The demand for highly skilled Java developers has been increasing year on year, with organizations ready and willing to splurge on them.
Becoming a Java developer is not easy with new tools, trends, and frameworks emerging frequently but the time is ripe to skill up. Here's a 3-step guide to help you kick-start your career in Java programming.
1. Start at Java 8
The latest version of Java SE - version 16, came out in March of this year but Java 8 remains a popular language used in production. This is because it’s a Long Term Support version which means that it will receive updates and support for much longer than its counterparts.
Establishing a strong foundation in Java 8 is a crucial first step in your professional Java programming journey. An optional second step would be to learn about the new and improved features released in Java 9 and 10, including (but not limited to) Project Jigsaw for modularity, JShell, and local variable type inference.
2. Build Android Applications
Though Java is used to build desktop and web apps, games, and scientific applications too, familiarizing yourself with its most common use - mobile application development - will provide you with a solid footing, if you haven’t yet decided what you’d like to specialize in developing.
There are over 3 billion active Android devices and with the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) and an IDE, you can bring just about any of your app ideas to life.
A good place to begin learning is Documentation for Android Developers. As the subheading states, you can find just about everything you need to know here - best practices, sample codes, and full-fledged tutorials.
It’s also useful to stay in touch with trends in the app development world, to incorporate them into your own projects. For example, chatbots (which are often pitted against mobile apps) are expected to be integrated with many more businesses’ mobile apps in 2021.
3. Fiddle with Frameworks
Frameworks exist to make development easier. They’re foundations, or prewritten code, on which you can build. The most commonly used ones in Java are Spring, Hibernate, JavaServer Faces (JSF), and Struts.
Hibernate is a data handling powerhouse, while JSF helps create the frontends of applications. Spring and Struts, simply put, organize your program for you and introduce security among other things.
Incorporating frameworks into your projects not only makes the whole process more efficient but also gives you first-hand experience in building enterprise-level applications.
If there were a 4th step in this guide, it would probably be “learn about containerization”, but we’re sure you’ll find yourself in the Docker & Kubernetes (a pair that’s used for containerizing apps) realm soon - the discovery process of complementary technologies comes naturally when you start building your own projects and your journey in Java forks into different roads.