading books in the right order can be surprisingly important! I actually bought the "Head First Java" book in 2010, read part of it, got distracted, and then went back to it in 2013. The second time around, I had more knowledge under my belt and more determination. I actually did the examples in the book, which is important to programming. Reading code isn't the same as writing it. You have to write the code to learn to code. So, whatever book you follow, make sure you spend as much time writing as reading.

Beginning Programming with Java For Dummies
Beginning Programming with Java For Dummies

If you don't know what loops are because you've never done any programming, you might want to read a book like this one before "Head First Java." There are actually numerous beginner programming books on Amazon, and any of the ones with high ratings probably would give you the necessary prerequisite.

I learned a little bit of Basic programming while in Middle School, and more recently learned PHP to develop a website, and that combo made me sufficiently prepared for the Head First Java book. It's not important what language you learn, as long as you know about basic things like loops and if/then statements.

Android Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (Big Nerd Ranch Guides)
Android Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (Big Nerd Ranch Guides)

After learning Java, you'll be ready for this. It's exciting to have something to look forward to, isn't it?

UPDATE - I just finished this book and it's my favorite programming book of all time. It has real example Android apps that you learn to write. It explains everything so when you get done, you have a very good understanding on how to write your own app. Also, the book is almost error-free. The code actually works and this makes for a struggle free learning experience. You do have to know Java first. I read both Head First Java and Head First Design Patterns. It turned out to be pretty good preparation for this book.



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)