This work collects practical activities for new computer practioners in a single convenient source that is equally suitable for self-study and for use in a university or four-year college course. Computer Science programs in academia address the need for software-creation experience via courses and individual activities. Student designs and software engineering projects are at the heart of those activities. This book provides the student and the instructor ways to make the most of experience-oriented efforts designed to give skills to new individuals in computing.

The materials induce people who normally work alone to cooperate in a group task. They consist of methods to develop three items valuable in the business world.

1. Some kind of regularity of work hours.

2. Written records of work accomplished.

3. Purposeful improvements of personal skill at oral, visual and textual exposition.

They provide insight into the operation of the marketplace for computer-based innovation and information about working to break into this field.

One way to look at Computer Science is as many kinds of innovations collected and described by fields: e.g., computer hardware, systems analysis, software, theory, networks, methodology, and communications. To a student or an interested individual these categories can be something of an obstacle to overcome in order to begin working with computing. Yet several advances in the computer hardware, software, and networks areas started by someone pursuing an idea. More to the point, most of the work to making computer ideas have impact does not require a large amount of preliminary background.

Working successfully with new concepts in the computer field requires skills, effort and perseverance but it is independent of large amounts of preliminary knowledge and capital. That is one reason why the field is evolving dynamically.

This work asks its readers to stand back from computers. It begins with the reality that the computer is a tool. It asks those who use computers, students, teachers, readers, to point to the things they've done, speak and write about what they've achieved. It suggests methods to focus on an audience, shift stance from passive to active, and find in oneself and one's partners ways to move hopes into plans and plans into products. It requires reporting about some achievement, and provides continuing reinforcement of success-oriented practices. It asks that the report be preceded by oral presentations, that comments and suggestions by peers be obtained to improve initial efforts, and that even in the absence of external inputs each reader uses his/her own self-critical abilities to improve the work.

Individuals following the suggestions, elements, and means given in the body of this book find that they will write less, but say more about what they have used computers to accomplish. They will become skillful at helping others and themselves to enable new products based on computer technology. Finally, they will gain understanding and skill on presenting achievements to others to gain allies and sponsors.