“What is the best programming language to learn?” is a common question asked by beginners who are thinking about learning to code. It’s a good question, too. Learning how to code is intense and a big challenge, so you’ll want to feel as though you have chosen the right technology to focus on learning.
There is technically no right answer to this question because every language has its own unique features and use cases. In addition, no matter what language you learn, you’ll still be able to build your problem-solving skills and acquire a new ability that can help accelerate your transition to a career in tech.
According to StackOverflow’s 2019 Developer Survey, which studied more than 90,000 developers and their coding practices, Java is the fifth most popular programming language in the world. In addition, on GitHub alone, which is a code-sharing site for developers, there are over 1.4 million projects that use Java.
Why is Java so hyped up? Why is it a good language for beginners? We’re going to answer those questions in this article by breaking down the top six reasons why learning to code in Java is a great investment in your future.
What Is Java?
Java, initially developed at Sun Microsystems, is a general-purpose programming language used for everything from web development to game development.
Java was created to be a simpler version of C++, which was well-known for having a steep learning curve and for being difficult to use. The Java language is object-oriented, which means that developers can use classes to define the structure of data and the methods that can be executed on data in a program.
Some of the features that make Java so powerful include:
- The fact the language is independent of platforms, so you can run Java code on any device (as long as it is run within the Java Virtual Machine)
- Java is simple and secure
- Java was designed with performance in mind, and as a result, the language can be used to develop highly efficient and modern applications
Now, why should you learn Java? Let’s break down a few answers to that question!
#1: Java Is a Versatile and Flexible Language
While Java may be a few decades old—it was initially designed in 1995—the language is still known for its versatility, and for being applicable across a wide range of contexts.
Today, it is used for everything from developing web applications to implementing Internet of Things devices like smart light bulbs and heaters. In addition, Java is commonly used for analyzing big data sets, powering training platforms, performing mathematical and scientific calculations, and more.
As if that was not enough, Java is also the technology that powers Android, the most widely-used mobile operating system in the world.
This is so important because, once you’ve learned Java, there is really no limit to what you can build aside from your imagination. When you master the basics, you can use your skills to specialize in game development, web development, or another field where Java is prominently used.
#2: Java Is Not Going Anywhere
One of the most common concerns echoed by newbies to tech is: Will this technology be around in the future?
This is a common question because of how fast-paced the tech industry is. Companies are always changing the technologies they are working with, and developers are always on the lookout for new skills to learn.
But, with Java, you don’t have to worry about your knowledge becoming obsolete in a few years. It has already been around for over 20 years, and in that time it has become essential to many businesses and organizations.
In fact, Java is so valuable that it is often taught as the core programming language in computer science degree programs around the world. This is because not only is Java versatile, but it is a great platform that you can use to learn more about how computers work more broadly.
#3: Java Is Favored by Employers
Whether or not you are interested in moving into a career in tech now, one factor in deciding what language to learn will likely be the employment prospects.
The employment prospects for Java developers can be described in one word: promising.
According to data from Glassdoor (collected on April 23rd, 2020), there are over 25,045 job openings in the United States for Java developers. This demonstrates just how many companies rely on Java to power their organizations.
In addition, Java is also widely used by big organizations. Netflix, Pinterest, Amazon, Spotify, and Instagram are a few of the many tech companies that report using Java for some purpose within their organization.
With this in mind, it is clear that learning how to code in Java could have a significant impact on your career. Companies large and small rely on Java for their technical needs, and knowing how to code in Java could help you break into a career in tech.
#4: Java Has a Supportive Community
While we cannot know for sure how many people know how to code in Java, many estimates cite figures in the millions. Regardless, it is clear that Java has a vast community of loyal developers who use the technology.
Because there are so many people and companies that rely on Java, there is a massive body of resources out there that you can use to learn how to code in Java. From online courses to comprehensive coding bootcamps, you should have no trouble finding a learning resource that matches your unique needs and learning style.
Do you need more convincing? Here are a few stats for you to show the size of the Java community:
- The TIOBE Index, which ranks the popularity of programming languages based on search volume across 25 search engines, currently reports (as of April 2020) that Java is the most-searched programming language in the world, and retained that same position one year ago (in April 2019).
- On StackOverflow, Java was the fifth most-talked-about technology on its platform in 2019.
- There are over 1.4 million repositories on GitHub which use Java, as we mentioned earlier in this article.
#5: Java Is Friendly for Beginners
The Java language was built based on the principles of C and C++, but with simplicity in mind. As a result, the developer experience for Java programming is significantly smoother than that of many other programming languages.
In addition, because Java is an object-oriented programming language, it is easy to maintain and modify existing code, and add new code to projects. Object-oriented programming also assists in making code more scalable, so as your code gets more complex, you should have no trouble managing it over time.
The only drawback to Java is that its syntax can be quite inflexible. But, this is often seen as a good thing, because it encourages developers to be extra careful when writing code.
#6: Java Developers Earn Impressive Salaries
So, now we know that Java is favored by both developers and employers. But what do the salaries look like for Java developers?
According to Glassdoor, the average Java developer in the United States earns $79,137. Even junior Java developers report an average base pay of $67,277. (This data was collected on April 23rd, 2020).
Reflecting on these figures, one thing is clear—companies are willing to pay highly for talented Java developers.
Learning Java Is a No-Brainer
We discussed earlier that there is no “right” coding language to learn, and that is still true. But, if you’re looking to learn how to code and are not sure about which language to learn, Java is certainly worth mulling over.
Java is well-known for its strong learning curve which makes it a great language for anyone to learn, even if you do not have any prior programming experience. In addition, Java has a strong developer community that can back you up if you ever have a question for which you cannot find an answer.
Learning Java can also have a positive impact on your career. Java developers are not only in high demand, but they are well compensated for their work. And, as a bonus, Java is used in so many different contexts that your skills could help you pursue any number of careers in tech—from game development to software engineering.
If you’re looking for help getting started, check out Career Karma’s Introduction to Java blog series. This series covers a few of the top technical topics you’ll need to know in order to become a Java master.