Java Developer Career Growth

Feb 03, 2020

Skilled Java developers are in high demand. A developer who can combine their tech savvy with strong management and interpersonal skills can move up the IT career ladder.

Career Advancement for Java Developers

Java developers often bring to the job a bachelor's degree in computer science, strong analytical and problem-solving skills, and an attention to detail. They write, revise, and optimize Java-based applications according to client needs. The extensive use of Java within e-commerce and other applications means that Java developers are in high demand. An experienced developer with strong interpersonal and management skills could move up the IT career ladder, stepping from senior development all the way up to the management rungs at departmental and corporate levels. Four advancement opportunities are explored here, including the requirements and responsibilities for each.

Job Title Median Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2018-2028)** Qualifications
Senior Java Developer $100,558 26% (software developers, applications) Bachelor's degree in a computer science field, master's degree could be preferred
5+ years java development experience
Information Technology (IT) Director $118,723 11% (computer and information systems managers) Bachelor's or master's degree in information technology or a related field
5+ years of IT directing/management experience
Chief Technology Officer (CTO) $159,445 11% (computer and information systems managers) Bachelor's or master's degree in information technology or related field
15+ years of IT management experience
Chief Information Officer (CIO) $158,851 11% (computer and information systems managers) Bachelor's or master's degree in information technology or a related field//10+ years IT management experience

Source: *, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information

Senior Java Developer

A Java developer with around five or more years of experience may be able to move into the role of senior Java developer. A senior Java developer is not only a skilled and versatile programmer. This role also requires clear communication with their development team, the ability to analyze and develop solutions to performance issues, and the ability to improve development practices. A senior Java developer is expected to focus on critical details while also seeing each project's big picture. Java developers looking for advancement should be proficient in multiple programming languages and up to date on the ever-changing information technology (IT) field. While a bachelor's degree is often adequate, a master's degree may be preferred by some employers.

Information Technology (IT) Director

A Java developer with skills in leadership, interpersonal communication, and project management can move up the career ladder to information technology (IT) director. IT directors provide direction for their department, supervising employees and implementing corporate policies. They may also be responsible for determining an organization's IT needs, hiring IT employees, and coordinating IT department services. Budgeting, reporting, and meeting with other corporate management also fall under their scope of work. IT director applicants should have five or more years of prior IT experience. A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement for IT directors; some employers seek applicants with a master's degree.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

A Java developer with extensive management experience could advance into the position of chief technology officer (CTO). A member of their company's executive team, the CTO provides the highest level of technical leadership and experience. Since they coordinate with other department heads to design and implement the company's technology goals, they must be able to communicate IT-related concepts to non-IT management and executives. The CTO must also be able to multitask and perform consistently under pressure. In companies with both a chief technology officer and a chief information officer (CIO), the CTO reports to the CIO and is responsible for implementing the CIO's policies. Employers may require a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science or related field and up to 15 years of work experience.

Chief Information Officer (CIO)

The highest IT position in a corporation is the chief information officer (CIO). A Java developer with several years of proven managerial experience could move into this high-level role. A CIO sets the company's IT goals. This can include deciding the organizational structure of an IT department and ensuring the optimal performance of current technology systems. The CIO then oversees or delegates goal implementation. The CIO may be directly over the IT department or over a group of IT managers or directors. Therefore, the CIO must have a combination of IT and management skills. CIO applicants generally have ten or more years of experience in IT management and a bachelor's or master's degree.

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