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How to become a Java Developer

Aliaksandr Padalka, a Software Engineer with nine years of experience, shares how to become a Java Developer, what you need to know, and what to learn.

Software Engineer Aliaksandr Padalka

What does a Java Developer do?

— A Java Developer not only writes code but also tests. They also check that the code runs and the result of its execution meets the expectations and requirements. Yes, there is a chance that there will be errors somewhere, but the use case will usually be worked out correctly.

In this role, it is necessary to communicate frequently with testers about the behavior of the written code, and with business analysts and customers to clarify the requirements before development starts and then to receive their comments after the test run.

What you need to know to become a Java Developer?

— It seems to me that the most important thing is the desire to succeed in this profession. I have friends who studied for humanities or trained as doctors and then became successful developers.

It's very useful if you know at least some programming language. If you understand how to write code, you can learn the semantics of a language and then successfully write in another language.

It is important to understand that courses generally provide basic knowledge and focus on the most commonly used development framework. They talk about the basics of the programming language, semantics, tools provided by the SDK (Software Development Kit), and tools from the IDE (integrated development environment). On projects, you can dive deeper into the details of little-used features of the language. The most popular framework for writing programs now is Spring (spring.io). It is also the easiest to learn.

Where to learn to program in Java

— To learn how to program in Java, I see two options:

  1. Attend to Java courses at some company. These courses may be free or paid. But before you choose a company, look for information about its past graduates— how many people teach, what percentage of its graduates got a job in tech, etc.
  2. Independent study. You can find various lectures on the Internet, including: lectures on Java on LinkedIn, the Java “Back to Basics" Tutorial, and mkyong.com. If you have knowledgeable friends, you can ask them to talk about the language with you and to check your assignments.
What to read and watch for a novice Java Engineer

How much time do you need to become a Java Developer?

— It is possible to study and achieve a basic level of knowledge in a few months. Everything depends on how much time you will devote to the learning process.

It took me 2 months to study the semantics of the language. But my study of the framework is still not finished, since it is not used on all projects. You may encounter old frameworks, some that are just gaining popularity, and some that are self-written. So, you can say that I'm still learning.

I try to spend at least half an hour a day studying. It is quite possible that this time should be increased. But it is worth dividing your time between work, training, and some for yourself and your family.

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Expert tips

  1. The first tip: do not hesitate to ask questions, especially if you think they are stupid and the answer is obvious. These questions may change the task, or help clarify it. By asking questions, you show a desire to solve the problem. Through questions, you can find a solution yourself.
  2. The second tip: do not obsess until the end over the solution to the problem. It is better to take a break, clear your head, and focus your thoughts in a different direction. When you return to a question with a clear head and a fresh perspective, the solution may present itself.
  3. The third tip: no matter how boring the task is, you can always study the code that is used in the bundle.

And one more piece of advice — don't be afraid to experiment. After all, there are undocumented parts of the code. You can only find a solution using such a part by looking at it from a different angle.