Software developers at work. Photo: Christopher Porter/Flickr
This year Java celebrated its 15th birthday. Java continues to dominate the IT industry as one of the most widely used programming languages. According to a report by Statista, over 40% of developers in the industry work within the purviews of Java.
The language has been around for over a decade and has become an ecosystem today. Be it Machine Learning environments, the Internet of Things (IoT), or Cloud Applications, Java is everywhere!
Java developers encompass a wide array of skills. Apart from their programming expertise, they understand how the development works and how to work around the environments where Java runs.
If you're pursuing a career in Java, you're in the right place. In this post, we will talk about the key skills for Java developers.
Six Java Developer Skills to Look for
Master the following skills to become a highly in-demand professional in the industry:
1. Essential Java Knowledge
As a Java developer, you should have mastered the Object-oriented programming (OOP) principles since Java is an object-oriented language.
Companies expect Java developers to be able to create both desktop and web applications. Apart from the front-end and back-end expertise, the developers must have hands-on experience in both relational and non-relational databases.
Relational databases (SQL-based) such as PostgreSQL, MySQL & non-relational databases (NoSQL) such as MongoDB, Cassandra are highly in-demand across the industry.
Now comes the version control system where you do incremental code development and share with peers. You should have rich-knowledge of Git, GitLab, or BitBucket.
2. Additional Language
One should note that Java capabilities can be stretched with an additional language. For instance, you may use Python along the software development cycle to bridge the gap between Java & Big Data.
Being a programmer doesn't mean restricting yourself to one language or framework. You must understand that different languages play a key role in solving different programming challenges.
3. Spring Framework 5
Spring Framework has become one of the most important key skills for Java developers. The framework is used to build scalable applications, which means having solid knowledge of Spring Framework is essential for Java developers.
Several thousand websites on the internet are already using the Spring framework, including Netflix and LinkedIn. And in 2021, several thousand more are expected to come aboard.
Sprint is based on the MVC (Model View Controller) framework segregating operations, business, and representation layers of development. An ideal Java developer knows frameworks like Spring Cloud, Spring Boot, and Spring MVC inside-out.
The frameworks are essential in developing RESTful services, REST APIs, Microservices & Web Applications. A modern-day software is vulnerable to threats. Spring enables best practices such as dependency injection that boosts application testing.
4. Containers and DevOps Tools
For any modern-day Java developer, having sound knowledge of DevOps is vital. Jenkins is something Java developers can't ignore.
Jenkins is an automation server helping developers build, test, and deploy Java applications. You should develop knowledge of containerized environments such as Docker and Kubernetes (K8S). Docker simplifies both the development and deployment of any project.
Java developers can build their applications and ship them into containers. These containers make the application platform-independent where there is no longer dependency on the operating system, database, etc. This makes deployment quick and easy.
Kubernetes will back your containers when it comes to scaling up or down the running Dockers. For every programmer out there, Docker and K8S are tools that are here to stay for a long time.
If you have ever worked with amazing Java developers you must have seen they have a huge knowledge of the Java Ecosystem and APIs (Application Programming Interface).
As a developer, having in-depth knowledge of APIs such as Jackson, Gson, JAXB, and Xerces really pay off. Not to forget the understanding of Logging Libraries, JSON Parsing Libraries, HTTP Libraries, XML Parsing Libraries & more.
When it comes to developing cloud and microservices-based architecture applications, API-driven development is a popular way forward. As we progress into the 21st century, cloud-based applications are becoming a new normal. Any programming activity whether it involves producing or consuming data over the cloud is incomplete without APIs.
Using Java APIs to design, implement & drive the development process is an efficient way to create robust IT systems.
6. Unit Testing
What separates a good Java programmer from an average one? It's their unit testing skills. Good Java programmers create test cases that check the code for any bugs inside-out. Testing frameworks such as Mockito and JUnit are highly popular choices in the market.
Every Java developer must develop solid testing skills since it is only then that your code can be fail-proof and can sustain a variety of scenarios.
Other popular testing libraries are Hamcrest, PowerMock, Selenium all aimed at checking your code for any vulnerabilities and leaks.
Both desktop and web-applications can be tested through the above-mentioned testing frameworks. Check and see how different components of your applications interact with the "Production" world. The goal is to improve the quality of your code.
Java programming language has been around for many years, and yet it is still mainstream. It is not obsolete. In fact, Java’s future is bright as it is contributing in leaps and bounds in new domains, such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Big Data.
Honing the skills we’ve talked about here is, thus, a worthwhile investment every Java developer should make.
Remember, Java's in-built design and libraries are its most significant advantage. If mastered, Java developers can truly excel and even be hired by the unicorn companies.