There are many coding languages out there, but there’s one big name that’s sure to come up time and time again: Java.
Originally called Oak, Java dates all the way back to 1991. By 1995, it had gained the name we now all recognise, and continued it’s meteoric rise in popularity. Currently, it’s the third most sought after language by hiring managers, and the second most known.
What is Java?
Although many competitors have challenged the market in that time, Java still has a reputation for being a crucial language for any software developer. It’s also not too challenging for beginners – meaning if the only ‘programming’ experience you have is writing your company’s phone tree template, or uploading a wordpress template, you should still be able to master it.
Why learn Java?
Here are eight big reasons why:
#01. Java is Popular
Oracle estimates that Java runs on over 15 billion devices worldwide, so it is well worth getting to grips with. According to the TIOBE index, Java is the 3rd most popular programming language.
This popularity directly leads to some of the other reasons on our list – there are plenty of jobs available that require it, as well as communities that can help you learn it.
#02. It’s Used for Everything
Java can be used to create business apps, automated tests, mobile games, and more. If it’s something you want to code, you can almost certainly use Java. Many top companies including Android, Nasa, Apple and Google already use it for healthcare, defense systems, technology and more.
It’s even been used to power interplanetary operating systems on Mars, for the Curiosity Rover! Whatever you are thinking of developing, whatever platform you use, Java can help you do just that.
In 2020, Java celebrated its 25th anniversary with its latest version – Java 16. It has already proved that it is a stable language, showing no signs of going anywhere. This makes it perfect for whatever project you are working on, from a CCaaS platform to a game engine.
Having been around for so long, Java has been able to ensure the coding language is the best it can be, consistently improving and updating their services. If you need stability, Java is a safe bet.
Learning a new language can be daunting and face some difficult challenges, but with Java, it doesn’t have to be. The form of the language makes it ideal for beginners, being easy to pick up and start using right away! Let’s take a look at some of the specific reasons why it’s so great for beginners:
As a high-level language, its style and syntax are quite similar to English, making it easy to learn quickly and understand. This makes it easier to interpret the programming behind your company’s call queueing system, webpage or whatever project you work on.
Unlike lower-level languages, it is not all 1’s and 0’s, making it readable and clearer to interpret for those just starting out.
Object-oriented programming (OOP)
Java is object-oriented, meaning the various objects already contain the data and code needed to create forms and procedures. Should you change or move an object, all the data and coding comes with it, making it quick to use, edit and build on. This is carried across Java’s range of platforms and systems, including Java ME.
Object-oriented programming also leaves little room for errors in coding, making it clear where issues arise. For a beginner, this is great for helping you learn from your mistakes and ensure your coding is thorough.
Write once, run anywhere (WORA)
Java is easy to use across platforms, requiring you to code just once before using the code on any platform of your choosing. As companies grow and require more software, this feature takes out unnecessary hassle and helps to systemise your business, streamlining your processes and minimising additional programming.
By being platform independent, you can both save time and ensure consistency in your code and tools, regardless of platform.
Java online courses
If you are not confident in teaching yourself Java, there are plenty of online courses teaching Java, at every price point. From teaching the basics, making a whiteboard app, to tricks and tips for those who have been using it for a while, there is something for everyone and no shortage of help available to those learning.
These can fit into any attention-span or time limit, so it is well worth giving them a browse if you find yourself needing a little guidance.
#05. The large community of users
With Java, you are certainly never alone, with more than 9 million developers using it worldwide, according to Oracle. Being a part of such a large community of users has some great perks including a huge amount of help available online from users.
On Stack Overflow, over 1,000,000 questions are tagged with the term ‘Java’, offering seemingly limitless advice and tips on how to use it, as well as users helping each other in how to set up a conference call or overcoming other challenges they may face.
If you have a question, chances are someone has already asked it before and a community of Java developers have answered it too.
#06. Handy tools
Along with being a well-used language, key features that make it easy to learn and popular, Java also has many handy tools. Software platforms, such as JavaFX, help run applications or function across a range of devices.
By using resources and tools put together by other users, you can quickly insert coding and data into your programming without doing all the hard work alone. This makes learning it a lot faster and simpler, as you can start using these tools with only a basic understanding of the language.
When considering agile vs waterfall development methods, you’ll want to factor in what resources are available. With Java, open-source libraries can work flexibly with either, allowing quick prototyping to prove design concepts.
This makes it a great solution if you’re on an agile sprint, but it can also work as part of more traditional waterfall development strategies.
Open-source libraries store various coding and programming for an assortment of different purposes, meeting whatever needs your company may have. Using these (for free!) allows developers to make use of code they need, knowing it has already been tested and is available to use.
However, it’s important to check the licensing of the libraries first, as there may be a license cost for using them in a commercial setting.
Integrated Development Environments (IDE)
An integrated development environment can help make code easier to read and comprehend through providing different languages, highlighting syntax, debugging code, completing code and even automated refactoring.
This can include the integration of automated testing tools, allowing for continuous testing in DevOps. Each of these can ensure you have working code at every stage of the development.
#07. Highly sought after in employees
Learning Java is not only a handy skill but looks amazing on a CV. Companies are constantly seeking Java developers, with the average salary lying between $51k to $117k per year. Java gives you the skills needed server-side as a software developer, making you incredibly employable and giving you a competitive edge.
As mentioned above, many leading companies rely on Java in some capacity, and making yourself Java literate can be worth a lot, both in job offers and salaries.
Everybody loves something free, and Java is just that! If you are planning on using it for development and test environments, you can learn and practise without paying a penny.
For commercial purposes, there is a small fee but it is easily one of the most affordable languages to learn. This makes it more accessible for developers and companies from all backgrounds, as well as being suitable for individuals learning by practising.
Start learning today
So what are you waiting for? Whether you want to create an enterprise cloud communications platform, an ecommerce mobile app, or even a mod for Minecraft, Java can help you achieve it.
Learning Java can give you skills that companies are constantly looking for in their developers. There has never been a better time to give it a go, with millions of other users offering help and advice across the internet.
With Java being used everywhere, from social media to space, it certainly has universal application, with simple coding across platforms. And, being free, there is no reason not to try it out!