Ask a group of developers which programming language you should master, and you will likely get some pretty passionate responses. Many people have their favored languages. These are often the ones that have either served them well in their careers, or new languages they have mastered. If it’s the latter, they are often still enamored of the nifty features they have discovered.
Then there’s the inevitable, ‘my language is better than your language’ discussion. This is simply a waste of time. Any language that has been used to create production ready software has been beneficial to at least one organization after all.
Still, there’s nothing wrong with promoting a language that is easy to learn, in demand, and useful across multiple industries. In this case, that article is Java. If you’ve been on the fence about adding this to your skill set, keep reading. Here are seven reasons why Java should be next on your list of skills to master.
1. Job Opportunities
Simply put, Java is an in demand skill. If you have Java skills, and can prove your ability to apply those skills, you won’t have trouble finding job opportunities. Even better, according to Payscale, the average salary for a Java developer is more than 72K per year. At the high end of the payscale, they can earn well over 100K.
Even better, as long as Android apps are popular, Java will be in demand. It’s the official development language of the platform. A large number of the apps that you see developed for it are at least partially, if not fully developed in Java.
2. It’s Open Source
In addition to being widely in demand, Java is an open source language. This means that developers don’t need to pay for compilers or development environments. Instead, they can simply use OpenJDK or another development option. There’s no cost to them.
As an open source language, Java is also completely platform independent. What you develop in Java can be ported across multiple operating systems.
Most importantly, all of this means that you can easily jump into Java, and start experimenting. There are no startup costs involved. So, even failed development experiments are free, and can help emerging developers learn the ins and outs of the language.
3. The Development Tools Can’t be Beat
There are multiple, high functioning, integrated development environments for Java. Not only do these make coding in Java enjoyable, they make it easier to deploy useful Java based applications. Netbeans and Eclipse are just two examples of these. A great IDE can make the coding process much simpler. Even better, it’s much easier to create high quality software thanks to the debugging help these tools provide.
To help developers ensure that they produce great products that are ready for public consumption, there are also a variety of testing tools. Developers should get familiar with at least a couple of these. Failing to properly test software can damage your reputation as a developer, and using tools helps to ensure the process is as thorough as it needs to be. Java programmers should always have at least one or two testing utilities in their arsenal.
4. There’s a Great Developer Community
What do you get when you combine a in demand programming language, and a large community of developers? You get a great developer community that you can use as a resource as you learn Java, and apply it in your career or as a hobby. If you run into a problem developing an app, or are confused about something related to the Java language, it’s pretty easy to find someone who is willing to help you along. This great feedback is crucial to developing your skills.
Of course, to become a part of the Java community, you will be expected to give as well as take. That’s pretty easy though. The best thing to do is to find open source projects. There, you can take part in some great development projects. You will be able to learn from other developers, improve your coding skills, get new project ideas, and see some great examples of professional coding.
One of the most popular hubs is Github. In fact, you may be familiar with some of their most popular Java development projects. If you haven’t already, go ahead and get active there. Not only will you learn a lot, Github is the perfect place to host your own projects. It’s a portfolio of sorts for developers. Members can also access the GitHub community forum to participate in discussions on a wide variety of Java and other topics.
5. t’s Very Intuitive
Java is a very common first timer’s language for a reason. It’s exceptionally intuitive. It’s written at a very high level, making it very close to standard written language. At least it does when compared to many other languages. Anyone can master Java.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean that you can become an advanced developer in no time. That’s untrue. In fact, anyone who wants to learn Java should be absolutely skeptical if they see courses promising to teach them Java in a week.
The beauty of Java is that you will be actively developing before long. This makes the process of advancing your skills much more enjoyable. With some languages, you can spend weeks learning without ever producing an executable piece of software.
Jordan Ellers is a science and tech writer for Trust my Paper who says, “If it helps, think of learning Java like learning how to play racquetball. You can be up and playing, and having a great time, in just a short amount of time. However, progressing to an advanced level takes some work. Still, that work can be quite a bit of fun if you involve yourself in great projects and communities.”
6. There Are a Ton of Online Learning Opportunities
Software and app development is a great field for anyone to enter. Unlike other fields where a degree is virtually mandated, development is a bit different. Now more than ever, people are more interested in your skills than whether or not you have a formal degree.
This is great, as you can save money on tuition, and use one of the many online learning resources that are available. Many of these are free. There are also enough of them that it should be pretty easy to find one or more that matches your learning style. Here are just a few resources:
- Java Tutorials From Oracle
- Java Code Geeks
If you happen to learn better in a classroom setting, you can still pick up Java relatively quickly. Check out your local community college. There are probably a few java courses you can take without signing on as a full time student. Even if you pay out of pocket, you can pick up this valuable skill for not much more than a grand.
Whatever you choose, if you can pass the Oracle Java certification exam, you will be in a great position.
7. It’s Used Everywhere
Java has been around for a long time. It’s stable, reputable, and popular. Java is also very scalable. As a result, Java is everywhere. In fact, you probably use several applications of it each and every day. Java can be found on mobile apps, deployed in websites, in shrink wrapped software, for personal use, and at the enterprise level.
Not only does this lead to more job openings, it leads to more choices. Whether you want to work from home, developing apps for pay, as an in house developer at a large corporation, or as part of a game development team, there are opportunities for you.
It’s in demand. It’s fun to learn. The developers earn a great salary. Developer startup costs are negligible. Most importantly, it’s everywhere! Why wouldn’t you want to add Java to the list of languages that you’ve mastered?