Become a Java Developer

The 2013 median salary for computer programmers, a group that typically includes Java developers, was $36.60 hourly and $76,140 annually[vi]

Salary Potential if you become a java developer

The 2013 median salary for computer programmers, a group that typically includes Java developers, was $36.60 hourly and $76,140 annually[vi]

What is the basic role of a java software developer or programmer? 

Thinking of becoming a Java developer? In basic terms any software developer is going to be responsible for designing and coding software and applications. Software developers and programmers write these applications using specific programming languages such as Java, so if you are interested in pursuing a career as a Java developer, you’ll likely focus on creating, testing, and modifying code in this language. Otherwise, Java developers may have responsibilities similar to those of computer programmers or software developers.

So what is Java? This popular programming language from Oracle is used for applications, games, enterprise software, and web-based content. One benefit of Java is that once it is written for one platform, it may be able to run on any other platform without being rewritten.[i] If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a Java developer, check out the information below. You’ll find facts on Java developer salary potential, job duties, education, and more.

Java Developer Job Description

The role of Java developer may be similar to that of computer programmer or even software developer, and these careers tend to share overlapping duties and skill areas. However, as the title suggests, Java developers write programs primarily in Java. They may work from designs created by software developers, or they could be responsible for designing and modeling an application prior to coding it. After an application or software solution is built, Java developers may perform testing and debugging before making modifications to ensure the product is market-ready. Depending on the job environment, they may work primarily alone or in teams consisting of software engineers and developers, multiple Java developers and programmers, and other IT staff members. Here are some other typical job duties:

  • Analyze and rewrite programs to solve problems, improve workflow, or add new features
  • Run tests and trials of software applications and programs to make sure they operate as intended
  • Prepare software proposals and development timelines using knowledge of software lifecycle
  • Create workflow charts, diagrams, program documentation, and reports
  • Work with clients or end-users to understand software goals and objectives
  • Create and utilize CASE tools (computer-assisted software engineering) to automate code-writing, when applicable
  • Create user interfaces that allow customers to interact intuitively with software

What Java Developers Should Know

Java developers may benefit from a variety of qualities and skill sets, from programming experience to knowledge of customer service. If you’re considering this career path, check out these suggested traits and competencies:

  • Programming knowledge – while Java developers may program primarily in Java, they often need to be familiar with other programming languages like C/C++ or Python.
  • Knowledge of how to develop for different operating systems, like Linux/Unix, Android, etc.
  • Knowledge of MVC (Model-View-Controller) frameworks like Struts, Spring, and JSF; database software like MySQL and SQL Server; compiler and decompiler software; other software and technologies
  • Knowledge of software architecture and design – Java developers may be responsible for designing as well as building software solutions.
  • Customer service and communication skills – they may work directly with clients to communicate ideas and solve problems.
  • Adaptability and continued learning – technology changes constantly, and Java developers may need to frequently update their knowledge.

How to Become a Java Developer

Education[ii]

Java developers may have educational requirements similar to those of computer programmers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer programmers typically earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Sometimes, an associate’s degree is also acceptable to employers. During the course of a degree program, students should focus on courses that pertain to their desired career goals, such as programming languages and debugging code. While students usually don’t learn every programming language during school, they could gain the foundations needed to independently study other languages relevant to their career goals.

It may also be useful to pursue an understanding of your prospective industry. For example, if you are interested in developing accounting software, taking classes in accounting could enhance your understanding of typical goals and challenges in this area. Other industries that may require software solutions include healthcare, ecommerce, finance, and many others.

Training and Career Enhancement[ii]

Java developers could benefit from pursuing an internship in order to learn more about the responsibilities and requirements of their prospective career track. Like computer programmers, they may eventually pursue enhanced roles like software developer or computer systems analyst.

Continuing education is sometimes necessary as well, since Java developers often need to keep up with changing technology. Professional development seminars and independent study could be a good way to learn about new innovations and updates to existing technology. Finally, Java developers may wish to pursue certification as a means of demonstrating their skills and knowledge areas to potential employers. Here are a few certifications that may be useful:

  • Oracle Certified Associate, Professional, or Master – these certification tracks may allow you to demonstrate your knowledge of the Java programming language. Choose your track based on your level of experience with Java syntax and structure, creating applications, etc.[iii]
  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Developer Track – offered by Microsoft, this certification track tests your understanding of software development, HTML5 app development, and other areas that may be important to developers.[iv]
  • CSSLP - Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional – this credential tests your knowledge of application security, a critical area for many programmers and software developers.[v]

Java Developer Salary Potential and Job Growth[vi]

If you’re considering becoming a Java developer, you are probably curious about potential earnings and job growth in this field. Remember that salary potential and job growth may depend on both geographic area and industry – for example, applications development for the healthcare field may have greater potential job growth than other industries.[vii] Other influential factors could be your experience and professional interests. Here are some general stats that may be useful:

  • The 2013 median salary for computer programmers, a group that typically includes Java developers, was $36.60 hourly and $76,140 annually.
  • Between 2012 and 2022, projected job growth for computer programmers is 8% to 14%.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists mobile technology as an area that may see increased job growth for computer programmers.[vii]

Check out some related degree programs that may be useful to becoming a Java developer. 


Sources:  bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm#tab-1  |  onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1131.00

[i]java.com/en/about/|[ii] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm#tab-4 | [iii] education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?page_id=653&get_params=p_id:154|[iv] microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mta-certification.aspx|[v] computingcareers.acm.org/?page_id=7|[vi] isc2.org/csslp/default.aspx| [vi] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1131.00 | [vii] bigfuture.collegeboard.org/find-colleges/college-101/quick-guide-your-college-degree-options | [viii] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm#tab-4 | [ix] onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1141.00 | [x] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/computer-hardware-engineers.htm#tab-4 | [xi] onetonline.org/link/summary/17-2061.00 | [xii] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm#tab-6

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