How to Become a Java Programmer: Education and Career Roadmap

Mar 04, 2020

Research the requirements to become a Java programmer. Learn about the job description and duties and read the step-by-step process to start a career in Java programming.

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Should I Become a Java Programmer?

Java programmers develop business and Web applications for a variety of platforms using the Java programming language. Java allows for fast processing in games, software applications and utilities for Internet, as well as computer and mobile devices. Java programmers often work alone, but may collaborate with software developers and engineers. Programmers often work seated at computers for most of their work hours.

Career Requirements

Getting into this career typically requires a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. Certification is available for Java programmers, but is not mandatory. Experience may be preferred for students with less than a bachelor's degree. With a bachelor's degree, experience may not be necessary. Key skills for Java programmers include solid analytical, problem-solving and time management skills; familiarity with such programs as Javascript and Java Parser; the ability to use compiler software and database software; and familiarity with computer equipment, such as mainframe computers and serial port cards. In 2018, the median annual salary for computer programmers was $84,280, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Steps to Getting Into This Career

What are the steps to take to become a Java programmer?

Step 1: Earn a College Degree

Though substantial technical experience and knowledge may help secure employment as a Java programmer, most employers look for applicants with a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related subject, such as mathematics or information systems. In some cases, an associate's degree may be acceptable, but a 4-year degree is typically the minimum educational credential needed. Students in these programs take general education courses in addition to specialized computer science coursework. Areas covered may include data structures, computer architecture, database management, compilers, statistics and technical writing. Focused coursework in Java programming is available in many programs. In addition to classroom instruction, students gain hands-on experience working with instructors to learn about writing computer code and fixing coding problems in computer laboratories.

To improve your college experience, join a student organization. Many colleges and universities have student associations devoted to computer science. These associations can be a great way for students to connect with other individuals who share their interest in computers and desire to become programmers. Student organizations may allow students to connect with alumni and corporate representatives and may prove to be valuable networking resources.

Additionally, consider specific training. Community colleges, vocational schools and technical schools provide courses and extended programs of study in Java development. Requirements for previous academic or technical knowledge vary. Aspiring Java programmers may wish to look into certificate programs focused specifically on Java programming to gain specialized knowledge and advanced skills in the field.

Step 2: Get Certified

There are no specific educational requirements to test for Java certification, though sufficient comprehension of the language and its applications is necessary. Java programmers must know how to compile the programming language as well as how to update, repair and modify Java-based applications. Several Java levels and disciplines exist, including business, Web and mobile application development. Certification generally requires successfully completing an examination. Though optional, earning this technical certification typically enhances a job applicant's marketability.

To really shine, earn multiple certifications. A wide variety of relevant certification options are available to Java programmers. Programmers may wish to gain more than one certification to demonstrate to potential employers that they possess a range of skills and are dedicated to their profession. Multiple software vendors and professional organizations offer certifications.

Step 3: Gain Experience

Degrees and certifications pave the way for a Java programmer to find employment with a software or technical service company. After acquiring some industry experience, Java programmers can qualify for jobs as computer and information systems managers or software developers. Positions as computer systems analysts are available to experienced programmers who are familiar with the field of business.

To recap, with an undergraduate degree and possibly certification, you can become a Java programmer, which develops business and Web applications for a variety of platforms using the Java programming language and earns about $84,000 a year.

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