Want to Learning a Programming Language

Alan Armitage - Graphic Designer / Production Manager
Alan Armitage August 12, 2011 at 8:22 AM

I found this course starting on the 3rd of October in Waterford College of Further Education.

Introduction to Software Development (Java)

Course description:

This course has been designed to introduce students to the concepts of programming and the techniques involved in constructing small programs.

The course would be suited to people interested in learning the fundamentals of Java programming or for people considering returning to third level education in the area of Information Technology and /or computer Science. This course may also be of interest to people in the workplace who support software development projects.

 Entry requirements:

• An understanding of the windows based operating systems such as XP, Vista and Windows 7

• An interest in learning a programming language

Ive spent most of my life Designing on / using Apple machines. I know my way around a PC, as in I use them on a day to day bases for general things, Windows 98, 2000, XP and Vista. 

The entry requirements state an understanding of the Windows based operating system and and interest in Learning a programming language.

My question is I'm very interested in learning a programming language (currently learning html5 & CSS3, I know this is just mark-up and not a language) but do I have enough of the understanding of the PC OS ?

Really I suppose I want to know am I just wasting my time and money, Comments and advice are greatly appreciated.

Niall Dawson - Software Development Manager
Niall Dawson August 12, 2011 at 8:41 AM

Hi Alan, 

Great to hear you are thinking of learning a programming language.

There are plenty of online resources that can help you get started.

First i would pick a good IDE (integrated Development Environment). We use Netbeans here and i can highly recommend it. 


You can program in Java, C++, Php all from the one IDE and best of all its free and runs on Apple OSX.

There are also some good online courses which will show you the basics and let you decide if its is for you.



Ive done a bit of work in java before and it might be a steep learning curve if you have never done any programming before. We use php here and it is a great little language to get you used to things if you are a complete novice.

As for your question about using the PC, id say you will be fine if you are used to using OSX.

Either way i highly recommnd playing around with some of the free online resources before you go paying any money to see if its something you are interested in.

Just out of curiosity how long is the course and what does it cost?

Last edited by Niall Dawson at August 12, 2011 at 8:43 AM
stevoslattery - Software Design Engineer
stevoslattery August 12, 2011 at 9:34 AM

Hi Niall,

I would say that if you are able to understand HTML and CSS then the next step is something like Java, PHP or .Net. The course does say it is an introduction so with your background in HTML etc I would say that it would be a good course to do!

The OS will not be a problem, you do not need to get into the nitty gritty of how the OS work to be able to program. If you can use a PC for the regular day to day stuff then you will be fine.

Good Luck!


Alan Armitage - Graphic Designer / Production Manager
Alan Armitage August 12, 2011 at 11:48 AM
Cheers Steve
Garrett O'Carroll - Contractor
Garrett O'Carroll August 12, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Java and .NET are well established but their paradigm is looking a little tired now. If you want something fresh, simple and amazingly powerful I'd look at one of the dynamic programming languages, and the most accessiable of these has to be JavaScript... 'hold on' I hear you say... 'isn't that a bit 1990s?' Well, frankly NO. Look at it as the engine that drives HTML5 and you'll see it in a whole new light. There are other dymanic languages too: Ruby, Objective-C, Perl, PHP, Python.. take your pick.

Alan Armitage - Graphic Designer / Production Manager
Alan Armitage August 12, 2011 at 9:08 AM

Cheers Niall for the quick response, the Course is for 10 weeks, on a monday night, at 150 euro, not a huge amount but in these recessionary times if Im spending it I want it to be of value, as well as this I dont want to drop myself into something that is way out of my league. Ive wanted to learn to program for quite a while.

Alan Armitage - Graphic Designer / Production Manager
Alan Armitage August 12, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Thanks Niall, Steve

My background in recent years is in Design for print, Im still working within the print industry, (bored, but its a job, pays the bills etc) Over the last couple of months Ive decided that I need to re-educate myself, " I NEED A NEW CHALLENGE " I would have been involved with web design about 7-8 years back in the last dot com bubble, mostly dabbling with Adobe dreamweaver and leaving the complicated bits to a couple of programmers that I worked with at the time. Now Ive almost ditched dreamweaver, and work with a text editor and browser and have immersed myself in HTML5 and CSS3, exciting stuff, at least for me anyway.  Also I have start to work with a guy who develops in Erlang, and with the Zotonic CMS. It's very early stages but I just feeI I need to start looking at learning to program.

Niall Dawson - Software Development Manager
Niall Dawson August 12, 2011 at 10:27 AM

You may be interested in Adobe Edge


demo http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/edge/resources/gettingjumpy1/wordAnimation.html

Its from Adobe and looks like it might be a flash replacement (using html5 and javascript and css3)

It all works on iphone ipad (or other non flash devices)

There could be a bright future for this tech as you can display flashy looking ads in mobile devides, this isnt possible at the moment i dont think.

Alan Armitage - Graphic Designer / Production Manager
Alan Armitage August 12, 2011 at 11:53 AM
Thanks Niall, looks good