Career in Java: How to Make a Successful Career in Java in 2020

Introduction

Java is everywhere. From android applications and web server tools to enterprise software, Java has in a way, formed the backbone of the internet revolution. 

Some of the main features that have made Java the industry standard are:

  • Simple
  • Object-Oriented
  • Secure
  • Fast

It is hence both wise and lucrative to look for a career in Java as a software developer. The strong community, enterprise support, and growing popularity among programmers show that Java is set to stay the first choice for most businesses. Hence, java career opportunities are not fading anytime soon. 

But first, you will have to educate yourself with the current market position to select the best choice from the vast number of java career opportunities. 

This article should act as a roadmap to get your next job as a Java developer. 

It will:

  1. Get you familiar with the skills required to stand out as a Java developer 
  2. Give you a better understanding of the different roles available in the job market
  3. Help you get an estimate of how much you can earn having a career in Java. 

And, if all this seems overwhelming, we have provided a list of programs that we provide, at the end of this guide, to make this process easier for you.

Must Read: Java Interview Question & Answers.

Skills for the trade

The first step towards picking the right java career opportunities is to acquire the required skill set.

You must first get familiar with basic concepts. 

This includes:

  • Basic Syntax of Core Java
  • Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) concepts
  • Understand how Java works 

An excellent way to practice your Java skills is by participating in online competitive programming events or building some small personal projects that will also help build your resume.

Now, everyone can get good at the basics. Hence, it is a common trend among Java Developers to get certified for their skills. Earlier, developers had to go to college and get a degree for their skills, but now, times have changed. Most choose the programs that are provided by Oracle to get certified. 

If you are looking to get certified in some additional skills that are sure to increase your chances of getting your next job, do check out the programs that we provide.

Also, a java developer is expected to possess skills like:

  • Understanding and debugging other people’s code
  • Deployment to inhouse or remote servers
  • How to work with Java Virtual Machine(JVM) 
  • Integrating Java with existing web and enterprise applications

But, with Java being the primary language in many fields, every java career opportunity requires a different skillset.

Mobile App Development

Java has been the go-to language for years in this field. Although it might not be of much use in IOS development, it is beneficial when working with android studio. 

That being said, the additional skills required, apart from java basics, are:

  1. Android studio: This is the official IDE (integrated development environment) for the android operating system. It gives you a development environment and access to android development tools (SDK tools). It supports Java, Kotlin, and C++.
  2. Emulator: This is important to test and debug your mobile applications during development. It is used to simulate a mobile environment inside a PC. Although Android Studio does provide an emulator extension with it, there are many other popular choices like vMac, NoxPlayer, Dolphin, etc.
  3. User Interface(UI) design: Although this is not of much use for a senior developer who probably has a UI designer in their team, it is a necessary skill when you are just starting out or working for a startup. You only need to know the basics

There are many more skills like getting APIs, handling and parsing XML, etc. but these should get you started.

Read: How to be a Successful Mobile App Entrepreneur?

Web Development

Java has often been used on the server-side or the backend of a web application.  

Getting into web development, every developer must know the basics of HTML, CSS, and APIs.

But, to build a java web application, you must get used to a few dynamic resources and tools that java provides like:

  • Servlets: A Java class that is used to handle HTTP request
  • JavaServer Pages: This is a way of writing Java code with HTML for fast production
  • Jars: This is used for aggregation of files and metadata into one file 

The most famous implementation of Java Servlets and JavaServer Pages is Apache Tomcat that has, since long, been a common choice to run applications on a server. 

Learn: 21 Interesting Web Development Project Ideas For Beginners

Desktop GUI Application

With the Swing toolkit gaining popularity, Java has also become a handy tool for Desktop Application development.

For this field, you will have to get skilled at making widgets with the tools like Swing GUI toolkit that was developed by Oracle and JavaFX. Both use AWT (Abstract Window Toolkit) which is available in the Java Development Kit(JDK) to build cross-platform applications.

You could also use SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit), which is a programming library developed by IBM to build Desktop Applications. 

Nowadays, developers use SWT with Eclipse RCP to build Desktop GUI Applications.

Enterprise application

These applications are used to organize and model business processes for organizations. The main tool used in the development of enterprise software using Java is Java EE or Java Platform, Enterprise Edition. 

Given below is an example of the architecture of an  Enterprise application. It also explains the various logic layers and their implementation using Java tools.

Source

The need for enterprise software is increasing as new companies move towards adopting the DevOps culture to increase efficiency. 

Games

Did you know that the original version of Minecraft is written in Java? Other legendary games like Revenge of the Titans and Spiral Knights are also developed in Java.

Java is an excellent choice for building games as it helps to build a cross-platform version of the game without extra development costs. Java is also the first choice to build 2D games on Android. With the rising demands in gaming, there are excellent Java career opportunities. 

For this, you should be familiar with the physics involved in game development and get used to building multi-threaded applications using Java. Getting to know how the new versions of JVM help improve garbage collection also comes handy.

Even with the rising popularity of game engines like Unity and Unreal, Java is still here to stay. 

Scientific Applications

Java is the favorite choice for developers when building applications designed to carry out scientific calculations and a number of mathematical operations. This is mainly because applications built with Java have fast computing and processing speeds. The UI of the commonly used computing environment, MATLAB, is written in Java.

To build a complete scientific application in Java, you must be familiar with using Java with the CUDA toolkit to support GPU computing (which is an important feature to carry out huge amounts of scientific computations). The Rootbeer GPU compiler should help you with that.

In today’s work environment, a developer does not become work-ready only with technical skills. They also have to be proficient in soft-skills. This not only helps them perform better at interviews but also increases efficiency at work. Most companies now also consider soft-skills when hiring new developers. 

These include:

  • Good communication and understanding with the client
  • Teamwork
  • Punctual and delivering before deadlines.

Other than the skills mentioned above, it is also recommended to keep up with the current trends. Most companies now build applications and services that have features and implementation of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science.

And, to ensure it is not a burden to get the required resources to understand this new and emerging technology, we have created a bunch of Data Science Courses. These will not just get you started but also, make you ready to implement Artificial Intelligence and Data Science in your current project and add a new skill to your resume.

Read: Top Java Projects & Topics For Beginners

Java Career Opportunities 

After getting the right tools under the belt, you will now need to browse through different job postings to start your career in Java. 

The current market has job titles like:

1. Junior Developer

A junior developer position is where everyone will start. This is the lowest position for a software engineer. A person in this position will be responsible to write, analyze, test, and debug code. Generally, they are part of teams that have mentors and leaders whom they have to report to. 

At this stage, the developer must focus on getting familiar with the industry practices as generally, it is their first job. One must also focus on developing new skills to get better at their craft and thus either switch to a better company or have a better position in the same company. This is one of the good Java career opportunities.

2. Senior Developer

A senior developer is a person generally responsible for taking charge of a complete project. They are also responsible for writing some code and having to report to the executive officers and managers of the company. Along with all this, they are also responsible for mentoring the developers that are new to the company or the project they are working on. It is seen as the standard job position for a developer.

3. Architect

A java architect is responsible for designing and developing the layout of the application. They categorize the different logic layers that further helps in the separation of concerns among the team members working on the project as you have seen in the image above.

The architect is expected to come up with the best technologies that are well-suited for the software to be built and ensure that they are all compatible with each other. 

Other than these, you will also find field-specific job postings that require the programmer to be efficient in a particular set of things. These are generally posted by large companies who don’t need a Java programmer who can do a number of things but a programmer skilled in a particular area, generally for optimization or enhancement of an existing product. These include jobs like:

4. Java Web Developer

This is usually a backend position, and the person is responsible for deploying and maintaining server-side code. With the growing culture of cloud-based systems, it is helpful if you know the basics of cloud computing and has experience in using code to the cloud.  

5. Java Android Developer

The developer is responsible for building or adding features to android applications. This is the most common job posting that you will see out there and is also a wanted position in several startups. 

Since every company and service now has a mobile app, the market for these jobs will not dry up anytime soon.

6. Java EE developer

These developers are given the job of building and maintaining enterprise software. They are generally posted by big companies and look for a developer with some industry experience.

Freelancing

Freelancing has been made possible through the various freelance sites present on the internet and also due to easy and fast networking with clients using platforms like LinkedIn. Freelancing can also work as a part-time Java career opportunity. You get to experience & add to the CV.

But freelance work is not easy and comes with its own challenges like:

  • Irregular frequency of work
  • Demanding clients
  • Less pay at the start
  • High competition

Freelance work for java developers can generally be categorized into two types, centered at two different kinds of freelancers

  1. Coding Job: These are the gigs where you are required to work on a project or develop a new feature. This is where you actually code in Java. These jobs are a good place to start your career. Fortunately, these jobs are mostly remote. You can freelance as a Java app developer or Java web developer.
  2. Consulting Developers: These generally hire developers that have had some years of experience in the industry. A company posts these jobs when they are working on a short deadline, generally targeting the launch or enhancement of a product or feature. The freelancer is made part of the projects team and it is generally on-site work. The contract ends at the end of the project.

Java: Growing popularity and current market trend

Java is one of the old programming languages that have done well to deliver with the changing demands of the market. According to newrelic.com, Java 8 is currently the most accepted version of Java in the market with Oracle being the dominant vendor and maintainer of the Java language as well as the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), since the acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010. 

Even after being declared as the most popular programming language of 2019, some say that Java is losing its charm to trending languages like python. But even the most contradicting arguments from trusted sources give the following reports.

Source

Even this gives us the impression that Java is not a language that is going away anytime soon.

Moreover, to get a better idea of the popularity of java as a programming language, let us look at the trends of its Tiobe index. Tiobe index is a measure of the popularity of the programming language that is measured after considering factors like market share, number of job postings, open-source projects, etc. 

Source

Some might still say that Java is losing its popularity but if you compare this with the stats of trending programming languages like Python and Javascript you will see that in their period of existence they have achieved a maximum Tiobe index of 10 and 4 respectively, which is way less than Java’s current ranking.

Salary

Now, after understanding the industry, you might be wondering, how much does an average developer having a career in Java earn.

According to salary.com, the median salary of a Senior java developer in the United States is around $109,000 and those in the top 10% receive around $140,000 annually.

And if we look for the same data for Senior Developers in India, we would get the following picture:

Source

The income of a freelance developer varies depending on different factors like region, type of clients, experience, etc. It also sometimes depends on the platform on which the freelancer meets clients. Overall, there are freelancers who do this as a side income and many who do this full time as well.

Read more: Java Developer Salary in India: For Freshers & Experienced

Courses to quickly land your first job

A great career in Java does not come easy, even with the growing number of jobs. You will always need something to stand out from the crowd.

Here, at upGrad, we provide programs that are specially made to get you ready to grab the best Java career opportunities in the market, and we don’t give up until you succeed.

Some courses that should get you started to get a career in Java are:

A developer must also stay updated and explore the latest trends in technology. Hence, we also provide a number of courses on trending technologies like blockchain, machine learning, and data science

If you’re interested to learn more about Java, full-stack software development, check out upGrad & IIIT-B’s PG Diploma in Full-stack Software Development which is designed for working professionals and offers 500+ hours of rigorous training, 9+ projects, and assignments, IIIT-B Alumni status, practical hands-on capstone projects & job assistance with top firms.

We wish you all the best to start your career in Java!

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