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Java Developer Career Guide

Do you want to work with one of the most widely-used programming languages in the business world? Are you interested in being the creator and supporter of any application or program your company uses? If so, being a Java developer might be the perfect fit for you!

Java developers work with the prolific programming language that was created back in 1995 and designed to run easily on any platform. Phones, tablets, PCs, and smart appliances all require the technical expertise of these developers to create a pleasant and functional user experience.

Given the plugged-in nature of our work and home life, it’s virtually impossible that you haven’t come across the work of a Java developer while relaxing at home or working in the office. They create fast and efficient software for businesses to use, that can easily translate to any hardware, making it tough to beat this language.

Java developers will generally find themselves in an analytical, data-heavy environment. They provide information solutions using Java to create enterprise-wide applications to help keep businesses competitive. Additionally, you’ll find Java in many different fields, including gaming, big data, mobile and desktop UI, and web-based applications.

Sample job description

When you’re seeking to deliver mission-critical technology to fortune 500 companies, we want you to trust [Your company name] to handle the job. We’ve been in business for many years, and in that time, we’ve worked alongside some of the most recognized brands across the world. Right now, we’re looking to add a Java developer to our high-performance, agile team of experts.

If you’re looking to get your hands on some of the best API tech around and want experience as a Java developer in a collaborative environment, we’d love to hear from you!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Design, code, and integrate testing using agile methodology
  • Debug and troubleshoot code issues
  • Produce client deliverable along with documentation
  • Adapt to unique business and technical requirements for case-by-case projects
  • Practice strong configuration and version control
  • Act as the face of the company towards clients and consultants
  • Provide collaborative input and be able to work independently as necessary

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or related field
  • Working knowledge of current technology and methodologies

Required skills and qualifications

  • Experience with Java development
  • Excellent written and communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills for dealing with clients, teammates, and consultants
  • Flexible mentality for handling unique challenges
  • Great time management and organizational skills

Preferred qualifications

  • One year as a Java developer
  • Experience with React
  • Experience with Spring Boot
  • Experience facilitating and managing projects
  • Passion for learning Java

Typical work environment

Java developers primarily work in an office environment. Working remotely may be possible under certain circumstances, like employer preference, freelance opportunities, agency work, etc. Some travel may be expected as in-person meetings are a component of this position.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a Java developer are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, although this may change for short periods of time closer to deadlines or during periods of unusually high workloads. Freelance and agency work will offer a more flexible work schedule. 

Available certifications

As Java developers work in a variety of industries, there are many institutions that offer certifications, including:

  • Oracle Certified Associate Java Programmer (OCAJP) – This certification is the first of two exams. In order to become “Oracle Certified,” you’ll want to obtain this as a first step in your certification journey. There are plenty of recommended resources and courses to study before the exam.
  • Oracle Certified Professional Java Programmer (OCPJP) – Moving into more complicated territory, the OCPJP focuses on core Java concepts and further solidifies the foundation that the OCAJP provides. You can brush up by studying online courses, or you can self-learn at your own pace.
  • Oracle Certified Expert – Web Component Developer (OCEWCD) – The OCEWCD demonstrates your ability to operate with a significant degree of understanding. You’ll want to grab this certification if you’re looking to stand out amongst your peers when handling JavaServer Pages and Servlet Technologies, like Servlet 3.0, to provide dynamic web content. You’ll need to pass the OCAJP and OCPJP first to qualify for this certification.
  • Apache Spark Developer Certification (HDPCD) – This Hortonworks University certification provides a hands on, performance based look at the Hortonworks Data Platform. This will certify you have a thorough understanding of Spark Core and Spark SQL within Scala or Python. This is an excellent certification to obtain if you’re planning on moving into a big data workplace or looking to become a data scientist.
  • Professional Scrum Master Certification (PSM I) – The PSM is globally accepted as the most popular of Agile methodology certifications. If you’re looking to become a Java developer, or any developer for that matter, obtaining certification to demonstrate your understanding of the Agile methodology is vital in today’s IT world. Additionally, if you step into a leadership role, having scrum master certification will significantly help your application.
  • Project Management Professional Certification (PMP) – This certification is globally recognized as one of the most reputed professional management courses offered by the Project Management Institute. Based on the PMBOK Guide, this course focuses on 5 processes and 47 knowledge areas tailored to prepare you for the latest business requirements. This is for advanced users moving into a project management position or looking to provide serious value towards collaborative efforts.

Career path

It’s highly recommended to start your journey as a Java developer by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, like computer science or software engineering. You may be able to get away without one, but it will be more difficult for you in this highly competitive field.

During your journey obtaining a degree, it’s a great idea to not only learn Java, but as many programming languages as you can. Being intimately familiar with the language will be the single most powerful tool in your arsenal for becoming a successful developer. 

After you’ve learned the language and obtained your education, getting certifications to prove your technical prowess, and even your niche mastery, will go a long way in showing employers you’re a competent developer. 

Once this is complete, gathering experience by working as a front or back end developer or by participating in projects in a developer role are fantastic additions to any resume.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1257

2020 Employment1,847,900
Projected Employment in 20301,888,553
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 22% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift409,500 increase

As long as businesses need massive, enterprise-wide software to function quickly and efficiently, they’ll need Java developers in the background to make it possible. There has never been a better time to become a Java developer. Although the field is highly competitive, the demand for developers will increase for every company that transitions into the digital world. Alongside the inclusion of smart appliances, new phone models, web browsers, and gaming consoles, there’s no end in sight for the amount of developers that will be needed to fill this role.