I appreciate your querying

jabber (jabber)
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By training, I was a physicist. Before I entered the IT field, I trained myself for about 10 months. During that time, I still worked on physics in the daytime.

I am sort of person who can push himself.
To pass Java 2 programmer certificate, I wrote about 1500 small Java applications and applets. Whenever I had some questions about Java, I tried to create some
code to prove or disprove my thoughts.
I am quite familiar with Java API. Also, I seldom use debugger tool because I have a
good insigh in various Java error messages and exceptions.

I have ever spent some time on the client/server computing and distributed computing theories. I have a relatively complete big picture of IT industry. I know
what I need to do, what I am doing. This sounds trivial but it is in fact very, very important. Before I entered IT field, I already could talk about the life-cycle of a project.
Let me list some buzz worlds here: domain expert, visionary, use cases, actor, user requirements, problem statement, component diagrams, state diagarms,
state machines, sequence diagrams,
collaboration diagrams, deploy diagrams,
....rational rose, rose 98, rose 2000,
flow-chart, .... API specification, project inception, project implementation, risk management, QA, loading testing, ....
I learnt these things from the books and
tried to grab some friends and explain the concepts before them. I asked questions
to those people who had already began to make money in the IT industry. My motivation is very clear: I need to master some skills
to earn my living.

Of course, I learn not only from the books, also by hands. For instance, as I learnt UML, I downloaded a Rational Rose and
I did draw some use case diagrams. As I
learnt user requirements, I did create a docu mentation for a fictitious on-line Chinese store. For instace, as I
tried to learn Java servlets, I created 8 simple
Java servelts and make them work tegether
so as to similate a on-line store.
The first-time I used JDBC is to copy an example from a book. By carefully following the books' instruction, I made the example to work. This example used MS ACCESS as
database. To make myself confident, I created a table in Oracle 7.5 and retrive the data using JDBC and then write the data to MS ACCESS.

However, many people I know like to read books but are reluctant to do labs.

As for Java projects, it is easy to cope with.
I know you have ever done some other projects. Once you master Java, you can
claim you did them using Java.

I hope I have convinced you that I did not become a Java guy by simply "reading and thinking". My first IT job is a "Senior Java Developer". I found I was much better that some other Java guys in my group. My confidence is established on my solid, hard working, not on talking big.
I believe nothing is impossible to a willing heart. But one needs to be patient and aggressive.
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