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Introduction to C# Joes 2 Pros (C# Exam Prep 70-536) Paperback – June 10, 2010
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That said, if you have C# experience or are more intermediate, this book is probably too basic for you. This book literally is a wonderful first step to going from a Joe to a Pro. It won't make you a pro, but it will make you feel like you could one day be one! I sincerely hope Joes 2 Pros puts out more C# books... Intermediate and Advanced would be WONDERFUL!
Once I started reading and teaching out of this book I was very pleased with its layout. Bako is a good writer who takes his time with the subject matter, fully explaining, in as non-technical a manner as possible, how the code works. He uses lots of great analogies to help you understand what the code and the computer is doing. He goes through a math chapter so you understand the difference between base 10 (decimal), base 2 (binary) and base 16 (hexadecimal) math, and a chapter on debugging so that you know how to set breakpoints in Visual Studio. This is great because learning Visual Studio can be as daunting to the beginner as learning the language itself.
There are code challenges at the end of the chapters and a set of end of chapter review questions, which I really like because I can assign them out to kids so I can figure out the level of learning going on (formative assessments).
Here's how I teach using this book: I fire up Visual Studio (teachers and students can participate in Microsoft's DreamSpark program--see [...] and obtain legal free copies of Visual Studio) and we go through the code in the book together. I think it's very important to not just let kids read the book on their own and do their own programming without some guidance from the teacher. The kids will get into the weeds and come up with lots of interesting compilation errors: this is the time when the teacher cannot only directly assist students, but can also show examples to others on how the compilation error happened and how to correct it. I periodically stop as we're going and ask the kids questions about what we've just done (summative assessments).
My students are required to read the chapter, write, successfully debug and compile the code, and turn in the end of chapter review questions at a minimum. They can also attempt the code challenges for extra credit.
Bako's book is perfect for this kind of teaching. So many "how-to-code" books are written by expert coders who have no idea how to down-scale their communication style in order to reach the neophyte who doesn't even know the lingo, let alone the programming language syntax itself. Bako expertly accomplishes this translation process for you, so you don't feel like a dummy trying to decipher technical language.
In some cases authors are required to write to a set of certification exam guidelines which also rules out the neophyte because they simply cannot reach to the level of complete understanding a certification exam requires. Bako isn't tied to this: His goal stays true to the title: Joes 2 Pros. While I don't think you'll be a pro C# developer at the end of his book, I do think you'll have a much better handle on what C# is and how to use Visual Studio to write programs. This is a great starting book for the raw beginner from 11th grade to adult. Learning C# is an important step for anyone wanting to learn how to develop software.
The writing style is relaxed, yet it maintains a professional tone. Topics are explained well with good -- working -- examples. The points to ponder at the end of each chapter are helpful. The quizzes are short and to the point. The challenges are encouraging and help build your confidence.
I'll update this review once I am done.
To be fair I have general programming knowledge and was looking for a book to refresh me on my C# fundamentals when I bought this. So I am not a complete lay person reading this book. But I think someone starting out would find this book very valuable. Looking back I feel confident I would have too.
The author begins with just enough of an introduction to the C# Integrated Development Environment and the simplest example of the C# language that you can stick a toe in the water and actually run some C# that you have coded yourself - from his very clear instructions. Gradually, step by step, the author builds on the simplest elements and with the most logical approach he sets building block on top of building block. If you code and run his C# examples as you proceed through each chapter you will rapidly gain confidence in the C# language and the Integrated Development environment. By the end of the book you will be comfortable with C#, the C# Integrated Development Environment and will have practical examples of the Object Oriented framework as opposed to procedural framework of COBOL.