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What is a Java Developer?

Java Standard Edition has gone through numerous major revisions during its history; these have typically been identified by code names like Dolphin or Merlin. There have been many more security updates and fixes that haven’t been honored with names. The development process is ongoing. What does this mean to a programmer? Some very savvy Java developers are hired by the Oracle company itself, working on new releases of JSE or helping create the Oracle Cloud Social Platform!

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30% job growth in the software development industry between 2010 and 2020. ~ BLS

The majority of Java developers, though, work for other companies in industries from content management to health care. Starbucks and Wells Fargo are among the big name companies that sometimes advertise for software engineers with Java expertise.

Java developers create dynamic applications and websites. Some design interfaces; others do work that’s completely behind the scenes. One of the basic duties is writing class files. Java developers work at all stages of the engineering process, though: soliciting requirements, designing prototypes, and configuring products.

There are different types of Java developer, proficient in different Java systems (standard, enterprise, and mobile). JEE (or J2EE) development is sometimes considered more advanced than JSE, even though some things that must be done by hand in JSE are automated in JEE. JEE projects are often large scale and transactional.

Some Java developers advance to lead or architect positions. A senior Java developer may analyze complex problems, develop documentation, review coding, and evaluate the development process. An architect, meanwhile, directs the project at the front end. EE architect is among the highest positions a developer can attain.

Like other computer engineers and programmers, Java developers often work long hours. Some industries, like gaming, are known for tight deadlines. The job is not physically demanding, however. Some work environments are quite casual.

Education and Advancement

Java developers typically have a bachelor’s degree. Some have a master’s. Employers often specify degrees in computer science, engineering, or other closely related fields. A developer should know a good deal beyond code; to advance, one should be proficient at different stages of the life cycle. University programs may include design projects that pair students with corporations. Internships can also be useful for breaking into the industry. Even Oracle takes on student interns.

Employers often specify degrees in computer science, engineering, or other closely related fields.

Some developers pursue voluntary certifications to demonstrate Java expertise. These are sometimes helpful for getting an interview. A Java developer should expect to answer very technical questions at a job interview. There are online sites where sample interview questions can be viewed. One is Tech Interviews.

Oracle offers associate and professional level certifications in JSE 7, the most recent version; a master level certification may be coming. EE certifications are available at the professional, expert, and master level. There are different certifications for different types of EE. A candidate can earn expert level EE 6 certification in web services development, web component development, Java Persistence API, or JavaBeans development.

The professional level certification is the foundation for most higher level certifications. As candidates progress beyond the professional level, the certification process begins to mimic the activities of a real world developer more closely. High level certification entails completing a design project and an essay exam.

Many developers in the past received credentials through Sun Systems; most Sun certifications have been renamed as Oracle, however.

There are additional certifications available through third parties.

Salary and Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted 30% job growth in the software development industry between 2010 and 2020. The average salary is listed at $90,530.

The BLS does not list separate figures for Java developer. Data from, however, suggests that the salary for a Java developer is comparable or higher. Recent figures put Java developer at $96,000 (compared to $89,000 for software development as a whole).

Java itself won’t necessarily make the difference, though. Ads that specify Java often specify a number of languages and environments – a strong candidate is one who knows a lot of go-to technologies and has applied them successfully on the job.

Salaries vary quite a lot by the level of expertise required (with $61,000 listed for Junior Java developer and $112,000 for Senior Developer Designer or Senior J2EE Developer).

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