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Learning Relational Databases – Summer Fun =^.^=

Programmer Problems

 

Ooops, I dropped a course… 

In January, I was having serious issues with a class, Relational Databases.  I felt completely lost in the class, not necessarily because of the content, but because of the learning environment.  Reading about databases just was not cutting it and although I resorted to YouTube videos for supplemental learning, my professor’s requirements were unique.  I could understand the supplemental information that I found, but I could not correlate it to my professor’s teaching style.  When I asked for additional help, the language barrier left me even more confused.  So, reluctantly I decided to drop the class.  I’m saying all of this to say… I can run but I can’t hide.

Welcome to the summer session of Relational Databases… 

The first two weeks of this class has shown me two things 1) I wasn’t going crazy in January when I took RD the first time 2) I’ll learn all about relational databases after all.  The one thing that really stood out to me was the different ways to notate data models, which can seem confusing but was actually great for I could choose the style that I felt most comfortable with.  Although I would rather be doing more summery things, I am actually enjoying learning about relational databases — does that make me a nerd?

Just in case I’m not the only one in this boat… 

I have found a few supplemental educational tools to help me with understanding Relational databases, so I will share them here!

1) A friend and fellow blogger suggested the Manga Guide to Databases.  This resource has been a great tool in understanding the concepts of databases, while enjoying a really awesome story with subtle-but-funny references to database history.  This guide has helped me to stop STRESSING over learning and enjoy a story in the process.  I’d suggest this reference to any manga lover that also has to learn about databases lol.

2) YouTube!  Yes, YouTube is a distance learner’s best friend.  Reading is great, but having a visual aid helps in learning.  There’s also the added benefit of learning through different perspectives which helps tremendously.  I’ve found one channel of a professor that has all of his lectures for his Relational Databases course available in one handy playlist.  His teaching style is really laid back, however he explains the concepts in a way that’s truly understandable.

3) I stumbled upon a site that has practice examples for the different concepts of databases such as entity relationships and normalization.  The tutorials are straightforward, but the most beneficial is the practice problems.

I’m learning, and it’s awesome… 

I never thought that learning about databases would be interesting, but once I understood all of the areas that databases impact – I realized the importance of knowing all I can about them.  I shall continue to learn!

 

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Posted by on May 31, 2014 in Programming

 

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Learning to Speak to a Computer Part 1.

programming, coding, nerd problems, life, google translate, coderbug83

The epic language barrier…

This week has been super hectic.  I have been moving, studying, working (finishing up the last weeks) and pushing myself far beyond my usual boundaries.  When I finally took the time to slow down and work on some real coding, I felt like I was almost getting the concepts but they became slippery in my mind and I could not grasp hold of the concepts completely.  This week, we are working on the very important topics of objects, classes and instances.  Yes… with Java being an object oriented language, this is something that I have to grasp.  As I read through my chapters and completed my examples, I got this feeling of being almost there, but not quite there.  I felt pretty defeated last night, it was as if my computer speaks Mandarin and I speak English.  HUGE language barrier. 

Not even a hug could help me…

I tried to coerce my Macbook into giving me the answers, but no luck, she just kept throwing compile errors and computery (not a word) speak at me.  Taunting me, saying that I will never be a great coder.  Okay, maybe she did not say that, however that is how I began to feel while turning in my project at 11:58pm, with 1 minute to spare and an epic migraine to boot.  After a hard night of coding some stuff to somewhat resemble the stuff that my professor requested from me, I felt confident that I would get an okay grade, but I did NOT feel as though this project was a winner.  Only time, will tell…

This is only a battle, not the end of the war…

I understand that this concept is extremely important.  I know that I will have to take the time to learn it completely, because object oriented programming is the thing of now and it makes sense.  Object oriented programming is nimble, flexible, easier to debug and it simply makes sense.  I have watched every video online and I have read several beginner books in order to get a perspective on this subject and I believe my understanding is a lot clearer today than it was yesterday and much clearer than it was the day before that.  I feel like a foreign exchange student with a beginner’s knowledge of a foreign language but not an in-depth understanding of each nuance, each inflection.  It will take time to gain an intimate relationship with Java.  One day it will all click together. 

Let’s just pray that the clicking happens a tad more rapidly (before my final project)…

The epic amounts of time that I spend reading this and studying that, should be a testament to how badly I want to be a good programmer.  I am accustomed to being an expert in my field,  I feel a bit vulnerable being a complete n00b on a subject.  I had 14 years of expertise in my previous field and I was the “go to” person for all things financial.  Now, I feel as though I could not coach someone out of a coded paper bag even if my life depended on it.  Starting from the very bottom will take some getting use to.  I will have to embrace my new n00bness and be happy that I have the opportunity and the means to completely immerse myself into a new career.

The programmer within wants to be the dude coding something sitting right next to me…

To make me feel even more like a n00b, there is a guy that is sitting right next to me and he is coding something.  I believe he is a professional software engineer with a flexible work schedule because I often see him in Panera with his feet up coding something.  His codes look complex and his nose is not deep within a text book so I am assuming he is not a student.  Also, the lack of the “wth” look that I always have on my face gives him away as being knowledgeable.  Anyway, my inner programming junky wants to be like him.  Confident in the magical codes I am drumming up and free to click away wherever my hands (and laptop) may take me.  One day grasshopper, one day.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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This week’s learnings: Arrays!

programming nerd problems; programming; coding; life; changes; arrays

Feeling like a super hero…

I do not know what it is about coding, but when I successfully code a program, I feel like a super hero.  I show this fact by fist pumping in public places, and when I am home, I fall into an uncontrollable giggling fit.  I created something.  I had a task that was given from my professor, I came up with an idea to demonstrate what I learned, and finally I clicked “run” and it worked.  The dang thing worked.  Super hero, definitely. 

Arrays…

Last week we ventured into the world of arrays.  Arrays are basically ways to save vast amounts of data sets without having to create 9 million variables to represent each data set.  The biggest challenge for me at the beginning of the week was recognizing that the variables in the array represented a location in memory and not the value that is shown.  Once my thick skull figured that out, I was unstoppable.  I created a basic family tree program that gathered basic information about the user’s family and then displayed the information in a table.  It was pretty basic, but the thrill of completing something that could have so much later use, really made me feel awesome. 

Paying it Forward…

My textbook is only one resource that I’ve been using to understand the different things I am learning.  Going forward, I will take note of what other resources I am using and will post those links here.  There is some amazing work being done by people who are taking the time to simplify some coding concepts, and I would like to share the resources that are helping me!

All About Java Arrays

YouTube – Java Arrays

Two Dimensional Arrays

How to program with Java – Java Arrays

Update…

In an earlier post, I wrote about receiving an 89 on a project.  Well, I received 100% on my second project! This was a great feat considering this professor is brutal and it was the first 100% that I have received this semester.  This professor seems to like to give out 95% and he is always pointing out a small area that I could have done better.  Well, 100% guys.  His comments were “great coding”.  Me… great… YES!  I lost sleep coding out this assignment and well, it paid off!  [Commence Happy Dance]. 

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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