Win a copy of GANs in ActionE this week in the AI forum
or WebAssembly in Action in the JavaScript forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Bear Bibeault
  • Paul Clapham
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
  • Knute Snortum
Sheriffs:
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • Tim Cooke
  • Junilu Lacar
Saloon Keepers:
  • Ron McLeod
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Tim Moores
  • Tim Holloway
  • Carey Brown
Bartenders:
  • Joe Ess
  • salvin francis
  • fred rosenberger

Java - Future career question

 
Greenhorn
Posts: 23
Mac Eclipse IDE Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey guys! I'm currently in the Army and I'm earning credits towards my bachelors in Computer Science at UMUC. I'd really like to make a career out of being a Java programmer. Because I'm new to Java and only have made really basic programs, I can't help but wonder what do employers need Java programmers for? I don't mean to sound rude one bit, I'm extremely curious as to what to expect that I'll be doing as a Java programmer. I'm completed fascinated by the language but because of my lack of knowledge I don't know what I'd be doing on a daily basis.

Do you have any suggestions on what I can do now to prepare myself for a career in Java? A lot of the terminology seems to stump me and I'm afraid that an interview would make me fumble around a bit.

Summary of questions:

Q: What can I expect to do on a daily basis in the future as a Java programmer?
A:

Q: What can I do now, as a beginner in Java, to prepare for a career in the future? If you could go back, what would you do again/do differently?
A:

Q: Any tips for remembering the terminology in Java that may be used amongst other programmers or during the interview? I seem to struggle to remember some of the names of things right now!
A:

Q: What can you expect for a salary with someone that has Military experience (not programming related) and hopefully a Bachelors Degree?
A:

Q: Would pursuing the Java certificates benefit me more than a degree?
A:

I can't thank you guys enough. I love this forum and I love being apart of this community
 
Bartender
Posts: 2407
36
Scala Python Oracle Postgres Database Linux
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Caveat: I'm not a Java expert and right now I'm working in big data, not Java, but until the real Java experts turn up, here's a few thoughts.

Q: Would pursuing the Java certificates benefit me more than a degree?


No. The certificates are much less challenging than a degree, and tend to have a narrow focus on a particular set/version of specific Java-based tools e.g. web components etc. The certificates are nice to have, and they can provide a useful framework for your own learning, but employers tend not to value them particularly highly. A good degree plus certificates shows you're smart and motivated to learn this stuff. Certificates without a degree (or lots of experience) won't get you through the door.

Q: Any tips for remembering the terminology in Java that may be used amongst other programmers or during the interview?


Practice! And read a lot around the topics you're interested in. There's a lot of jargon in IT, so don't get too hung up on terminology, although knowing some of the main design patterns is probably useful (try Head First Design Patterns for a user-friendly intro). Make sure you understand and can discuss the key concepts behind the terminology instead. And don't be afraid to say "I don't know" or ask interviewers to clarify their questions if necessary. Bluffing with jargon is not going to get you very far, but being honest and asking smart questions is a much more positive approach.

Q: What can I do now, as a beginner in Java, to prepare for a career in the future?


Stop thinking of yourself as a "Java developer" and start thinking of yourself as a developer. It's great that you're keen to explore Java, and Java is one of the most widely used languages in the IT industry. But it's not the only skill you need to be a good developer, and it's not necessarily going to be the sole foundation of your IT career. Your programming language is going to die!

Take every opportunity to learn about things beyond the confines of Java programming or indeed the JVM. For example, look at web technologies - JavaScript is now a realistic choice for a full-stack web application, so find out a bit how this works, and make sure you also understand at least the basics of HTML and CSS, REST etc. Make sure you understand SQL and the basics of relational data modelling - most business applications will have a relational database underneath them, and many Java programmers (in my experience) are rubbish at SQL and can kill an application's performance with a single line of poorly written SQL, so don't be one of those guys! There is plenty to learn, and every developer will have their own list of pet topics, but look out for ideas and skills that are widely applicable to the areas you'd like to work in.

Learn about testing, and get comfortable with the tooling around Java - IDEs like Eclipse, continuous integration, testing tools etc. In my last Java developer job, I spent more time fighting the tools than I did writing Java code! And with virtualisation and "devops" taking over the world, there's more and more of this stuff to learn about.

If you want a great all-round overview of the practical stuff a (Java) developer needs to know about, I can highly recommend The Well-Grounded Java Developer. It's a couple of years old now, so it looks at Java 7 rather than Java 8, but it's full of useful stuff.

And you should really pick up a copy of Josh Bloch's Effective Java, which is some years old but full of useful tips for writing good Java.

Some other books I've found useful or interesting:

The Pragmatic Programmer
The Productive Programer
Clean Code

And SICP helped to introduce me to a whole new world of pain fun with Functional Programming!

OK, over to the real Java experts. Good luck!
 
Brandon Bushnell
Greenhorn
Posts: 23
Mac Eclipse IDE Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

chris webster wrote:No. The certificates are much less challenging than a degree, and tend to have a narrow focus on a particular set/version of specific Java-based tools e.g. web components etc.



Thank you very much for this, this was great to know. The only reason I thought maybe employees would seek out certificates is because certificates require testing and a proctor that doesn’t allow for any assistance from google.

chris webster wrote:
There's a lot of jargon in IT, so don't get too hung up on terminology, although knowing some of the main design patterns is probably useful (try Head First Design Patterns for a user-friendly intro).



Really glad you suggested this book. I actually just picked it up! I have a total of two books in my collection but I feel it’s going to keep growing, haha!

chris webster wrote:Stop thinking of yourself as a "Java developer" and start thinking of yourself as a developer



This is probably what I took most from your response and I think will stick for some time. I can’t thank you enough for this. It’s difficult to even think about other languages right now when I feel like I haven’t even touched the surface of Java. I’m sure with time it’ll all come together.

When I was previously deployed I did work a job where I managed a database that held Aircraft historical. I wrote little SQL scripts and would have to manually go into the SQL database and adjust cells. I’d also regularly perform backups. Until then I’ve never worked with SQL besides when I was learning about PHP and MySQL for websites. Would any of this experience be something I should put on a resume?

I can’t thank you enough for your response. It was really in-depth and clarified a lot of issues for me. Thank you so much for doing that. I’ve added all of the books you suggested to my “to-read” list!
 
chris webster
Bartender
Posts: 2407
36
Scala Python Oracle Postgres Database Linux
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Brandon Bushnell wrote:It’s difficult to even think about other languages right now when I feel like I haven’t even touched the surface of Java. I’m sure with time it’ll all come together.


That's normal. I first started learning about Java soon after it came out in 1996, then when I came back a couple of years later the language had doubled in size, and since then the libraries seem to double in size every year - it grows like bacteria... Don't try to learn it all, just pick some core areas where you feel you want a strong grounding, then pick up the other stuff as and when you need it. No point learning stuff that will be obsolete by the time you think you need it!

Brandon Bushnell wrote:When I was previously deployed I did work a job where I managed a database that held Aircraft historical. I wrote little SQL scripts and would have to manually go into the SQL database and adjust cells. I’d also regularly perform backups. Until then I’ve never worked with SQL besides when I was learning about PHP and MySQL for websites. Would any of this experience be something I should put on a resume?


I would say yes, and it means you probably already know more than some Java programmers I've worked with!
 
Brandon Bushnell
Greenhorn
Posts: 23
Mac Eclipse IDE Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

chris webster wrote:
That's normal. I first started learning about Java soon after it came out in 1996, then when I came back a couple of years later the language had doubled in size, and since then the libraries seem to double in size every year - it grows like bacteria... Don't try to learn it all, just pick some core areas where you feel you want a strong grounding, then pick up the other stuff as and when you need it. No point learning stuff that will be obsolete by the time you think you need it!



Oh wow, you've been coding with Java for a while! I guess I get overwhelmed when I start hearing about 'Server' talk and such. I'm just a home programmer that hasn't done anything other then simple programs, even with VB6. Is there anything to do to prepare for it? Should I look at buying my own VPS or something similar to start getting ahead of the game now?


chris webster wrote:I would say yes, and it means you probably already know more than some Java programmers I've worked with!


That's great to hear! I just need to somehow translate it into a resume! I just feel like whenever I build a resume I'm overselling myself with some of the technical aspects of the resume.

I also have to ask. When you finally have a job as a programmer, of any language, are you allowed to look up resources to help? I feel like you're trapped in a room with no internet access and you're suppose to know how to code everything from the top of your head, haha. Is there any validity behind that or do you actually get the ability to look up things you're not too familiar with?

 
Marshal
Posts: 67340
173
Mac Mac OS X IntelliJ IDE jQuery Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Brandon Bushnell wrote: when I start hearing about 'Server' talk and such ... Should I look at buying my own VPS or something similar to start getting ahead of the game now?


The average home PC or Mac is perfectly capable of being used as a server. You don't need to buy any extra or special equipment.

whenever I build a resume I'm overselling myself with some of the technical aspects of the resume.


Resume inflation is common, but be sure not to sell yourself short either. If you have familiarity with a technology, include it. When discussing it, be up-front with regards to your experience. You do not need to be an expert to include it. If we were only allowed to list what we are experts on, there'd be some very short resumes floating around.

I also have to ask. When you finally have a job as a programmer, of any language, are you allowed to look up resources to help?


Of course. I have the memory of a flea. I constantly look things up.
 
chris webster
Bartender
Posts: 2407
36
Scala Python Oracle Postgres Database Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Brandon Bushnell wrote:Oh wow, you've been coding with Java for a while!


Elapsed time only! Actual hands-on time is just a couple of years - guess I'm just a slow learner.

I guess I get overwhelmed when I start hearing about 'Server' talk and such...


Like Bear says, an average home machine will allow you to explore most things just fine (except maybe Big Data platforms like Hadoop). I have an ageing i5 laptop with 8GB of RAM, and I can do most things I need to - run a couple of databases, app servers etc. If you have an older Windows machine, you can often re-invigorate it by switching to Linux (I use Linux Mint which has a nice GUI), and you get extra Nerd Points if you learn to do stuff on the command-line.

I also have to ask. When you finally have a job as a programmer, of any language, are you allowed to look up resources to help? I feel like you're trapped in a room with no internet access and you're suppose to know how to code everything from the top of your head, haha.


No, you don't have to keep all this stuff in your head, thankfully. These days I have to write myself notes just to remind myself what I was doing before lunch! But it can be handy to have a few key reference books on paper (or as e-books), because some places e.g. government/defence sites may have restricted internet access.
 
Bear Bibeault
Marshal
Posts: 67340
173
Mac Mac OS X IntelliJ IDE jQuery Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, and by the way, thank you for your service.
 
Brandon Bushnell
Greenhorn
Posts: 23
Mac Eclipse IDE Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You guys have been amazing, thank you so much for these responses. I'll continue to do research on projects to take on to expand my knowledge. Now that I'm finished with this book, other then touching up on my washy subjects, I don't know what exactly I should focus on to make this a career. As in what types of programs to make.

Bear Bibeault wrote:Oh, and by the way, thank you for your service.


Thank you so much! And thank you for taking the time to respond to me as well. You guys really have boosted my confidence
 
"I know this defies the law of gravity... but I never studied law." -B. Bunny Defiant tiny ad:
Java file APIs (DOC, XLS, PDF, and many more)
https://products.aspose.com/total/java
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!