19 March 2024

What is a Java Developer?

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Are you interested in apps and how they work? Does code get your inner nerd hype? You might be a Java developer in the making.

You might think that Java developers have something to do with crafting the latest coffee flavours or the Indonesian island. Actually, It’s the total opposite. Instead of pink soy lattes and sandy beaches, Java developers work to keep our favourite web applications ticking. 

Java is huge and has been the most used programming tool since its inception in 1995. According to DevJobScanner, around 546,423 jobs in 2023 used Java as its main programming language, making it one of the top three most used in the world.

Read on to learn what is a Java Developer and how you can land a role.

What does a Java developer do?

A Java developer is responsible for the management of web apps that use Java. This can include everything from the design to development and maintenance.

You’ll sit comfortably within the software engineering team and find that many roles will be advertised as ‘software engineer’ or ‘software developer’ with Java expertise.

You’ll get on with a wide range of tasks. These can include;

  • Software analysis, programming, testing, and debugging
  • Developing and testing software using the Java programming language
  • Writing well-designed, efficient, and testable code
  • Identifying new technologies for implementation
  • Collaboration with the team to meet project deadlines
  • Troubleshooting and resolving coding issues
  • Continually update technical knowledge and skills.

How do I become a Java developer?

There are many ways to become a Java developer, so if you’re not already in university – you have options.

For the most part, employers are looking for those who have a proven passion for all things Java. Some employers don’t mind what your educational background is as long as you have the experience and can show you can do the job well.

Some employers might ask for you to have a Bachelor’s or Master’s in computer or software engineering (or similar) with a focus on Java. Most employers would also want the following;

  • Strong programming skills in Java
  • DevOps experience
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Strong technical documentation skills.

What kind of experience do I need?

Have you ever thought about a placement or internship? You should. These are the best ways to gain that all-important work experience before you graduate.

Having relevant work experience on your CV goes a long way in securing the job you want after university. So the earlier you can take on an internship or placement, the better. There are SO many benefits to work experience, some include:

  • Enhancing your CV
  • Grow your contact list and make connections
  • Develop your skills
  • Try out an industry
  • Gain experience before graduation.

Being a Java developer doesn’t mean you’re forced to find work at a tech company either. All industries rely on tech to keep them running, so you could find yourself working for a record label, retail company or investment bank.

Companies like Aldi, Barclays, Centrica and The Met Office all offer placements and internships in software engineering and beyond. So it’s worth having a look.

Employers also love to see what you do outside the lecture hall too. Part of a coding society? Great. On a Java course? Even better. Building your own app? The job’s yours. If you haven’t, do it. These all count as experience.

“I had a buddy in the team who I worked the most with. He explained me lots of things about the systems, technologies used at the company, he had a really broad view on software development technologies and he always took his time to share knowledge with me. My other team members were helpful too if I had some problems with database access or privileges. My manager guided me well and he always gave me feedback.”

Java Developer Intern, Morgan Stanley

What skills do you need to be a Java developer?

To be a Java developer, you’ll need a whole host of hard and soft skills. Obviously, a background in computing and a competent knowledge of Java will serve you well but what else do you need? Let’s get into it.

Hard SkillsSoft Skills
Object-oriented programming. This is a coding method where you create digital items that hold information and procedures. These are also known as objects, properties and methods. In OOP, you build programs by making and using these objects.Teamwork. As a Java developer, you’ll form part of a larger developer team. You’ll work with your team often to meet goals in various projects.
JVM Internals. Java Virtual Machine intervals can help you write better Java code and solve problems. They include loading class files, running bytecode, auto memory free up and performance improval.Organisation. Java developers will work on several web apps at a time as well as address tickets that might land on your lap, so it’s important to be able to organise your time accordingly.
Software design and architecture. This is a biggie! Understanding software design will be your best friend. It’s the process of planning how to build software and making sure it’s efficient, safe and easy to use.Creativity. While Java development might rely on code and logic, there is a lot of creativity involved. Whether that’s in coming up with ideas for solutions or ways of doing things.
DevOps Tools. These are platforms that allow Java developers to implement the continuous integration, development, deployment, and monitoring of Java-based software. Some tools include;

Docker, Git, Jenkins, JUnit and SonarQube.
Adaptability. A good Java developer knows their stuff, a great one knows that the tech world is ever evolving and that they’ll have to learn new processes or even switch programmers. So it’s important to be able to adapt to whatever situations arise.
Spring Boot. You’ll use this when it comes to prototyping web development. The great thing is, Spring Boot has a whole host of plugins, meaning you’ll save a ton of resources and costs when using it.Problem Solving. As a Java developer, your role is to problem-solve. So you’ll need to become good at it.

Always always always demonstrate your skills throughout your application. From your CV to your cover letter, employers want to see that you have those skills and that you’ve used them.

Employers will always let you know what skills they’re looking for, you’ll find those in a job description.

Find out more about hard and soft skills and why you should add them to your CV.

How much does a Java developer earn?

It all depends on your level and experience.

At the internship and placement level, you could stand to earn between £20,000 and £25,000 per year (pro rata if you’re on an internship).

If you then decide to take up a grad scheme, your salary could bump up to between £25,000 and £30,000 per year.

A Junior Java Developer’s salary starts at around £30,000 per year moving right up to £70,000 per year once you reach the senior level.

Think you’ve found your career as a Java developer? Begin your search today! Get started by clicking below.