21 Tech Skills Java Developers Can Learn in 2021

Hello guys, recently I was doing some research on what skills Java developers should learn in 2021 to become a better developer and give their career a boost and I found some interesting skills like Kafka and  Elastic Search, apart from obvious ones like Spring Boot and Microservices. One of my favorite places for doing such research is examining Job listings on LinkedIn from different companies like Investment banks, Service-based companies, startups, and mid-tier companies where Java is used extensively. When I saw those skills, I can immediately tell that those are really useful and worth sharing with you guys, as I have often seen those skills playing important roles while hiring Java developers.
While there are a lot more skills-based upon different job requirements, I chose the 21 most common and popular skills for this article from those job listings from top tech companies that hire Java developers. 

This list is by no means comprehensive but it's a decent list and you can learn these skills to not only become a better Java developer but also get job-ready or give your career a boost in 2021. 

One of the biggest challenges and probably the most exciting aspect of the software development career is learning. Technology keeps evolving, and today's things become past very quickly. 

Java has survived for so many years, but it has also been kept changing with significant changes coming on Java 5 and Java 8. Nowadays, Java is even changing faster every six months, and it's tough to keep up, but that's the challenge of a programming career.

The same goes with the skills, gone are the days of the nineties when you can ticket to silicon valley but just learning Applet. The same goes for J2ME and some other popular Java frameworks like Struts, which has been the go-to skill for quite some time to find a Java job. It's time to learn modern skills for Java developers. 




21 Technical Skills for Java Developers in 2021

As I said, today's technology world requires advanced skills, and here are some of the modern skills a Java developer should learn to give his/her career or boost in 2021. The list includes essential frameworks like Spring, Spring Boot, and Hibernate, a database like MySQL, Big Data framework like Spark, Elastic Search, Architect like REST, SOA, and Microservices, and backbone technology like SQL. 


1. Spring

There is no doubt that Spring is the king of the Java stack. It's no an option, but a must-have skill for a Java programmer. Lately, Spring Boot has also joined the mainstream, but at the bare minimum, you need Spring. 

It not only provides dependency injection, which makes writing testable code easier but even many libraries and utility classes like JdbcTemplate, which makes day-to-day Java programming better. If you don't know Spring Framework then don't worry, now is the best time to learn Spring and if you need resources, I highly recommend Spring 5.0:  Beginner to Guru by John Thompson on Udemy to start with. 

best skill for java developer - spring



2. Spring Boot

Spring Boot is one of the top 5 Java frameworks you should learn, and it has been on my list for quite some time now. Just like the Spring framework takes away the pain of developing Java application by removing boilerplate code and making it easier to test using dependency injection.

Spring Boot takes away the pain of using the Spring framework by auto-configuring most of the stuff you need, which makes Spring Framework easier to use and also cut down the time you spend on bootstrapping your Java project. 

If you don't know Spring Boot, I strongly suggest you learn this because most of the new development project is using Spring boot and if you need a resource, there is no better course than Learn Spring: The Certification Class from Eugen Paraschive is a great course to start with. 




3. REST

This is another useful skill for Java programmer because there is hardly any web application nowadays which doesn't expose API or make use of REST API. GraphQL is slowly replacing REST, but in the Java world, REST is still a king. If you need some recommendations to learn REST, then check out this RESTful Web Services, Java, Spring Boot, Spring MVC, and JPA course on Udemy for Java developers.



4. SQL

This is another core skill for a Java programmer, or I say any programmer. Since Data is the real king of any programmer, and SQL is the most critical tool to interact and analyze data, you just cannot live without it. 

If you don't know SQL, this is the perfect time to learn SQL with the growing needs of a Data Engineer. If you need a recommendation, The Complete SQL Bootcamp 2021: Go from Zero to Hero of Jose Pottila on Udemy is the best course to learn SQL.




5. Cloud Computing

Cloud is slowly taking over the entire technology world. More and more companies are moving towards the cloud, and with the advancement and maturity of major cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure, the next generation of Java applications will be built for clouds.

If you want to get an introduction to Cloud Computing from a developer perspective, Introduction to Cloud Computing on AWS by Neal Davis is one of the best courses I have seen in recent times. It not only teaches you how to develop Java applications for the cloud but also all the right tools and practices.



6. Maven

Maven is the most essential Java tool I have ever learned. Since I came from the pre-Maven world of ANT and Batch script, I know how painful it was to assemble and manage dependencies for a Java application.

Maven not only solved the problem of dependency management but also provides a standard structure to Java projects, which considerably shorten the learning curve for a new developer.

It's an absolute must-have skill for Java programmers, and if you don't know, Maven learns it today. If you need a recommendation, the John Thompson The Apache Maven: Beginner to Guru course on Udemy is the best of a lot.



7. AWS

The Amazon Web Service is the most popular cloud platform today, and that's why it has become a skill of itself. There is a massive demand for people who knows how to work with AWS tools and environments like EC2, S3, and Virtual Private Cloud. 

I have seen many of my friends flocking to get AWS certified in recent years too. If you have an interest in AWS and want to know more about it, here is a list of free AWS courses you can join to learn online.




8. CI (Jenkins, Bamboo, GitLab, etc.)

Along with Maven, I think Jenkins is another must-know skill for today's Java developer. Continuous integration has significantly improved both the quality and process of software development, and most organizations now have CI and CD.

The advent of DevOps has further fuelled the adoption of Jenkins, and that's why I believe every Java developer should learn Jenkins. If you need references, then I highly recommend you to check out Jenkins, From Zero To Hero: Become a DevOps Jenkins Master course on Udemy. You can buy this course for just $9.9 on Udemy sale. 





9. Hibernate

Along with Spring, Hibernate is the king of Java frameworks. It's actually the most popular persistence framework in the Java world. Since Data is an integral part of any Java application, Hibernate also becomes an essential framework for many Java applications.

It takes away the pain of JDBC to interact with persistent technology like Relational database and allows you to focus on building application logic using Objects. If you want to learn Hibernate, I suggest you join Spring & Hibernate for Beginners (includes Spring Boot) course by Chad Darby on Udemy.



10. Microservices

You might have heard about this buzzword for the last couple of years. Microservices got their fame when startups like Uber and Netflix started using them, but it offers much more. The critical principle of Microservices is simplicity.

Unlike monolithic applications that are hard to build and maintain, microservices are much easier to code, develop, and maintain because they split an application into a set of smaller, composable fragments.

Java world has excellent support for building Microservices using Spring Boot and Spring Cloud, and that's why the demand for Java developers who knows and understands Microservice is rising every day. 

If you want to learn more about how to build Microservices in Java using the Spring framework, I suggest you join Master Microservices with Spring Boot and Spring Cloud course on Udemy



11. Git

It's one of the fundamental skills, not just for a Java programmer but also for any programmer, and that's why I had included it in my list of things every programmer should know. 

Both Git and Github have become ubiquitous, and whether it's an open-source codebase or a closed base, git is used everywhere.

You just cannot survive without knowing those git commands and understanding key git concepts like push, pull, merge, branch, commit, and rebase. If you are new to Git or want to improve your understanding, I suggest you go through this list of best git courses on Udemy.




12. Java EE

Some of you might be surprised with Java EE or Jakarta EE is one of the most in-demand skills for Java developers. Well, the truth is that Java EE is still alive and kicking well. Many organization which uses Java on their web stack, use Java EE for building their application. 

The latest version of Java EE is Java EE 8, and if you want to learn Java EE, this list of best Java EE Courses from Udemy, Pluralsight, and LinkedIn Learning is the best to start with.




13. SOA

The SOA stands for Service Oriented Architecture. As the name suggests, Service-oriented architecture is a style of software design where services are provided to the other components by application components, through a communication protocol over a network.

The basic principles of service-oriented architecture are independent of vendors, products, and technologies. It sounds very similar to microservice, where also the application is divided into multiple services, but the key difference is size, microservice as the name suggests is much smaller in size and scope.

Since real-world applications tend to be complex, they often follow SOA architecture, and that's why the demand of Java developer with SOA skills are quite high. See this list of best SOA courses, If you want to learn more about SOA and get this skill.




14. Docker

DevOps is quickly changing the way we develop and deliver software, and Docker has been playing an important role. Docker is a container that abstracts away environment specifics required to run your code like installing Java, setting PATH, putting libraries, etc.

Docker makes it easy to replicate the environment without setting up servers, and that's why very useful in the software development and deployment process. I strongly suggest every Java developer to learn Docker to try new things and add this useful skill to your resume.

If you need a course, there is no better than Docker & Kubernetes: The Practical Guide from Udemy. I am learning from this course, and it's awesome.




15. Elastic Search

ElasticSearch is another awesome software developed in Java. It's a search engine based on the Lucene library and allows you to reliably search, analyze, and visualize your data. Elasticsearch is often used together with Kibana, Beats, and Logstash, which forms the Elastic Stack.

Since more and more application is now providing a way to analyze and visualize its data to the user, Elastic search is getting importance, and that's why Java developer with ElasticSearch skills re in demand.

It has many applications like searching and analyzing log files like the way Splunk does. If you want to learn more, this Complete Guide to ElasticSearch course on Udemy is a good one to join.






16. Java SE

I was quite surprised to see the Java SE skill on #16 in the list as it's one of the most important skills for any Java developer. If you don't know Collections, Multithreading, Streams, and other key Java SE library, you just cannot code in Java.

Good knowledge of these essential classes is significant for any Java developer. Hence, if you are new to Java, please spend some time learning and improving your core Java skills.

If you need a course, The Complete Java Masterclass is one of the best courses to learn core Java. It's also the most up-to-date, recently updated for Java 12.




17. JUnit

I have been suggesting many Java developers learn JUnit for a long time. It's also on my list of 10 things Java developers should learn in 2021. JUnit has also evolved now with JUnit 5 leading the way. It allows you to write tests better and faster.

Along with JUnit, you should also learn Mockto, a leading Java library for creating mock objects. Since Java applications have heavily relied on the library, including JDK, a mocking framework like Mockito is always needed to write a test that can run in isolation. 

If you want to learn further, I suggest you check this list of best JUnit and Mockito courses from Udemy and Pluralsight. 




18. TDD

If there is one thing, I suggest Java developers learn today, then it would be TDD. Even though it's quite deep down in the skill for Java developers, it is the single most practice that can improve the quality of your code and increase confidence in your coding. TDD's test-code-test-refactor cycle works fast and really well in Java.

I strongly suggest every Java developer follow TDD, and if you need a resource to learn TDD, there is no better resource than reading the Test-Driven book. It's like the bible for TDD in Java for me.







19. NoSQL

NoSQL provides an alternative way of storing data, which scales better for many applications, mainly, which loads a junk of attributes together. It's different than the traditional relation model of storing data, which tries to remove redundancy or duplication by normalizing the data.

There are many popular NoSQL databases available in the market, like MongoDB and Cassandra. Since the modern application has a lot more data, many of them are switching to NoSQL for faster retrieval and increased scalability, and that Java Programmer with NoSQL skill is in demand. 

If you want to learn a NoSQL database like MongoDB, then check out this list of best Mongo DB courses for beginners.





20. Apache Kafka

If you don't know, Apache Kafka is a distributed data streaming platform that can publish, subscribe to, store, and process streams of records in real-time. It's developed by LinkedIn, written in Scala and Java, and donated to the Apache Software Foundation. 

It aims to provide a unified, high-throughput, low-latency platform for real-time handling data feeds, which is the requirement of many modern systems. 

This is one of the leading technology which is getting more and more popular on Java world and having this on your resume can make you eligible for some of the exciting Java career opportunity in the world. If you want to learn Kafka, you can check out this list of best Kafka courses for beginners on Udemy.



21. MySQL

MySQL is one of the accessible relational databases and also used in the Java world a lot. Since the database is an integral part of any Java application, a good knowledge of a relational database like MySQL goes a long way in getting a Java development job. 

I have worked in MySQL, SQL Server, and Oracle, but if you are just starting with a relational database, learn MySQL first. If you need a recommendation, you can see this list of the best MySQL courses to start with. 





That's all about some of the new skills Java developers need today to boost their careers. Initially, it may sound too many, but you will find that you already know most of them. Also, you don't need to learn all of them, pick the skills which interest you and closer to the work you are doing now, or want to do in the future.


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P. S. - If you want to become a frontend and backend developer in 2021, then you can also check out The Web Developer RoadMap, which also contains all the tech and resources you need to become a professional web developer.

P. S. S. - If you want to become a DevOps Engineer in 2021, then you should check out this awesome The Complete DevOps Engineer RoadMap, which also contains all the tech and resources you need to become a professional web developer. 

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