Java is a computer programming language that is concurrent, class-based, object-oriented, and specifically designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. It is intended to let application developers “write once, run anywhere” (WORA), meaning that code that runs on one platform does not need to be recompiled to run on another. Java applications are typically compiled to bytecode that can run on any Java virtual machine (JVM) regardless of computer architecture. Java is, as of 2014, one of the most popular programming languages in use, particularly for client-server web applications. Java was originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems (which has since merged into Oracle Corporation) and released in 1995 as a core component of Sun Microsystems’ Java Platform.
Why is this computer language invaluable? Because it’s everywhere! From laptops to data centers, game consoles to scientific supercomputers, cell phones to the Internet. These stats support its ubiquitous nature:
- 97% of Enterprise Desktops Run Java
- 89% of Desktops (or Computers) in the U.S. Run Java
- 9 Million Java Developers Worldwide
- #1 Choice for Developers
- #1 Development Platform
- 3 Billion Mobile Phones Run Java
- 100% of Blu-ray Disc Players Ship with Java
- 5 Billion Java Cards in Use
- 125 million TV devices run Java
- 5 of the Top 5 Original Equipment Manufacturers Ship Java ME
Certificate programs require about 15 units of coursework and include studies in more advanced Java programming topics. For this reason, most students must already have at least beginner’s level familiarity with Java. Some schools even recommend that students possess a bachelor’s degree before enrolling. Both diploma and certificate programs in Java-related studies can be taken entirely online.
Though substantial technical experience and knowledge may help secure employment as a Java programmer, most employers look for applicants with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related subject, such as mathematics or information systems. In some cases, an associate’s degree may be acceptable, but a 4-year degree is typically the minimum educational credential needed.
At the bachelor’s degree level, java is typically incorporated into the Bachelor of Science in Software Development programs. The student should look for a curriculum that includes several industry-recognized certifications, including the Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 7 Programmer.
At the master’s level, these programs require Java-related courses. They generally assume the students will have had those classes as part of their undergraduate education. All master’s programs offer courses as electives, such as:
- Data Structures
- Advanced Java Programming
- Distributed Java Applications
- Web Applications
For the computer literate and adventurous, there are ways to learn java without a degree. Here is a precursor as to what you’ll need to know before starting this self-learning experience: Do you know how to access and use Java files? Do you know what Java file editors and compilers are, what they do, or where to download them? If you answer these questions in the affirmative, the next step is to download Java Editor and a Compiler: Eclipse, Oracle, NetBeans.
Another source of information for the self-learner is to peruse the Oracle Academy website: www.academy.oracle.com.
A Java Developer earns an average salary of $69,723 per year as of September 2014, according to the site Payscale.com. A skill in J2EE is associated with high pay for this job. Experienced java developers have a median annual salary of $91,968. Another site, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2012, that the median annual wage for “Software Developers” was $93,350 with a Bachelor’s degree. The BLS projects the job growth/change rate to be 22% from 2012 to 2022 or an addition of 222,600 jobs.