The tech industry is considered one of the most dynamic and ever-changing industries today. Java being a very versatile programming language keeps evolving to be compatible with new and upcoming technologies. In such circumstances, a Java developer often wonders how they can keep up and accelerate their Java developer career path to stay ahead, what things they should learn, and which area should they explore to become a better developer.
In this article, we will be discussing some of the new skills and tools you can learn to accelerate your Java developer career path. It is to be noted that all this information is targeted for established Java developers with good fundamentals like coding, data structures and algorithms, and adequate knowledge of concepts like object-oriented programming, networking and different protocols, etc.
These skillsets and fields can surely distinguish you from other Java programmers and have the potential to accelerate your Java developer career path to a great extent.
1. Software designing and architecture
Software design and architecture are perhaps the most important part of the software development process. Being able to see the system as a whole and be able to identify the right architecture and technology stack required for proper implementation of the project are some very crucial skills that separate a Java coder and a senior Java developer. You can direct your Java developer career path towards the solution architecture and design field if you find this field interesting. Start with exploring some software designing, and architecture tools to know more about it.
2. Learn containers and DevOps tools
DevOps was an emerging field in the tech industry a few years ago but now it is considered an essential skill for java developers. If not complete knowledge, at least some familiarity with continuous integration and continuous deployment is now expected from top java developers. It becomes even more important for a senior Java developer whose responsibilities include creating environments, building scripts and setting guidelines for other java developers.
You should start with learning DevOps in general and usage of tools like Docker, Chef, Kubernetes along with Maven and Jenkins as these are the most popular tools used for DevOps tasks.
3. Explore spring frameworks
Spring frameworks are not a new thing as now almost every company and top Java developers prefer to work on Spring frameworks like Spring MVC, Spring Boot, and Spring Cloud for the development of their web applications, REST APIs and Microservices. It is not surprising as these frameworks promote some best practices like dependency injection and makes your application easier to test.
If you gained have adequate experience with core Java, you should now start working on Spring frameworks. Starting with the basics, you can easily explore Spring Boot and Spring Cloud to start developing modern Java applications.
4. Improve your testing skills
You can become an excellent java developer but if there is one thing that can take you to the next level, it is your testing skill. It is one of the most recognized traits of a professional Java developer to write unit tests for their codes.
Just like other software development processes, testing has also come a long way with now abundance of some great testing tools specifically designed for different testing of Java applications like for unit testing, integration testing and automation testing.
If you are planning to accelerate your Java developer career path towards quality assurance and testing, you should spend some time on your testing skill. JUnit is one of the best libraries to start with. Later, you can also explore Mockito, a popular framework for testing.
5. Java APIs and libraries
Java is considered a very mature programing language, A huge number of libraries and APIs readily available is one of the major reasons for that.
It is obvious, that you are not expected to know about every API and library but you must be able to utilize some key APIs for instance, JSON processing APIs like Jackson and Gson, XML processing APIs like JAXB and Xerces and the unit testing libraries that we just discussed.
It certainly does not mean that you have to learn about all these different areas but being a Java developer basic usage of these libraries from key areas like parsing, bytecode manipulation, concurrency, collections is a must to proceed further in your Java career.
6. Learn about JVM internals
JVM internals is a completely different world as compared to project development. There are various parts and features of JVM like JIT, Garbage collections, and collectors that you might have just heard about. If you get to know about JVM internals well enough, you can become capable of writing both a robust as well as high-performance Java application. This can lead to a career in profiling Java applications and performance enhancement of Java applications.
7. Front-end development
It is very evident that as the Java platform has continued to boom, the front-end technologies have also seen a similar rise in demand. Now, almost every company has dedicated teams for front-end development. You can accelerate your Java developer career path by adding front-end development to your skillset. With this knowledge, you can get both application development, as well as front-end development, done. It is something organizations would crave to see in a candidate while hiring.
8. Learn how to build cloud-native apps
A few years ago, it was the norm to migrate the existing applications to services like AWS, Google and Azure for cloud storage. Now the scenario has changed as applications are now being developed directly to the cloud being Cloud-native. Due to which companies now seek Java developers with experience in developing such products. This is a good time to learn to develop cloud-native applications. It will not only increase your worth but is also a good direction to go forward in your Java developer career path.
9. Learn design patterns
New java developers start their development journey with object-oriented principles but they often do not advance to proper design patterns. Incorporating design patterns into your code will not only make your application more flexible but it will be also easier to make any modifications in cthe future. It also improves overall code quality and documentation because other senior Java developers are often familiar with design patterns and they would be able to understand your work rather quickly.
10. Improve your Java knowledge
You might already have adequate knowledge of Java but as Java is constantly updating and now with a new version every 6 months, it is extremely important to keep yourself updated. Commonly, many Java programmers are unaware of very significant features of Java 8 like lambdas and Stream API. Unfortunately, it also includes some experienced Java developers with 5 to 8 years of experience in their belt.
It is understood that learning becomes slow at a certain point in your career but if you want to accelerate your Java developer career path, you have to start improving your java knowledge. Almost every Java development job now requires Java 8 and above skills and it would be very difficult to work without them in the coming time. To start with, you need to pick one latest Java feature and commit to that before moving to the next one.
11. Explore new fields
Java is now also used for coding a number of different types of tech-related products. From security, lifestyle, home automation to patient monitoring systems in the healthcare sector. Being an open-source platform with a huge dedicated community, Java is now used for almost all types of applications including IoT applications, AI, blockchain and machine learning. In fact, Java developers are encouraged to explore these uncharted territories as they do not have to write the APIs from scratch rather, they can easily find their required libraries from the readily available libraries.
Although it would be a totally different and new trajectory, however, if you have worked in any of the new fields on a different platform then you can apply that knowledge to develop Java applications as well.
With all the advancements, changes and additions to the Java platform, one thing is very clear that it is not going anywhere at least in the coming decade. It might be a very bold statement to make as there have been many technologies that have emerged only to disappear gradually, but Java has stood the test of time and is still favored by developers. The fact that Java programmers are rapidly increasing indicates that you have to keep learning to accelerate in your career as a Java developer to stay relevant and have a future-proof Java developer career path.