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What Is the Java Programming Language? Pros, Cons, Courses and Career Tips

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updated Aug 2, 2022

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Whether you are new to programming or have some experience under your belt already, you probably have come across the Java programming language.

If you are new to Java and programming in general, you’re probably asking yourself:

  • What is the Java programming language?
  • Why should you learn Java?
  • Is Java a sought-after skill in the developer job market?

Although Java is in high demand worldwide, it’s not the right language for everyone. Therefore, you should do your research before you jump into learning Java – and you are in the right place for that.

In this beginner’s guide, I will walk you through the basics of the Java programming language. Throughout the article, I will help you figure out whether Java is the right skill for you, what you can build with it, and where to start learning it right away.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

If you are new to coding, make sure you don’t miss these helpful guides for learning to code more easily:

Please note: This post contains affiliate links to products I use and recommend. I may receive a small commission if you purchase through one of my links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!


Table of contents: What is the Java programming language


What is Java?

Java is a programming language owned and maintained by Oracle. First published in 1995, Java has become the foundation for millions of applications and software solutions worldwide.

Companies mainly use Java to create mid-to-large scale enterprise systems. But it’s also a popular programming language for building Android mobile applications, for example.

Java is platform independent, meaning that it will run on every operating system. Whether you prefer iOS, Windows, or Linux, you can always find a version that works on your computer.

This leads us to one of the biggest advantages of Java: any piece of software or application you build with Java can be compiled and run anywhere.

The platform independence has made Java one of the most popular programming languages worldwide.

With over 10 million Java developers and the community growing as we speak, it’s used by over 34% of all professional developers according to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey.

Most popular programming languages among professional developers – Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2021
Java was the 7th most popular programming language among professional developers in the 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey.

You can find Java across a number of fields and specializations: data analysis, mobile development, web development, etc.

What Java versions are available?

Java is free to download for personal use and for development. You can find all the development kits and other useful tools on the official Oracle website.

Before you download Java, pay attention to the latest release. Find out the current long-term supported version and the rapid-release version of Java.

At the time of writing, Java versions 8, 11, and 17 are the current long-term supported versions. Java 18 is the newest version of the programming language.

Are Java and JavaScript related?

While Java and JavaScript are both programming languages, they are two entirely different tools and skills.

Java is mainly used by businesses to build a variety of enterprise applications.

JavaScript, on the other hand, is the most popular programming language for front-end web development. You can also use JavaScript for back-end web development with Node.js.

So, although they may sound similar at first, Java and JavaScript are not the same thing – nor are they related.

To learn more about JavaScript, check out my free guide: What Is JavaScript? (And How to Learn It Fast)

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What can you use Java for?

Java is a highly versatile programming language, and it will run on every operating system.

Thus, you can use Java for a bunch of different programming projects:

  1. Android mobile applications
  2. Java web applications
  3. Web servers and applications servers
  4. Desktop GUI applications
  5. Enterprise applications (e.g. resource planning and management systems)

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online courses for coding, programming and web development

Why learn Java? Pros and cons of Java

So what are the pros and cons of learning the Java programming language?

Here are a few reasons to take your time to learn Java this year:

Pros:

  • Learning and support resources: Java is the 3rd most popular programming language worldwide, so you can find plenty of helpful resources to learn and practice it.
  • Good amount of job openings: currently you can find over 100,000 jobs on Indeed that mention “java developer”.
  • Lucrative career: Java developers earn an average base salary of $111,297/year in the U.S.
  • Career flexibility: businesses of all shapes and sizes use Java.
The most popular programming languages worldwide – TIOBE Index July 2022
Java is currently the 3rd most popular programming language worldwide (Source: TIOBE Index)

Cons:

  • Java is not as widely used in web development as PHP, Ruby, or Python. It’s currently used by 4% of all the websites whose server-side programming language is known. Compared to PHP with 77% of websites using it, Java may not be the best language to learn if you want to become a web developer.
  • Not the easiest programming language to learn: compared to Python, for example, the Java syntax isn’t as beginner-friendly or easy to read.

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Is Java the right programming language for you?

Whether you want to build mobile applications for Android devices or launch a corporate developer career, learning Java can be a great choice to achieve your goals step-by-step!

As with any programming language, the most important thing to remember is:

You’re not learning Java just for the language per se. Instead, you are learning Java so that you can use the language to solve practical, real-world problems.

Therefore, before you start learning Java, you need to make sure it’s a language you can use for the type of tech projects you are genuinely interested in.

For example, if you want to become a web developer, Java may not be the best programming language to learn. Instead, you may want to look into learning PHP, Ruby, Python, or JavaScript.

In short: learn Java if it’s a language you can use to work on projects you enjoy!

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Learn web development skills and start a career in tech

Where can you learn Java (from scratch)?

Here are a few courses you should check out if you are interested in learning the Java programming language:

  1. Learn Java on Codecademy:
    This 25-hour beginner-level Java course teaches you fundamental programming concepts such as object-oriented programming (OOP) using Java. You will build 7 practical Java projects to help you practice while you learn.
  2. Java Programming Masterclass on Udemy:
    Suitable for absolute beginners, this in-depth Java course helps you build the skills you need to get your first Java programming job. With over 670,000 students, this is one of the most popular and best-rated Java courses you can find.
  3. Java Language Fundamentals on Pluralsight:
    This Java learning path is a collection of beginner, intermediate, and advanced Java courses – an all-in-one learning track for anyone who’s serious about becoming a Java developer from scratch.
Java Programming Masterclass for Java 11 and 17 on Udemy
The Java Programming Masterclass on Udemy gives you lifetime access to the full course curriculum and practice projects.

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How to land your first Java developer job?

Businesses are constantly looking for new, fresh Java skills in the job market. Entry-level and junior developers are lucrative to employers because it’s easier to mould and educate beginner developers to suit their specific needs.

So how do you land your first Java role as easily as possible?

Even if you are new to programming, start by researching job openings to get an overview of the job market in your area. This will give you an overview of:

  1. What types of jobs are available (location, company size, skill level, etc.)
  2. What exact skills are required (specialization in web development, software development, etc.)
  3. How much experience you need (entry-level or junior positions)
  4. What complementary skills employers are looking for (language skills, other tech skills, etc.)
Build practical coding projects for your portfolio website

Once you know what employers want from you, you can start learning and practising the most relevant and valuable Java skills to help you land your first developer job.

Build meaningful, real-life projects while you learn. After all, employers are looking for developers who know how to apply their Java skills to real-world problems and projects.

If you are armed with a bunch of practical projects that showcase the exact skills that employer is looking for, you’ll nail your job interview.

Add your Java projects to your developer portfolio or Git profile. Recruiters love seeing real examples of code, so you want to showcase your best work samples to them.

Last but not least, make sure your LinkedIn page is always up-to-date. Most employers will check it out to find out more about your experience and background.

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Summing it up

All in all, Java is a powerful and popular programming language you can use for a plethora of different projects and applications.

Therefore, it’s one of the most lucrative skills to have in the tech job market – especially if you are interested in a corporate developer career with an established company. Also, since Java is platform independent, you’re not tied down to a specific platform.

If Java feels like the right programming language for your goals, start with a beginner-level course and make sure you practice a lot while learning.

Build small projects of your own, solve real-life problems with your Java programs, and focus on a single topic at a time.

If you want to start right away, I recommend checking out the Java Programming Masterclass on Udemy. It’s your all-in-one, hands-on Java course where you can benefit from the instructors’ extensive experience.

The best part? You get lifetime access to the course, so you can learn at your own pace and use it as a reference whenever you want to.

With that said, now it’s your turn! How do you feel about Java? Are you new to it or have you started learning it already?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Also, share this article with your friends, so that they can discover Java, too! Thanks!

If Java isn’t the right language for you, check out these popular programming languages and their uses to find the perfect fit for your goals.

Happy coding!
– Mikke

The best Java courses for beginners - Start learning Java programming online
What Is the Java Programming Language? Pros, Cons, Courses and Career TipsWhat Is the Java Programming Language? Pros, Cons, Courses and Career TipsWhat Is the Java Programming Language? Pros, Cons, Courses and Career Tips

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About Mikke

Hi, I’m Mikke! I’m a blogger, freelance web developer, and online business nerd. Join me here on MikkeGoes.com to learn how to code for free, build a professional portfolio website, launch a tech side hustle, and make money coding. When I’m not blogging, you will find me sipping strong coffee and biking around town in Berlin. Learn how I taught myself tech skills and became a web dev entrepreneur here. And come say hi on Twitter!

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