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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

10 Things Aspiring Java Developers Should Learn in 2024

Hello guys, if you are a beginner looking for a job as Java developer but not sure what you should know or learn to become a professional Java developer then you have come to the right place. In the past, I have shared the best Java coursesbookswebsites, and even a complete Java developer roadmap and today, I am going to share few must know things to become a professional Java developer. I have interviewed many freshers and computer engineers from colleges, interns, and new hires, so for the people fresh out of school and colleges, here are some of the things I wish/hope they know before applying for developer job. 

And, these are not just true for Computer science engineers and IT graduates but also to self-taught developers who have learned coding by themselves by following any YouTube video or joining an online course. 

10 Things Every Programmer Should Know to get a Java Developers Jobs

Here are the 10 essential things I look on beginners and freshers when I am interviewing, you can learn these things to improve your chances of getting selected on Java developer interviews. 

1) Learn an IDE like Eclipse, IntelliJIDEA, or NetBeans

If you want to become a professional Java developer then you must know the tools which is used for professional development and IDE is one of them. And, when it comes to Java IDE, IntelliJIDEA is by far the most popular IDE out there. 

There are other IDEs out there, but if you pick one - make it IntelliJ IDEA. 

You should know how to make basic projects like Java and Maven based project, see what is in the console output, how to add/use additional jars in your project, and use the debugger, how to run JUnit tests, how to configure Maven for your project and know how to debug your Java program. 

This will give you a huge leg up and also separate you from other candidates who don't know about Java tools like IntelliJIDEA.  If you need resources, you can checkout these best IDEA courses and there is also a free community edition of IDEA which you can download and practice at home. 

2) Learn Source Control (Git)

Another must know thing for any developer is to know about Source control tools like Git. In a professional Java developer job you are bound to work with other people and when you are working with same codebase, you need tool to co-ordinate your work with others and that's where source control tools like Git comes. 

When I started development there are many source control tool out there like SVN, CVS, VSS, and what not but now things have been standardized and almost all the companies are using Git, which makes your job a lot easier. 

When it comes to git, you must know how to use git on both IDE and command line. You should know how to check out, check in, and update file at bare minimum. 

Knowing how to merge files and resolving conflicts will be helpful too and you should be able to do that with a command line as well as with an IDE (like Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA). 

It's also worth having your own source repository for personal projects anyhow, mostly in GitHub, and if you want to impress interviewer, you can also learn about branching like feature branch and release branch and other git best practices. 

If you want to learn git, you can checkout these best Git courses, tutorials, and websites where I have also shared interactive websites to practice git commands online. 

And, here is a nice diagram to understand how Git works:

how Git works:

3) Learn Java Language Fundamentals
You must know the Java programming language basics. Looping, exception handling, scoping, etc. Don't worry about the advanced stuff yet. A couple simple projects, with a mentor doing a bit of code review, is a fantastic way to learn.

Here few skills which you can focus more:
  • Basic language skills (for, while, class creation)
  • Java data structure experience (Collection, Map, List)
  • Debugging skills
  • Unit testing skills (particularly writing test with mocks and stubs)

4) Learn Java Collection Framework
Learn how to use java.util.Collections package like ArrayList, LinkedList, HashSet , HashMap, Hashtable, and other popular Java Collection Classes. Bonus if you know how to use the collection classes (and other classes) in java.util.Concurrent package like ConcurrentHashMap and CopyOnWriteArrayList along with BlockingQueue and other concurrent queue implementations. 

One more thing you should know is when to use which collection class, that's what I check when I interview any Java candidate. 

If you are new, this diagram and Java Collection flow chart can really help you.

10 Things Beginners Should Know to Get Java Developer Job

4) Learn Database and SQL
If you want to become a developer you must learn a 'stack'. Many early projects are some sort of web app that interacts with a data source. HTML front end, xml or database on the backend.

 I'd start with JSP (Tomcat) as the app server and a simple DB (Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, etc), with Java in the middle. 99% of the early stuff is some sort of web form/report. JSF makes a lot more sense once you understand the fundamentals. 

If you are interested in JavaScript then you can also learn React.js or Angular as many companies are now using these framework to build their front end or GUI, and it can also differentiate you from other candidates. 

5) Learn UNIX
Learn some *nix. I mean UNIX, Linux, or Solaris. Server side, you will see a lot of Linux out there. Setting up Tomcat, Git, Kafka, Eclipse, and a database on a Linux box will give you a lot of the experience you will probably bump into early on. 

Rather than look like 'vi what?', a bit of comfort will go a long way. Deploying to another box that does not have your IDE on it is good. This will help you to learn SCP, SSH and also write scripts to automate things in Linux. Using another box to compile/build your deployment code is great (ant, maven, gradle).

6) Learn a Framework like Spring or Hibernate
If you want to improve your chances of getting a Java developer job then you should start using a framework. Hibernate / JPA is going to be common for making Java talk to a database. Struts make for a good starting MVC framework for building a web app and has a lot of history. Spring MVC is quite common and a bit more current. But just start with one and get some level of mastery before picking off the next one.

7) Learn a Build tool like Maven, Gradle or ANT
Maven is a build/dependency tool that is pretty common place among Java developers, especially in a "real" job. There are tutorials on how to set it up online I don't have any offhand but if you just type Maven Setup Tutorial into google you will be pointed in the right direction.

Also if you are working in an IDE (eclipse, IntelliJ, NetBeans, STS etc) when you create a project it will set up correct folder structure for you and then after a while of using it you will just know how everything is supposed to be set up

8. Learn TDD and unit testing.
Most of the companies now prefer developer who are agile and can do Test Driven development. While its not mandatory but knowing how to use TDD and comfortable with unit testing goes a long way in doing well on interviews. If you can write unit test for the code you write without using ChatGPT then you are good to go. You can also read books and join courses but you better learn TDD and unit testing. 

9. Learn about REST (jax-rs) and  SOAP (jax-ws)
A lot of Java web application interact with web, not necessarily internet but another system in the same company and over REST. For example, I once worked in a project where we used to upload and download reports over HTTP and REST. 

These reports were quite heavy like 100 to 500MB so dealing with them was not that easy, hence knowing how to deal with common challenges in REST and SOAP is great skills to have. 

10. Learn client side coding: JavaScript, HTML, CSS.
Knowing more than one programming language or tech stack is always preferred because people expects developers can do anything and quickly. Most of them time they want you to give the tool and solution the moment they tell you, hence having knowledge of things like Python, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS can improve your chances. 

11. Bonus: Microservices and Software architecture
If you know about software architecture like Microservices, Monolithic, and SOA you can make nice impression on interviews. Knowing system design concepts like Scalability, Failover, disaster recovery, API Gateway, Database replication and sharding also shows your knowledge and can impress interviewers. 

That's all about what should a computer science graduate or software engineer should know to get a Java programming job. I know, I have mentioned quite a lot of things but they are absolute essential and you don't need to be expert on them. Just knowing how to use them and some comfort with them goes a long way. 
Other Programming Articles you may like
Thanks for reading this article so far. If you like this article, then please share it with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or feedback, please drop a note.

P. S. - If you want to become a frontend and backend developer in 2024, 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 2024, 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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