Java Engineer: Job Duties & Career Requirements

Explore the work responsibilities of a Java engineer. Learn about what education and skills are necessary in addition to employment outlook and salary to decide if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for a Java Engineer

Java engineers, often referred to as computer applications software engineers, use Java software to bring concepts to reality by generating the algorithms that tell the computer what to do. Java powers more than 10 billion devices, and Java engineers have enabled the seamless integration of technology into everyday lives. Java allows people to play video games, watch Blu-ray technology, and is found on 3 billion mobile phones and even in washing machines. Java engineers have profoundly shaped the way we use the Internet through programs that make complicated web applications, such as animated sequences and data centers seem simple, according to Sun Microsystems.

Java software rose to such popularity due to its cross-platform nature, which means it works whether run by a Windows PC, Macintosh or UNIX system. To date, the Java platform has attracted more than 9 million software developers, according to

Education Bachelor's degree typically required
Job Skills Passion for technology, competition, new skills, business skills
Median Salary (2015)* $98,260 for software developers in applications
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 19% for software developers in applications

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

According to O*Net Online, roughly 75% of applications software developers hold a bachelor's degree, and 9% have earned a master's degree in the field. Typically, employers require at least a bachelor's degree, and prefer graduate degrees. Those wishing to become Java engineers typically pursue a degree in computer science or software engineering accompanied by specialty courses in programming for the Java platform. Experience enhances job prospects and many students supplement their education with internships.

Skills Required

Those seeking to pursue a career as a Java engineer must have an obsession with technology, thrive in a competitive environment, and zealously pursue new skills in order to remain relevant. Those with business and interpersonal skills will stand apart and be of particular value.

Career and Economic Outlook

Technology is integral to every segment of the economy. Software developers of applications, including Java engineers, should expect to see employment grow by about 19% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The proliferation of new technologies, coupled with concerns over cyber-security, will require skilled engineers. According to the BLS, in May 2015, the median annual earnings of software developers for applications, such as Java engineers, were reported as $98,260.

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Alternative Career Options

For other programming-related career choices, check out the following:

Web Developer

If using SQL or JavaScript to create dynamic and interactive websites sounds appealing, consider a career in web development. Many types of jobs fall under this occupation, including webmaster, web designer and web architect. Job duties will depend on the title but may involve choosing styles, colors and the layout of web pages, adding code to form the structure of sites, monitoring websites and troubleshooting performance issues. Web developers could find employment with an associate degree in a web design field and knowledge of graphic design and programming. Some more complex web architect positions may necessitate earning a related bachelor's degree. As reported by the BLS in 2015, web developers earned a median wage of $64,790 per year. BLS predictions show job opportunities for developers should increase by 27% during the 2014-2024 decade.

Computer Programmer

For those who are interested in writing programming code but want to do more than just work with the Java language, becoming a computer programmer could be a good career choice. Computer programmers use programming languages such as Java and C++ to generate code for new programs and applications. They work off of drawings and plans created by software developers and also run tests to evaluate performance. An associate degree in a computer science field is the minimum requirement to work in the profession, but some employers prefer applicants with a related bachelor's degree. As projected by the BLS, employment of computer programmers should decline by 8% from 2014-2024, resulting in the loss of over 26,000 jobs. In 2015, these computer professionals received $79,530 in median yearly compensation, based on BLS figures.

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