Java is one of the best programming language created ever, and I am not saying this, because I am a passionate Java developer, but Java has proved it in last 20 years. Two decades is a big time for any Programming language, and Java has gained strength every passing day. Though there are times, when Java development slows down, but Java has responded well. Earlier with ground breaking changes in form of Enum, Generics, and Autoboxing in Java 5, performance improvement with Java 6, and Google's choice of language for Android apps development, keeps Java as front line programming language. Many graduate often ask me, which is the best programming language, which language should we learn, shall I learn Java etc. Well, it depends upon definition of your best programming language, if it's popularity then obviously Java outscore every one, even C, which is there for almost 50 years. If it in terms of Job opportunities, again Java outscore every one. You can get tons of Jobs opportunity by learning Java programming language, you can develop core Java based server side application, J2EE web and enterprise applications, and can even go for Android based mobile application development. So if you are not coming from C and C++ background, and want to learn your first programming language, I will suggest to choose Java. In this article, I will share my list of reason, and Why you should learn Java programming and Why I think Java is best programming language created ever.
Why you should learn Java Programming Language
Here is my list of 10 reason, which I tell anyone who ask my opinion about learning Java, and whether Java is best programming language in terms of opportunities, development and community support.
1) Java is Easy to learn
Many would be surprised to see this one of the top reason of learning Java, or considering it as best programming language, but it is. If you have steep learning curve, it would be difficult to get productive in short span of time, which is the case with most of professional project. Java has fluent English like syntax with minimum magic characters e.g. Generics angle brackets, which makes it easy to read Java program and learn quickly. Once a programmer is familiar with initial hurdles with installing JDK and setting up PATH and understand How Classpath works, it's pretty easy to write program in Java.
2) Java is an Object Oriented Programming Language
Another reason, which made Java popular is that it's an Object Oriented Programming language. Developing OOPS application is much easier, and it also helps to keep system modular, flexible and extensible. Once you have knowledge of key OOPS concept like Abstraction, Encapsulation, Polymorphism and Inheritance, you can use all those with Java. Java itself embodies many best practices and design pattern in it's library. Java is one of the few close to 100% OOPS programming language. Java also promotes use of SOLID and Object oriented design principles in form of open source projects like Spring, which make sure your object dependency is managed well by using dependency Injection principle.
3) Java has Rich API
One more reason of Java programming language's huge success is it's Rich API and most importantly it's highly visible, because come with Java installation. When I first started Java programming, I used to code Applets and those days Applets provides great animation capability, which amazes new programmer like us, who are used to code in Turbo C++ editor. Java provides API for I/O, networking, utilities, xml parsing, database connection, and almost everything. Whatever left is covered by open source libraries like Apache Commons, Google Guava and others.
4) Powerful development tools e.g. Eclipse , Netbeans
Believe it or not, Eclipse and Netbeans has played huge role to make Java one of the best programming language. Coding in IDE is pleasure, especially if you have coded in DOS Editor or Notepad. They not only helps in code completion but also provides powerful debugging capability, which is essential for real world development. Integrated Development Environment (IDE) made Java development much easier, faster and fluent. It's easy to search, refactor and read code using IDEs. Apart from IDE, Java platform also has several other tools e.g.. Maven and ANT for building Java applications, decompilers, JConsole, Visual VM for monitoring Heap usage etc.
5) Great collection of Open Source libraries
Open source libraries ensures that Java should be used everywhere. Apache, Google, and other organization has contributed lot of great libraries, which makes Java development easy, faster and cost effective. There are framework like Spring, Struts, Maven, which ensures that Java development follows best practices of software craftsmanship, promotes use of design patterns and assisted Java developers to get there job done. I always recommend to search for a functionality in Google, before writing your own code. There is good chance that, it's already coded, tested and available for ready to use.
6) Wonderful community support
Community is the biggest strength of Java programming language and platform. No matter, How good a language is, it wouldn't survive, if there is no community to support, help and share there knowledge. Java has been very lucky, it has lots of active forums, Stackoverflow, open source organizations and several Java user group to help everything. There is community to help beginners, advanced and even expert Java programmers. Java actually promotes taking and giving back to community habit. Lots of programmers, who use open source, contribute as commiter, tester etc. Expert programmer provides advice FREE at various Java forums and stackoverflow. This is simply amazing and gives lot of confidence to a newbie in Java.
7) Java is FREE
People like FREE things, Don't you? So if a programmer want to learn a programming language, or a organization wants to use a technology, COST is an important factor. Since Java is free from start, i.e. you don't need to pay anything to create Java application. This FREE thing also helped Java to become popular among individual programmers, and among large organizations. Availability of Java programmers is another big think, which makes organization to choose Java for there strategic development.
8) Excellent documentation support - Javadocs
When I first saw Javadoc, I was amazed. It's great piece of documentation, which tells lot of things about Java API. I think without Javadoc documentation, Java wouldn't be as popular, and it's one of the main reason, Why I think Java is best programming language. Not every one has time and intention to look at code to learn what a method do or how to use a class. Javadoc made learning easy, and provide an excellent reference while coding in Java. With advent of IDE, you don't even need to look Javadoc explicitly in browser, but you can get all information in your IDE window itself.
9) Java is Platform Independent
In 1990s, this was the main reason of Java's popularity. Idea of platform independence is great, and Java's tag line "write once run anywhere" was enticing enough to attract lots of new development in Java. This is still one of the reason of Java being best programming language, most of Java applications are developed in Windows environment and run in UNIX platform.
10) Java is Everywhere
Yes, Java is everywhere, it's on desktop, it's on mobile, it's on card, almost everywhere and so is Java programmers. I think Java programmer out number any other programming language professional. Though I don't have any data to back this up, but it's based on experience. This huge availability of Java programmers, is another reason, why organization prefer to choose Java for new development than any other programming language.
Having said that, programming is very big field and if you look at C and UNIX, which is still surviving and even stronger enough to live another 20 years, Java also falls in same league. Though there are lot of talk about functional programming, Scala and other JVM languages, but they need to go a long way to match community, resources and popularity of Java. Also OOPS is one of the best programming paradigm, and as long as it will be there Java will remain solid.
Resources to learn Java programmingNow, if you decide to learn Java programming, here are couple of resources, which you can take a look. I personally suggest picking a book, because they are almost always well written and catered for beginners. I personally recommend Head First Java to beginners, that's great book to start, if you don't know much about Java. You can also take a look at official Java tutorials offered by Oracle. These tutorials are comprehensive and covered almost all important details of Java programming language. Further you can use Google along with your learning. If you need to understand a particular concept, term or any issue with Java, Google can point you to specific resource. There are lots of blogs, tutorial sites, and free video tutorials on internet to learn Java programming.
Recommend Java tutorials
Java SE tutorials
Javadoc for JDK 7
Recommended Java Books for beginners
Head First Java
Thinking in Java