The Day-to-Day as a Java Developer
Java Developers are responsible for: designing and developing desktop, web, internet of things (IoT), or mobile Java-based applications. They often work on a team with: other Developers, Designers, project stakeholders, a Scrum Master, and a Project or Product Manager. Java Developers work in many industries and can find exciting work in software, healthcare, finance, space exploration, web applications, self-driving cars, government projects, and more. Java Developers can find full-time work onsite, remotely, or even freelance. They typically work a 40-hour week but will occasionally work overtime during certain parts of the application building lifecycle to complete code sprints.
Millions of programmers use Java, and each Java Developer role will vary but can include working on one application from start to finish, working on one type of component for multiple applications, or working on parts of several applications simultaneously. While every company is different, most Java Developers will spend their day: attending team meetings, responding to emails, coding, designing software and system architectures, modeling data, and researching alternative technologies.
What Skills Should Java Developers Have?
Java Developers should have the fundamentals of software development down, including design best practices, wireframing and whiteboarding, troubleshooting, and quality control. As Java-specific programmers, they must be proficient in Java. They’ll need to understand object-oriented programming, data structures, algorithm design, complexity analysis, writing code to be reusable and reliable, how to write scalable code, and how to use Java Frameworks. They should be familiar with web frameworks, like Play and Spark, as well as graphical user interfaces (GUI) and frameworks such as Swing, SQT, and AWT. Application programming interfaces (APIs) and databases will also be important tools for a Java Developer and they should know how to use RESTful and other such tools.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a Java Developer
Java is a class-based, object-oriented, general-purpose programming language that was designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. Java is used by Software Engineers to create computer applications. Java can also be used to build modules and applets for use within a web page.
Computer science is the study of the principles and use of computers. Computer science is the most common 4-year degree for Developers and Engineers. It involves studying theories, methods of processing information, and the designing and building of hardware and software.
A code editor is a text editor program designed specifically for editing the code of a computer or web program. It can come in the form of a standalone application, in a web browser tool, or within an integrated development environment (IDE).
Developer tools are tools typically created by developers to do tasks like debug code, edit code more efficiently, test code, test interface, and more efficiently build websites and applications.
Git is a distributed version control system that is standard in software and web development. Git allows multiple developers to work on the same project at once or a single developer to keep track of changes. It also creates a simple environment to conduct A/B testing. Git is designed to optimize speed, data integrity, as well as distributed and non-linear workflows.
Java Developer Salaries
A Java Developer in the United States makes, on average, $112,013 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Java Developers vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Java Developer salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
- U.S. Average $112K source n/a
New York City
Los Angeles, CA
Orange County, CA
- U.S. Average $112K source n/a
Typical Qualifications to Become a Java Developer
Many employers will prefer Java Developers to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer programming, but a degree is not required. Increasingly, employers are accepting applicants from coding bootcamps and other alternative tech education programs for Developer positions. No certifications are required for this position but can be obtained through Oracle University
Searching for Java Developer Jobs
Developers work in many industries and can find exciting work in software, finance, space exploration, web applications, self-driving cars, government projects, and more. Java Developers usually work full-time and can find jobs onsite, working remotely, or freelance. They can find jobs on sites specific to programmers, but also plenty of listings on general job boards.
Java Developers can look for jobs on these sites:
- Java Code Geeks
- Authentic Jobs
- GitHub Jobs
- The Muse
- Career Builder
- The Ladders
Java Developers can find remote and freelance opportunities on these sites:
Tips to Become a Java Developer
Java Developers might find the job search competitive, but they can hone their skills and research employers to stand out. Java is typically used for large scale applications that are quite complicated. Employers will be looking for you to not only know Java but to also be proficient in the ways that their company is applying it. This is often through: enterprise applications, in the back end of large scale streaming platforms, or in Android applications. If you have no experience building scalable apps that are reliable, try contributing to an open-source project on GitHub or picking up a few small freelance projects. Make sure your code is well organized and readable for other people who are working on the projects. This factor is a big plus for employers with large teams.
If you have time, you should also work on a passion project of your own, using Java. Whether it’s a web, desktop, or mobile application, build the app from start to finish. Demonstrate your ability to write error-catching code that is scalable, reliable, and reusable. Create server-side code if you want to stand out to larger tech companies who are hiring Junior Java Developers. Put your passion project apps, any code you’ve written for open source projects, and any freelance work you’ve done, in a clean portfolio site to make it easy for employers to see how you code. Consider writing up a case study about one or two projects to demonstrate how you solved problems, what you’re passionate about, and where you thrive as a Java Developer.
To get the work experience needed to excel on a team of Developers, see if you can get some pair-programming time in. If you attended a bootcamp, reach out to your cohort-mates. If you did a four-year program at a college or university, you may be able to find a club or a few classmates who are willing to pair program with you. If you attended neither, you can find Java Developer groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, and other social media sites. You might be able to make some friends who are at a similar level of Java proficiency to practice with, who are also on the job hunt. If you’re truly having trouble finding another person to code with, you can always find someone on Codementor.
Use these pair-programming buddies to prepare for your job interviews, too! Mock-interviews are the very best way to prepare for a technical interview. Practice interviewing and coding while you apply for jobs and connect with people at those companies on LinkedIn. Be consistent with practicing, networking, and applying as much as possible. Once you gain some momentum making a handful of connections and well-written cover letters each week, you’ll start to see some results!
What Job Titles Would a Java Developer Hold?
Java Developers can look for job titles such as
- Java Developer
- Junior Java Developer
- Entry-Level Java Developer
- Java Engineer
- Java Software Engineer
- Back End Java Developer
- Front End Java Developer
- Full Stack Java Developer
Java Developers usually work in back end development and could easily pivot to the more general Back End Developer role without learning any new skills. If they enjoy integrating front end technologies, they should consider pivoting to a Software Engineer or Full Stack Developer role. Software Engineers and Full Stack Developers work on both the front end and back end code. They create the parts of a website or application that a user interacts with and the logic that powers it. These jobs both work more with the front end, but sometimes Software Engineers are also focusing on lower-level programming as well.
Salary Comparison to Java Developer
Software engineers use their extensive knowledge of user experience design, operating systems, and programming languages to develop software. They can create different types of software, from games to operating systems. After analyzing a client's needs, they design, develop, and test software to meet that need. Software engineers can be divided into two distinct career categories: application engineers and systems engineers.Learn about becoming a Software Engineer
Full Stack Developer
Full Stack Developers build web applications for both the visible front end that users see and the back end that powers the applications.Learn about becoming a Full Stack Developer
Back End Developer
A Back End Developer builds the server-side of a web application and integrates front end development components.Learn about becoming a Back End Developer