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  • Writer's pictureTim Buchalka

Using Books To Supplement Programming Video Course Training

Do you need to get a book, an eBook or a physical book, to supplement the training in a typical programming video course? Let’s talk about today.

The question was whether you need a book to supplement the training in a typical video programming course. In general, my answer would be no, certainly that’s the case in my courses because I’ve designed my courses to be really complete in the sense that they teach you virtually everything you need to know about a particular topic. If you go and grab a book, which is probably a natural human thing to do, to be looking at something as a supplement, that can certainly be something you need to do if you’re taking a college or a university course.

With a video programming course, that can even be self-defeating. So you can find that, you’ll be learning a lot in a programming video course, if you go off and get an eBook or a physical book, you might find that style, you almost certainly will find that the style being taught in that book is different from the video course, and can actually introduce some confusion. So in general, I would say no. But the other thing to keep in mind here and perhaps the more important reason, is that a book, physical books, and eBooks, often are rather, they don’t get updated, for whatever reason, anywhere near as much as a video programming course is.

So you might be looking for a book to supplement your training, and you find a great one, and if you haven’t really thoroughly investigated it, you might find that it’s five or ten years old. Now to give you an example of that, there was a book that I used to recommend, a great book on Java programming. Back in the day, I used to recommend that to my team, because I was at Project Lead for various projects, when the junior programmer came along I would actually physically buy them a copy of the book, or recommend that they buy it. That was great because it was up to date. The author was Bruce Eckel and it was a fantastic book ( I’ve added the link as reference only and not for you to buy, because I don’t recommend you buy it, but just so you can see which book that I was talking about.

The reason that book was great was because it was up to date and very relevant at the time. But ten years or so have passed now, and that book hasn’t really been updated. So if you wanna go out and buy that book now and start reading it, not only will it not take advantage of all the modern features of, in this case Java, but you might find that there’s certainly better ways of doing things than was taught in that programming book. That’s fine and that’s understandable, because it’s now ten years out of date.

So the point that I’m trying to make here, is if you’re looking for a book, it can be self defeating unless you can find one that’s particularly up to date in your quest to become a programmer. So I would stick to a video course, finish the video course, perhaps after the video course, once you’re done with that, then start looking. But if you are really persistent and you really wanna grab a book, be sure to check the publication date, check if it’s been updated. Make sure that it’s very relevant, make sure that it’s, if it’s a programming language book, that it’s targeting the latest release of the software, the programming language, it’s very important to make sure that it does that. But lastly, also check the reviews.

I’ts very important to check how other people are, buyers of that book, have actually found the book. Has it been rewarding for them, what were the good things about the book, what were the bad things. Reviews are very important actually, in both books, but also in video courses. You can learn a lot about a programming course or what is good or what’s bad about it by just reading reviews. So if you think you really have to get a book, do that, but in general just so you know, I don’t generally recommend any book, because they’re outdated so quickly, and I designed my video courses, and I know a lot of other instructors do the same, to be very complete, and not basically needing other information to make them, to help train you with any programming language or framework or whatever it is.

So that’s it in general, take a video course in its entirety by itself, would be my utmost recommendation. I hope that helped, if you have got any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

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