I (along with probably 1 000 000 other people) have found the self-help series of Dummies books quite amusing on different levels. As the saying goes, if I had a penny for every time “… for dummies” comes up in a situation joke…
Now there are a number of dummies books covering a host of programming topics. I would be surprised if they haven’t covered every mainstream language, framework and toolset available to the masses. Of course, there’s always “… in 24hrs” to cover what’s missed: C++ in 24hrs. You’ve got ask yourself: “Why, with the abundance of literature available, would a graduate want to spend 3 years (or more, sometimes involuntarily) studying something which can be studies in 24hrs?”
Well, truth be told: software is hard. It’s a popular quote, I’ve said it before and “kids” will probably still be quoting it generations from now. The only thing I could add to that quote is the word “really”. Software is really hard. Not all of it. Not all the time. But it is. Really.
Neither a dummies book, a 24hrs book, or even a 2 week course in learning how to code in c# is going to make you a programmer. In fact, no amount of certification is going to certify you as a competent programmer. The one common trait between certified (and good) programmers and not certified (yet good) programmers is the time spent on the keyboard. Voluntary time. That, and an odd fashion sense says I who doth dare venture out to the mall in my PJs.
Time behind the keyboard is a way of life. You need to develop (if you haven’t been born with it) a particular style of thinking and a particular approach. It’s not a one-style fits all either. There is no ultimate secret recipe to be a programmer (except for the time behind keyboard thing- and quite possibly the poor fashion). In KungFu, you can study the Crane, Tiger, Praying Mantis, Monkey and Snake and there are probably more too. In programming, there are no definitive animals to master. It’s more like a zoo from Star Wars. Looks like Monkey, walks like Snake but eats like Duck. It’s not too important what approach you have, so long as it does the job proper (sic).
Afterall, software is -really- hard but not always rocket-science (the two concepts are mutually exclusive). So don’t be fooled by dummies. It’s simple but not without complication. It’s straightforward but never cut-and-dried. It’s easy but really hard.