The Java industry is quite competitive. Although it is one of the most popular programming languages, so much work is going on in the field of Java programming that quality programmers are quickly lapped up by big and small companies whether they are making software applications, web apps or mobile apps.
In such a highly competitive industry, how do you get hired as a Java programmer?
Why are there so many programmers for Java in the industry?
Java is one of the top 3 popular programming languages, constantly competing with Python and C. Python is popular because it is comparatively easier to write web applications with it. C is a conventional language in which millions of software products have been developed and deployed. Then comes Java.
As a programming language Java was developed in 1991. The developers of Java didn’t have big ambitions for the programming language. All they wanted to have was an easy language carrying English keywords but that could be used to write machine level programs for intelligent appliances and gadgets. Hence, the Java programming language was born.
It caught on quickly because it was easy to learn and easier to program. Since its beginning Java has been an extensible language. Want a feature and the feature does not exist in Java? You can simply make an API call and use a Java library to extend its capabilities.
With thousands of APIs and Java libraries existing in free to use repositories, you can do possibly everything with Java.
Then of course, a big part of the Android operating system is built on Java. If you want to do mobile app development, although you can do without the knowledge of Java, more than often, some level of Java programming is needed to build quality mobile apps.
One of the biggest reasons why there is such a demand for Java programmers is that it is a machine-independent programming language, and in fact, one of the very few languages that allow you to develop programs that work in every machine. What does that mean?
There are different computer architectures and operating systems in the world. 3 major operating systems, excluding mobile OSes, are Windows, Linux/UNIX and Mac OS.
The problem with other programming languages is that if you want to target customers using all these operating systems, you need to build 3 separate versions of your software. This increases cost. You need different maintenance teams. Whenever you’re updating code, you need to update code for all the operating systems. In case there is a bug, it probably exists for all the operating systems.
In Java there is no such problem. Java needs a virtual environment to run. As long as you have a virtual environment called the JRE running on the machine, it doesn’t matter whether you have a Windows computer, a Linux computer or Mac OS. The same application is going to run. This makes your programs cost effective and easier to maintain.
Hence, like these, there are multifarious reasons why the Java programming language is so popular and why often, it is difficult to get hired in the Java industry.
Getting hired in the Java industry
Of course, every industry looks for competitive programmers. As long as Java is a popular programming language, there are going to be opportunities for talented programmers. Just because you know how to program in Java won’t guarantee you a job. Every student knows elementary programming. Below we are listing a few things you can take care of to get hired in the Java industry.
Get the basics cleared first
This is very important. Unless you know the basics, you are not going to be able to understand the advanced concepts.
You should know the basic syntax of the core Java programming language. You must be well versed with the object-oriented programming concepts. You must also obtain familiarity with how Java works.
How do you obtain such knowledge?
You can read books. You can download and study code from the biggest code libraries online.
There are many online communities that allow you to participate in competitive programming events in which you must build fully functional projects. After you have uploaded the projects, the other programmers go through your code and make suggestions. This is a very good way of learning the Java programming language and improving your prospects of getting hired in the Java industry.
You must have read on our website that some time back Oracle purchased Java from Sun Microsystems. To encourage programmers, the Oracle company provides many certification courses in Java programming. If you can take one of these courses, they will immensely improve your programming skills.
As a professional Java programmer, you must also develop skills for
- Debugging code written by other programmers.
- Deploying Java programs on servers.
- Working with Java Virtual Machine (JVM)
- Integrating existing Java applications with other existing applications or new applications.
Develop your Java programming skills according to various entry levels
When you want to be hired in the Java industry, you must recognize your current skill level. The various skill levels and the things you must know in those levels are listed below:
- A fresher Java programmer: You must have the knowledge of object-oriented analysis and design patterns. You should also know Java/J2EE. Working knowledge of XML, XML queries and XSL can be an additional qualification. You should be familiar with data structures and algorithms. You must be able to build basic level Java based web services. Concepts like relational databases, SQL and ORM must be familiar to you.
- A junior level Java programmer: Aside from the skills and knowledge areas mentioned above you should be able to work in Enterprise Java Beans, memory management as well as multithreading and synchronization.
- A senior Java developer: After acquiring the skills mentioned above, you should be adept at code optimization and an ability to learn new programming concepts and methodologies faster. You must also be able to manage system level programs and deployments.
- A Java programming architect: All the skills mentioned above and specializations in some of them.
Acquire an expertise in mobile app development
Every software application these days has its mobile counterpart. Hence, even if you are working on enterprise level software project, there is a great probability that you will also be working on its mobile version.
There are hundreds of thousands of mobile app developers in Java, but there is always a scarcity of good, talented programmers. Hone your skills as much as possible. What should you learn if you want to become a better mobile app developer as a Java programmer?
You can learn to work in Android studio. There is an IDE (integrated development environment) provided by Google for the Android operating system. The Software Development Kit that comes with it not just supports Java but also other programming languages like Kotlin and C++.
Although as a Java programmer you won’t have much to deal with user interface because most of the mobile app development teams have dedicated user interface experts, you should have a basic knowledge of how the GUI works on mobile devices to gain an edge over other programmers.
Gain knowledge of web development
Develop an understanding for enterprise applications
Enterprise applications are used by big organizations, something like Oracle itself. They have big programming teams. Sometimes, hundreds of programmers are working all over the globe on the same project.
Hence, you must have great communication skills. You must have a fair knowledge of the technologies in the Java ecosystem such as Spring, Maven, Gradle, Spock, Hibernate, Ant and many others.
You should be familiar with version control systems such as Git and GitHub. You should have a strong knowledge of data structures and collections.
Become a game developer
Love to play computer and mobile games? Then you definitely want to get hired in the Java industry as a game developer.
Game development in Java has its own niche. Major game development companies such as Nintendo, Microsoft Xbox and Sony work in C++ and Java is used only as an option so that where the mainstream games cannot be run, they can be run inside the JVM. Many renowned games including Minecraft (at least the Java version) and Mission Impossible III have their Java versions. Here is a Wikipedia listing of all the major games that have their Java versions.
With Android, it’s a totally different thing. Since Android itself has been developed majorly in Java, there are some great mobile games developed in Java including Pokémon Go and Flappy Bird.
In fact, there is a better chance of getting hired in the Java industry these days as a mobile game developer compared to a software developer.
You need to wear different hats as a programmer whether you program in Java or any other language. The cutting-edge industry is highly competitive. It is not just knowing how to code, you must be able to work with the latest technologies and programming conventions. You must understand different architectures and how they respond to software and apps. Most importantly, you should be able to work on bigger teams. This improves your chances of getting hired in the Java industry manifold.