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New to forum, want to learn! Help please

  1. Mar 8, 2016 #1
    Hello All, i'm Kris. So I need your guys help. I have to spend 6 months in jail because of a protective order violation :( - Facebook conversation with my ex. Anyway, I plan to use this time to its FULLEST, and get a kind of "primer" or head start. I've always wanted to get a degree some kind of engineering area. I always used to play with lego's when i was young (im 32 now). I plan on ordering as many books as I am allowed to have. My main intrest is in Compter Engineering. I have NO idea where to even begin, so im here to ask for help on where to begin. What can I get my hands on that will help me learn, or get me headed in a direction.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2016 #2
    Please tell us in detail what math, physics or programming knowledge you have.
  4. Mar 9, 2016 #3
  5. Mar 9, 2016 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to PF!

    If you want to learn about programming then one place to start is with the Processing application:


    It is very easy to use and comes with many examples. The focus is on learning programming through drawing pictures.

    It will require you to be comfortable with some level of high school algebra or beyond.

    Khan's Academy is a good resource for math and computer science videos to get you started:

  6. Mar 9, 2016 #5
    Micromass. I really dont have anything outside High School.
  7. Mar 9, 2016 #6
    Well if you can read jedishrfu has an excellent idea, I been playing on the Khan academy website and I actually had some fun. Refreshed some old HTML and CSS tagging language I forgot I use to play around with.

  8. Mar 9, 2016 #7
    Well, in my introduction i mentioned i had to do 6 months in jail. So this reading is what im going to do in there, so i wont have access to a computer.
  9. Mar 10, 2016 #8
    You will need calculus for any engineering degree, and the best calculus textbook I can recommend you is Leithold's The Calculus 7.
  10. Mar 10, 2016 #9


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    If they OP hasn't done any math since high school, then they should start off with basic algebra first.
  11. Mar 10, 2016 #10
    Of course you can read, and write, that was an attempt at motivation. You aren't in the cooler yet, you obviously have access at least for the moment to a computer NOW, and Khan academy is a great place to start learning some basic computer language. Get to it in the here and now do what you can, learn and take notes. Then get some beginners how to books, some introductory text books, Maybe some of those simple guides. I refreshed on a lot of things that I had forgotten I used to do as a hobby building websites. Its a good place to start to grow your knowledge.

    Note: I ran through the HTML and CSS part of the lessons in less than an hour. Of course I had some back ground but that was at least 15+ years ago. But if I can you can.
  12. Mar 10, 2016 #11


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    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    At 32 and being out of school for a decade (and zero exposure to higher vocational or college education) will mean that you should probably have a plan A and a Plan B (and a Plan C). Plan A, prep for community college program in Associate Engineering or Associate Computer studies (which can lead directly to university).
    Plan B, while preparing for Plan A, also acquire some Vocational education books (these are often written with a more hands on approach with less theory and are more easily read).
    Concentrate on the stuff you like and feel best learning from. If you find that you are spending the most time with the college curriculum, you would be well on your way with Plan A. However, test yourself with practice CLEP exams or other types of third party exams to determine if you are really learning or just going through the motions.
    If you find the Vocational books more appealing ie you are a technical type who likes to work directly with the equipment, you will quickly discover that too.
    Plan C is to explore other areas as well. You have been out of the academic world for over a decade and might consider something completely new. Check with a job consular that will likely be available to you as well.
  13. Mar 11, 2016 #12
    well to be honest. I did learn C++. I bought C++ primer plus and learned it on paper and pencil before i even tried to promgram with a computer. (my way of learning), I also did a year of Applied Science and Computer Engineering Technology at ITT tech in 2011. The reason I never did any college in my 20's is because I always had a good paying job. But I really just want to get into what I love doing, and thats some form of engineering and computers.
  14. Mar 11, 2016 #13
    Also, thankyou guys for all your help and acceptance. I was very worried that once I mentioned jail, your attitude towards me would be negative. Oh and I would like to share my book colletion so farhttps://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/t31.0-8/11044548_10202935008331180_4498565517017776044_o.jpg https://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xal1/t31.0-8/10835332_10202944264842587_3913021954203997712_o.jpg
  15. Mar 11, 2016 #14
    learning calculus wont happen without solid algebra knowledge.

    I recommend you purchase:
    1. Schaums outlines of college algebra (its really good for basics and loads of practice questions)
    2. Schaums outlines of calculus.

    And other books for calculus which others an recommend.
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