The Java programming language is one of those high-level, general-purpose programming languages that everyone is talking about. It’s not surprising that many people want to become a Java programmer. We know you’re one of those people.
Now, to kick off our discussion about the question: “How to Become a Java Programmer?” we will start by discussing what Java is, its features, and its applications. Let’s start.
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What is Java?
Java entered the scene in 1991, but not as Java—yet. Thanks to James Gosling, the company Sun Microsystem, and a team called the “Green Team,” we got Java today.
At first, the programming language they created had the name Oak. The reason for the name is very important. The name Oak came from the Oak tree that was outside James Gosling’s office. He was such a nature-lover.
The team wanted to demonstrate what the language can do through interactive television. But it was too advanced for cable TV at the time.
So, even though it has nothing to do with the name, they renamed Oak and called it Green. And finally, they called the language as Java, from Java coffee. That’s why you see the coffee cup logo. Beautiful story, is it not?
Gosling designed Java with a syntax that’s similar to C and C++, while also applying a cool philosophy that goes “write once, run anywhere.”
Several versions later, Java is now one of the most popular languages among programmers and developers.
Okay, so cool. Java is a great programming language. So why do you want to learn it? Well, for one, it has a lot of cool features. Also, you can apply it to many things. Let’s take a look at some of them.
What are the Features of Java?
If you want to become a Java programmer, you got to know what its features are. Here are some of the most important ones for beginners.
As we have said, Java runs on the principle “code once, run anywhere”. The pure Java code lets you write a program on one platform and run that program on other platforms. No modifications needed.
There are many approaches to programming, like object-oriented programming. This style lets you divide a complex problem into smaller sets by creating objects.
This is popular because it makes codes reusable. There are design benefits, plus you can maintain codes more easily. Java, Python, and C++ have object-oriented programming functions.
Even if the earlier versions of Java received criticisms because of its slowness, speed is no longer an issue now. The new Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) are very much faster, with CPUs that execute them becoming more powerful.
The platform has security features for applications, including automatic memory management, reduces memory corruption, and vulnerabilities.
You can also use it for secure communication and private data transmission, apart from developing and running apps.
Huge Standard Library
One of the reasons for Java’s wide use is the large standard library. Software developers can choose from hundreds of classes and methods in different packages.
Now that you know the features that will help code easier with Java, here are its applications you must know.
You can use the Java programming language to code applications for Android by using the Android Software Development Kit.
You can also make web applications by using Servlets, JSPs, or Struts. Java is one of the programming languages in developing Google.com, Facebook.com, LinkedIn.com, and others.
A lot of software items use Java, such as Eclipse, OpenOffice, MATLAB, and Vuze.
When you understand Java programming, you can use Hadoop, which is a framework you can use to process Big Data.
You can make trading applications using Oracle Extreme Java Trading Platform.
And there are many more applications you can make with Java. The language is used in game development, scientific applications, and many others.
But how do I Start to Learn Java? How to Become a Java Programmer?
Okay, so now that those are out of the way, let’s talk about the meat of this article. How do you become a Java programmer? Where do you start? What should you do? What is the meaning of life?
Except for the last ones, we will try to answer all those questions in the following tips:
Be familiar with Java Terms
Class. Object. Inheritance. Polymorphism. Abstraction. Encapsulation.
These aren’t just random words. These all belong and have programming meanings in the Java jargon. The best first step to start being a Java programmer is to learn the syntax.
When learning these terms, you should use different resources. That’s because even if individual references have the same definitions, they might not be absolute. It’s also possible that they are limited.
And when you start learning the definitions, you might feel like it’s impossible to get your head around the ideas. But trust us, it gets easier. The point is, you’re learning the syntax and the language. You’re not out there to MASTER the language—at least not yet, but you’ll get there.
When you understand the meanings and functions of these terminologies, you will get to know the components of your codes. You will have a better understanding of the final structure and program.
And once you understand those things, you will have the ability to write codes properly and thoroughly.
Practice Java Programs
After learning the terminologies and jargon, the second step has to do with finding a simple program. This simple program can let you practice the new language skills that you have learned. Through the execution of the learning, you can test your foundation in programming.
Once you find a suitable program to practice on, the first thing you do is write the steps of the program. Be clear on what simple steps you want your program to do, including user input and computer output.
After that, you need to look at the code. You may not be able to code everything at first. It may take some time. But you don’t need to be disappointed or feel discouragement.
Try to repeat the process. Usually there will be new things you’ll notice that you didn’t see at the first try. If it still doesn’t work out, the internet is always there to help you.
There are a plethora of programming languages out there. And each of them has a fan base that claims the language they use is the best. They will tell you that Java isn’t the best and this or that language is better.
Ignore those comments—if you’re quite sure you want to learn Java.
After all, no language is inherently better than the others. All it revolves around is your ability to use the language correctly, no matter how simplistic or complex it is.
So, you have to focus on mastering the language instead of thinking if it is the best language. One programmer may prefer Python over Java or vice versa. He may think Python or Java is easier than the other and he can feel comfortable with that. But if he cannot use it with ease and with efficiency, he’s apt to change to a more or less complicated language.
Additionally, everyone learns in different ways. Find the most effective, comfortable, and efficient way for you to learn. It’s okay to explore new ways, however, as long as it produces results.
Learn One Thing at a Time
Don’t cram things in your head in a short period of time. It’s always better to learn the basics first, and then go bottom-up from there.
Other programmers have the tendency to learn one thing at first, and then try to learn everything the second instance. That’s not a helpful habit and you won’t become a Java programmer that way.
If you do it that way, you will get this ugly “bits and pieces” sort of knowledge. It means you know a lot of small details about many stuff. But you don’t have the specialization that you need to accomplish even a single task.
In terms of Java, it always pays off to pay attention to the basics first. Do not be greedy and do not take a shortcut to learn.
More than Reading, Take Action
So you’ve wrapped your head around tons of definitions and books and articles about Java. You have read and finished all the technical stuff that will put average humans to sleep. You think you got a whole library inside that funny head.
Good. Now it’s time to actually do something and put those things to the test. If you’re serious about becoming a professional Java programmer, you must implement what you learn.
Bear in mind that the knowledge you store inside your head but never put to use eventually turn to ashes. Start coding to learn it properly and to get better at it. Get your hands dirty.
Try to Understand the Logic behind the Code and Algorithm
Even if it’s just a simple program, or you want to write a complex ‘if-else’ program, try to understand the logic.
As we have suggested, it’s helpful to write the code down on a piece of paper. Once you do that, the compiler and algorithm will be so meaningful. You will understand the whole idea of the code.
Even the experts and professionals usually divide the task into sub-parts that they try to understand. This helps them solve the bigger, more complex problem.
They formulate a solution for each of the sub-parts. Once you start doing that, you will build the confidence you need to tackle other more difficult tasks and programs.
This is a more practical and specific tip for you if you’re already coding.
This one would be useful for you if you’re switching from C or C++ to Java. Since Java is a dynamic programming language, the allocation keyword ‘new’ if particularly necessary.
C and C++ do not have this specific feature so you must be careful in handling array and object declaration in Java.
Choose Interface over Abstract Class
Remember that Java has no multiple inheritances. That’s why the interface will be handy for you if you want to do something similar to multiple inheritances.
When you become a Java programmer, you can always have an interface by your side. The abstract class does not always give you the chance to have various methods with which to work.
Meanwhile, the interface has abstract methods. That means you can use interface to do the functions of abstract class plus more.
Use Standard Library
Java has a rich set of standard libraries. This is one of its biggest advantages over other programming languages.
You will find that your job as a Java programmer becomes easier and more efficient when you use these standard libraries. You can even conduct further operations by using the methods you find in the library.
Practice, Code, Practice, Code
Learning how to become a good Java programmer is fun and interesting—if you really have a passion for programming.
And to learn it, you have to commit to repetition and practice. When you start understanding the things that Java does, you will involve and attach yourself in the programming activity. You need practice.
Even the most successful Java programmers create blogs and watch videos that help them continue practicing.
You also have to remember to be patient. Especially with yourself. It’s quite rare to find someone who understands everything at first try. You will definitely not understand many things quickly when you start. And that’s totally all right.
You may learn best when you are coding an app for Android, or developing a web application. Whichever it is, you have to remain patient.
Your success lies on the amount of practice you do and the amount of patient that you hone within yourself.