In 2020, Java remains one of the most popular programming languages in the world, with an incredibly big community. The secret to its popularity is the constant evolution of the language and its adaptation to market demands and technological advancement. Therefore, Java developers should also constantly master their skills in order to be at a premium and be prepared to work with the latest trends such as machine learning, reactive programming, mobile development, and many more. Below we list the best tips for Java developers to improve their skills.
Java Developers Should Understand Java Virtual Machine
It is not obligatory to understand how Java Virtual Machine (JVM) works in order to code in Java. However, if a developer dedicates some time and effort to the understanding of JVM and its basic components and processes, it will become much easier to solve complex issues in the future. In addition, understanding JVM will help developers better appreciate Java and significantly improve their skills.
To start with, a Java developer can learn the following:
- The JVM components or sub-systems: ClassLoader Subsystem, Runtime Data Area, Execution Engine,
- JIT (which is part of JVM),
- JVM options (standard, non-standard, and advanced),
- Reading the GC logs,
- Garbage Collection basics.
In addition, it’s also beneficial for developers to learn about JVM performance optimization in order to quickly identify the issues and bottlenecks, and create high-performing applications in an easier and faster manner.
Know the Basics
There are certain things that every Java developer should be familiar with. They are the basics of Java development and most employers require solid knowledge of these tools before hiring.
Learn Java 8 by Heart
Java 8 was released in 2014 but many developers are still not very familiar with its main features such as Stream API or lambda expressions. Considering the fact that most vacancies for Java developer positions now require a good knowledge of Java 8, developers need to learn it sooner rather than later to avoid being left behind. Once this is mastered, the developer can move on to studying the key features of Java 9 and later Java versions too.
Learn Spring and Spring Boot
Spring Framework is the most popular framework used by Java developers so it is imperative they have an excellent knowledge of it. In addition to Spring, it is also important they master Spring Boot (which is a Spring iteration) and learn Spring MVC and Spring Cloud.
Good knowledge of Spring enables developers to build flexible and robust applications and work with micro-services which are among the hottest trends in modern development.
Know the Most Popular Apis and Libraries
APIs and libraries help developers create applications in a faster manner so it is important to know the most popular. Here are the tools that every Java developer should know:
- NoSQL databases,
- APIs: OpenJDK, Android, Oracle, IS2T.
The great thing about these tools is that they all come with detailed documentation and aspiring Java developers can reach out to the Java community for support.
Constantly Practice Coding
Practice makes perfect and this is 100% true for software development. The best Java developers spend no less than 2 hours per day on coding and solving various challenging tasks. A developer can create a small project of his own or take part in a coding challenge in order to stay motivated and constantly dedicate a certain amount of time to the act of coding.
Even though some senior Java developers start taking interest in managerial tasks such as team supervision, communication with the client, and tutoring, it is important to remember that only constant practice will ensure they become a better Java developer.
Get Acquainted With Devops
DevOps is a set of practices that aims to unite the operation and development departments, increase the transparency of processes between the two and overall, optimize the workflow. DevOps supports Agile methodology and includes such practices as Infrastructure as Code, design of microservices instead of monoliths, continuous delivery and integration, and automated testing.
Even though DevOps does not directly impact a developer’s skills with Java, it is still useful to learn the above mentioned practices in order to optimize the working process.
Do Not Forget About Testing
Unit testing is one of the obligatory practices that still remains overlooked by many developers. Some people believe that testing knowledge is not important to be a good developer but that’s simply not true. Unit testing involves testing individual code units and thus, enables developers to pinpoint any possible issues.
If a developer has not yet performed any testing, he should start with JUnit 5 Library as it is the most popular testing tool in the Java community. Alternatively, there are Mockito and PowerMock that are also used for unit testing.
In addition to unit testing, it’s useful for developers to learn other testing methods too, including: integration testing, system testing and acceptance testing. By learning these methods and being able to apply them, a developer gets a 360-degree view of an application and can more easily identify issues and successfully resolve them.
Bonus Tip: Learn Other Languages
Nowadays, more and more developers start to adopt the practice of becoming a polyglot developer. That means, they learn other programming languages in a related area. For Java developers, that would include Kotlin, Scala and Groovy.
Such an approach offers many undeniable benefits. First, it greatly increases one’s employability as it indicates that a developer is flexible, open to new approaches, and is a good learner. Second, it offers a variety of tools and practices to use which also expands the number of potential projects to work on. And finally, it helps developers become more open-minded and explore new things, which contributes to better motivation and satisfaction from work.
Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Alex Zubel at Digital Knights partner SoftTeco. SoftTeco has successfully completed over 200 custom software development projects using a highly professional team of software engineers to clients from the USA, Europe, UK and Canada. They use the latest and most efficient technologies to adhere to high industry standards and ensure seamless quality and performance.