You probably know that Java (or as scientists call it, ‘coffee’) is the most popular beverage in the world. You might not know that the programming language Java is often cited as the most widely-used language of all time. Released by James Gosling in 1996, Java utilized the Java Virtual Machine to become one of the early and most successful attempts to enable truly cross-platform development.
In part because of this, Java has grown to become an important tool for backend web development, data science, machine learning, and a host of other applications in the years since Bill Clinton left office.
Given its popularity it’s reasonable to ask: what might a full stack Java developer pull down in a year? Career Karma has done the research so that you can focus on your pet frog collection (or whatever).
Why Learn Java?
There are any number of reasons why learning Java represents a good investment of your time.
It’s likely that you’ll find Java anywhere you look. It’s a core component in applications for almost every kind of operating system, device, and environment. Because it has been around so long, there are many companies, both technical and non-technical, utilizing legacy systems built around Java. You could probably build an entire career just out of fixing old Java, rarely having to write anything cutting edge or new.
And speaking of longevity, Java is mature. This means both that many of the bugs that come with newer languages have long since been worked out, and there are 3rd-party libraries for almost any conceivable task. What’s more, the Java community is active, robust, and well-seasoned. Any question you have will likely have answers from 50 experienced engineers in short order.
What Does a Full Stack Developer Do?
Web development is one of the better career choices you can make these days, but there’s an important distinction between front end, backend, and full stack web development, one which directly impacts what you’re going to make writing code.
By and large a ‘front end’ developer is focused on the components of interfaces, websites, and tools which face the user. A front end developer is responsible for layout, menus, and the elements which respond to user inputs.
A ‘backend’ developer, on the other hand, creates things that users don’t see and probably don’t know exist. Working on the backend means reading and writing from databases, optimizing algorithms, and similar tasks.
Naturally, a ‘full stack’ developer works between and within both these two domains, and must be fluent with the technologies appropriate to each.
How Much Can You Make as a Java Full Stack Developer?
All the usual caveats apply — full stack Java developer pay will vary by the kind of job you’re doing and what other skills are required, but nevertheless tends to be pretty good.
I like to get a feel for the salary potential of different jobs by comparing the average compensation for it in Denver, NYC, Austin, and San Francisco using Glassdoor. Here’s what that looks like if you’re a full stack Java Developer:
- Denver — $89,866 per year on average (2% above the national average), with a range of $65,000 per year on the low end and $121,000 per year on the high end.
- NYC — $95,237 per year on average (8% above the national average), with $70,000 a year on the low end and $129,000 a year on the high end.
- Austin — $89,211 per year on average (1% above the national average), with $65,000 a year on the high end and $121,000 a year on the high end.
- San Francisco — $107,716 per year on average (22% above the national average), with $79,000 per year on the low end and $144,000 per year on the high end.
As you can see, full stack Java developers do quite well for themselves. What’s more, they get to work with a fascinating language solving challenging problems.
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