I received this request today:
"I want to learn PL/SQL but doubt I can; I want to understand,write and fix other's code, but where do I begin? I do not like sticking to code for hours; my head hurts. But I would like to go from complete ignorance to be like you!"
That set back in my Swopper chair for a moment. He wants to go from complete ignorance to being "just like Steven" without sticking his head deep inside code for hours.
Well, first of all, to anyone wanting to learn PL/SQL: do not doubt yourself! You can do it. PL/SQL is a relatively easy language to learn, especially compared to Java.
Second, I don't think are a whole lot of shortcuts you can take. That is, if you want to be an expert programmer, you will stick your head into code for hours. But:
1. Take lots of breaks! You don't have to get headaches.
2. Certainly learning from obsessive people like me can accelerate you along that learning curve to expertise.
In fact, you may want to consider attending one (or more) of my Fast Track PL/SQL webinars, sponsored by Quest. There is one more this month, and then we will likely plan another series soon.
Beyond that, I offer the following advice to "newbies" and others seeking assistance on PL/SQL:
http://tahiti.oracle.com - Oracle documentation available online
http://www.oracle.com/technology/tech/pl_sql/index.html - OTN PL/SQL information
http://www.oracle.com/technology/pub/columns/plsql/index.html - links to articles on OTN
http://oracle-developer.net - detailed explorations into various PL/SQL topics by Adrian Billington
http://forums.oracle.com/forums/forum.jsp?forum=75 - the PL/SQL forum at Oracle
http://asktom.oracle.com - the amazing Ask Tom column
In addition, there are a number of "beginner books", including:
Learning Oracle PL/SQL http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596001803 (I am a co-author on this one)
Oracle PL/SQL for Dummies http://www.amazon.com/Oracle-SQL-Dummies-Michael-Rosenblum/dp/0764599577
Finally, I also encourage you to play the PL/SQL Challenge ( www.plsqlchallenge.com ) - a daily PL/SQL quiz with cash and other prizes!