Chair of Fairfield University's Computer Engineering program publishes book for computer programmers seeking to learn Java


Douglas Lyon

As more and more computer programming jobs are shipped overseas, domestic programmers are seeking ways to maintain their marketability, said Douglas Lyon, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Computer Engineering department in Fairfield University's School of Engineering.

With that need in mind, Dr. Lyon recently completed his third book, "Java for Programmers" (Prentice Hall 2004), to help "re-skill" computer programmers who were trained in older computer languages as well as those who need a more advanced understanding of Java.

"Programmers are hurting," Dr. Lyon said, noting that his students often express their concerns about their jobs being exported. "The only constant in this industry is change and nothing goes dull so fast as a skill set. Re-skilling has become a primary way to maintain competitiveness in the industry."

"Most of the new jobs that appear in industry are in newer languages, like Java. Older languages, like FORTRAN, Pascal, Visual Basic, C, and even C++, are falling out of favor," said Dr. Lyon.

For example, a www.dice.com search showed that there are 50 Java jobs for every FORTRAN job. With Pascal jobs the ratio is more than 280 to 1. With Visual Basic, a more modern language, the ratio is a bit better, at over 4 to 1. Even the more modern object-oriented languages, like C++ are falling out of favor (with a ratio of 1.6 to 1) and C is even worse off, Dr. Lyon said.

Java for ProgrammersJava was only invented in 1995, and has gained acceptance as a widely used language in only 9 years. "Computer programmers whose current positions rely on older languages find their skills are now obsolete. Many programmers in this area may have gotten their start in the defense industry, but in order to parlay their talents to, say the 450 dot-com companies in Fairfield County, they would likely need to learn upgrade their skill set," Dr. Lyon said.

Dr. Lyon will use his new text in courses he teaches at Fairfield University for the Master's program in Electrical and Computer Engineering offered by the School of Engineering. Dr. Lyon is co-director of the ECE program.

"Java is becoming the lingua franca of the Internet, as well as the favorite vehicle for a first course in programming," said George Nagy, Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in his foreword for the book. "Dr. Lyon has set out to do for Java what Strunk and White did for English: he shows how to write pithy, effective Java code."

Carl Weiman, Ph.D., Cooper Union, writes: "Dr. Lyon's book is unique and refreshing because it spans all the novel and valuable features of Java Technology, such as OOP and built-in web functionality, in a clear, head-on fashion. His crisp writing style and clear examples carry the reader to the heart of Java and implant the concepts firmly in the reader's mind. This book is a must-use for teachers of Java at all levels and for professional developers in any field of application that uses Java."

Dr. Lyon is President of Milford-based DocJava Inc., a Java technology consulting firm that does industrial training, program architecture and development. Dr. Lyon holds a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in computer and systems engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has worked as a researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and as chief scientist at Raytel Inc. Dr. Lyon worked at AT&T Bell Labs prior to becoming a faculty member at the University of Bridgeport, where he was also founding director of the image sequence processing lab. Dr. Lyon joined Fairfield University in 1999.

In addition to "Java for Programmers," he has published "Java Digital Signal Processing" (MIS Press 1997), and "Image Processing in Java" (Prentice Hall 1999).

"Java for Programmers" retails for $50 and is available at Amazon.com and other booksellers. The book can be purchased directly from Dr. Lyon via his website: www.docjava.com for $45. For more information about the book, please contact Dr. Lyon at (203) 254-4000, ext. 3155. Media inquiries can be made to Dana Ambrosini, assistant director of Media Relations at Fairfield University, at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 6, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 201