That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest. - Henry David Thoreau
Question #77075 posted on 04/04/2014 5 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm trying to make an android app, only because I can't find one already available for what I'm looking for. I have no computer experience, and although I found the directions online I'm confused. Is there anywhere/anyone on campus I can go to who can show me what to do so I can understand the instructions? Or a video, I'm a visual learner.

-Zwerg Zwei

A:

Dear Zwerg Zwei, 

Creating an app without a programming background is like writing a paper in a language you don't speak; you probably need a few hundred hours worth of background in computer science before writing your own app is a realistic goal. After taking and getting an A in BYU's intro programming class, CS 142 (which for lots of people requires 20 hours/week for a semester), you could likely make sense of the tutorials that are available online and produce an app if you put a few more weeks (as in 40 hours/week) in. Without getting formal training in CS, you'd need to teach yourself the equivalent. Two or three hundred hours of googling Java tutorials could potentially get you something close to what you'd get from CS 142. There's lots of stuff in the archives about programming, learning to program, etc. that could help you figure out where to start if several hundred hours of self-teaching sounds better than CS 142. (It doesn't to me, but who knows.)

I really would recommend taking CS 142, and I'd recommend it to anyone, not just to you. It teaches you a whole new way of thinking and expressing yourself. I'm emphasizing the time commitment involved not to kill your dream, but to make sure you have realistic expectations. Programming is rewarding, but it's also challenging in ways that non-professionals frequently do not appreciate.

~Professor Kirke

A:

Dear Zwerg,

In this question, I linked to The New Boston, which currently has 200 Android development videos. The first couple videos are all about setting up your programming environment.

You're welcome.

Hobo

A:

Dear Zwerg,

It's getting easier all the time. Try reading this post by Wired. The author pays some money for a templated App and then makes his own Flappy Bird clone. You could probably do the same if you're App-bound. 

If you're serious about making apps, etc.. then CS 142 is one way forward, but there are alternatives. There are plenty of good books out there that'll teach programming (just search Amazon) and lots of example code in many languages (Java, Python, javascript, etc). I took CS 142, but I found myself skipping lecture and just reading the book while munching Cookie Crisp. Maybe that's just me. 

-Castle in the Sky

A:

Dear Zwerg,

If you don't have the time or money to take a full-blown class, you could try an online alternative such as Treehouse. I've been slowly learning HTML and CSS through them for a while, but have courses on many different programming languages (including an Android development track). And at $25/mo, it's a heckova lot cheaper than enrolling in a class at school.

- Beemer Boy