What is Java? Why Java? How to learn Java? These and many more questions are going to be covered below. And, as an experienced Java tutor, I dare say I can bate the curiosity of both fellow students and hobbyists alike. So, let’s get started!
Starting with the basics, I’d like to tell you what exactly Java is and what it’s mainly used for. Actually, Java is one of the most popular programming languages with more than 25 years of success. First released by Sun Microsystems in 1995, it still remains among the top 3 programming languages and doesn’t show any sign of declining in use because of its simplicity and versatility. It’s a fundamentally class-based, object-oriented language, which is considered to be pretty easy. But besides the fact that Java is simple to write and easy to run, this programming language is very robust as Java objects contain no references to data external to themselves.
Another point in favor of Java is that you can run it almost wherever and whenever, i.e., apps written in Java can be distributed for a single computer or across servers and clients in an extensive network of multiple devices. In other words, Java is widely used for developing Web apps, Android apps, Scientific apps, and creating software tools like Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, NetBeans IDE, and others. Moreover, Java is more widespread in your daily life than you might think. The truth is, it’s used for developing such giants as Google, YouTube, Linkedin, Amazon, eBay, and many other popular services. And here arises the following question…
Highly! Java language is used everywhere, from mobile phones to supercomputers, with the increasing number of small and big businesses investing in app development to skyrocket their sales. And if you browse through such popular job websites like Indeed and Glassdoor, you’ll find more than 85,000 job openings for Java developers only in the USA. Furthermore, according to ZipRecruiter’s data, the salary of a Java developer in the USA may go as high as $105,453 per year.
Are you not convinced yet? According to the latest researches, a post of a Java developer takes the first place in the rating of jobs with the lowest career switch rate, which means Java specialists get not only a high salary but a high level of satisfaction as well. So, if you’re after a decent, exciting job that will keep you motivated, you can’t go wrong with becoming a Java programmer.
You may think that there are lots of other programming languages besides Java, so why not start with an alternative? In reality, the foundational strength of Java is that it’s exceptionally simple to write and to run, which is particularly tempting for complete beginners with no background and knowledge of other programming languages. And even though some Java “opponents” say there are many different languages with even easier syntax, only a few programming languages can boast such an abundance of official databases and support from communities. This mix makes Java one of the quickest languages to learn.
Well, everything depends on some factors like your background, the time spent daily studying, and your learning program. On average, if you have zero programming skills, you’ll need about 12–18 months to get your first job as a Java programmer (granted that you spend at least 2–3 hours on learning per day). Of course, the key to successful learning lies mainly in the resources you use, motivation, and a plan.
Create a learning plan. Actually, an effective learning plan is one of the most important things that will help you stay consistent and, hence, learn Java quickly. Though most beginners understate the importance of a well-thought-out plan, it’s the thing that no successful Java student can do without. Luckily, I’ve already written a comprehensive and concise plan so that you won’t be caught off guard by numerous Java topics. By sticking to it, you’ll be able to study regularly and get the right amount of information step-by-step. The only thing you should avoid is taking long breaks since my experience shows that students who tend to take long pauses may progress relatively slowly.
Practice. Once you feel that you’re ready to start coding, do that! Try to hone your Java coding skills after each theory block. You shouldn’t necessarily need to create complex codes. Instead, you can learn from others’ code or try some interactive approaches to practicing, like re-making popular games.
Use the power of Java communities. One of the most substantial reasons for Java’s popularity is its active community support. With tens of millions of Java developers all around the world, the community continues to grow and inspire (Java is the second-largest programming language among the Stack Overflow community). So, you can always rely on your peers on the Net to help you out if you happen to get stuck in a programming rut.
Since Java is an ultra-popular programming language, there are tons of different online resources that can help you learn Java quickly and effectively. Among the best ones, I can highlight:
Codegym. It’s an online course that doesn’t require you to wait for an offline group to form and the whole course to begin. You can study at your comfortable pace both on desktop and mobile devices. The course is suitable for complete newbies — it’s well-structured and consists of theory and 1200 practical tasks with 500+ practicing hours in total. Codegym boasts non-boring teaching techniques, including visualization, motivation, storytelling, gaming, and dozens of other engaging technologies. And to make learning even more fun, Codegym offers a large community, meaning there will always be someone a few clicks away to help you out.
Codecademy is one more online interactive platform that offers coding classes in more languages than just Java. It uses a user-friendly web IDE, where you can write your own code, and it’ll be checked immediately. The website also includes helpful hints and the FAQ section handy for novice learners. The lectures in this course are easy-understandable and full of graphic visuals.
Treehouse is an e-learning platform that offers courses in web development, mobile development, game development, and web design. The lessons are created by a team of experts that can help you boost your level from beginner to advanced. This platform is best suitable for programmers and web designers.
Code on a daily basis! You can’t succeed only by reading theory or watching Youtube tutorials on how to learn Java. It would be best if you tried sticking to the ideal theory-practice balance with 80% of your time focused on practice and 20% devoted to theory. And the earlier you’ll get down to writing your own codes, the faster you’ll succeed. Practice is the key to learning coding.
That just being said, a theory is undoubtedly an essential part at the beginning. Hopefully, in our Internet era, you can find books and tutorials online. I recommend looking through the top collections of books for learning Java to find your cup of tea. “22 Best Java Books For Beginners and Advanced learners In 2021” and Best Books to Learn Java for Beginners and Experts are my personal favorites.
Again, no matter what book you choose, avoid overloading yourself with too much theory — try to learn Java in small portions, especially during the first months of study, and after each topic, sharpen your knowledge with practice.
As already mentioned, Java can be run almost anywhere at any time, and it constantly helps create many new projects in the tech industry, starting from e-commerce websites to android apps, from games to desktop apps.
- Android Apps. Just open any Android phone and any app, and you’ll see everything is written in Java.
- Server Apps in the Financial Services Industry. Java has entered a serious world of the front, and back-office electronic trading systems, and currently, lots of global Investment banks use Java as the main programming language for their apps.
- Java Web applications. E-commerce and web application space also can’t do without Java. Many healthcare, insurance, and education companies have their apps created in Java.
- Software Tools. Many valuable tools like Eclipse IDE, IntelliJ Idea, and NetBeans IDE are written and developed in Java.
- Big Data technologies. Although Java isn’t prevailing in big data technologies, it’s still widely used in this field.
Besides the said spaces, Java is extensively used in other spheres. Technology is advancing at an incredible rate, meaning there are lots of upcoming job opportunities, and developers who have a solid knowledge of Java are in great demand.
Just like there is no fast rule for learning Java, there is no age bar. It’s never too late to learn Java, and the interest may grow in you at any age. Moreover, when you have a universal database of study (I mean the Internet), you’re not bound to institutions and their age limits. Choose a comfortable, consistent schedule and effective courses for learning Java to succeed and even exceed fellow learners.
What’s more, a software developer’s career can last a whole life since Java specialists are always in demand, no matter the age. Even 60+-year-old coders often get offers from respectable companies. And your working life will always be interesting since technologies change at an incredible rate and there is always room for improvement. Not without reason, software developers have the lowest career-switch rate (less than 8%) out there!
You can learn new things anytime you want. Life is full of challenges, and if you’re interested in learning Java, take it as a challenge and go for it! Learning new things doesn’t depend on age. If you stay consistent and are armed with the right resources, you’ll be able to advance your skills and become a demanded Java developer. Good luck!
First published here.