Hackernoon logoTeach Yourself Java: Where to Begin by@johnnythecoder

Teach Yourself Java: Where to Begin

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@johnnythecoderJohnny

A senior Java developer and Java tutor at Learning Tree International programming courses.

All languages are “tools” for solving numerous problems. However, there is one that can be considered a star choice — Java (though some would argue for Python).
The advantages of coding in this language are almost infinite.

Why Java?

According to TIOBE’s rating, Java has been ranked first among all languages in the world in the last couple of decades.
A large number of well-known companies use Java-written software to develop software and applications. So if you know Java (and how to program on a whiteboard, lol), you definitely won’t have to fight to find a job. The main reasons for Java’s popularity are its mobility, scalability, and large user community.
Java is an excellent choice for novice professionals because it is a skill that is in high demand (three billion devices run on Java!), which means more employment or internship opportunities.
According to the available data, 90% of the Fortune 500 companies use Java to create their own applications and internal systems. This is also a financially viable career option when the average Java developer earns an average of $102,514 per year.
It is worth noting that applications for Android are also often created using Java, opening up opportunities, not only in web development and software development but also in mobile development.

How to start learning

Photo by Science in HD on Unsplash
Without a doubt, learning Java requires planning as well as discipline in putting the plan into action. This is one of the secrets of a successful professional programmer.
How do you achieve this?
  • Schedule your lessons and find ways to minimize distractions. You need to discipline yourself by following your schedule.
  • Use the rule of 20 minutes. Before you ask for help, take at least 20 minutes to google yourself. There is a (very) high probability that the answer is already in front of you, and besides, the struggle makes you a better programmer in general.
  • Practice coding every day. Practicing helps you to improve. Make coding a habit. For example, you can code small pet projects.
  • Don’t hesitate to program more advanced programs with the help of Java API as soon as you have mastered the basics.
  • Use blogs you like and forums dedicated to Java and programming languages in general. It will help you to improve the situation.
Once you choose to learn Java, don’t lose momentum by working seven days a week on your curriculum. Even if it takes half an hour per day, coding work will help you build up the habit and make you feel like it is now a part of your daily life.
Be ready for difficulties and mistakes, but have no fear:

Start with the basics

Although this can help acquire some knowledge, it certainly cannot make you a good Java programmer. Once again, look what the Reddit community says in this regard:
  • Practise is important. The benefits are almost infinite.
  • Practise leads to professionalism. I was able to become an expert in learning the Java language, thanks to consistent practice. This is the key to success for professional programmers. You just need to encode it!
  • It helps you to learn. Applying this knowledge to real-life situations strengthens your skills.
  • More practice leads to discovery. This includes things you didn’t understand and are not yet knowledgeable of.
  • Lets you to the encoding by hand. This gives you many more opportunities for your skill than fancy tools and frames. You better understand the logic of coding.
  • It helps you solve practical problems. Practice helps to assess problems better, understand the dynamics and propose appropriate solutions.

Share your work and ask questions

Join communities where you can ask questions about different aspects of writing code in Java, share your thoughts, and find like-minded people. This is one of my favorite Reddit recommendations:
Java has a strong community that might help bug time during the learning process. Here are just a couple of examples:
  • The second-largest StackOverflow community
  • The 4th largest community of members (there are more than 1400 Java Meetup groups in the world with more than 580,000 members).
  • The second most tagged language on GitHub (more than 1.5 million Java projects run on GitHub)

Read sources on Java programming

While constant practice is vital, learning from the right source is just as important.
However, you must see for yourself. The Internet offers various sources claiming that they know and teach Java well.
If you don’t believe that continuous learning can make a difference, here is evidence from the Reddit community:
Here are a few recommendations from the top of my head:
CodeGym is the exact place where you can develop your Java programming skills. 80% of the training here is based on practice; that gives you the opportunity to learn much faster than usual.
You will have to complete 1200 practical tasks. The tasks are organized in order of complexity, so you will start with the easiest one and then move your way up to the most difficult one. Playing also works, making learning more fun, engaging, and interactive.
Java Revisited: This website offers a slightly different approach to learning Java. There are tons of practical tutorials that you can access and code. This is how they teach and guide you to work with Java code. Therefore it’s more of a mixture of theory and practice.
Codecademy: You might as well be among the hundreds of programmers the platform has trained around the world for many years. They offer a hands-on learning experience for Java students, among many other languages.
Coursera: When you visit the Coursera website, the first thing that comes to your attention is: “join for free”. Well, don’t take that for “just a freeloader.” This is a powerful platform where you can quickly learn Java and even get a certificate. That’s where you will be required to pay.

Conclusion

The best way to learn how to use code is through constant practice. This also depends on how well and how much you do it, as well as how quickly you will learn.
Moreover, do not take communication for granted in the learning process. Visit forums and communities of programmers who share the same interest in Java as you do. Share ideas, ask questions and make meaningful contributions. This will certainly make your learning process easier.
Now that you are equipped with strategies and methods to help you learn Java correctly.
Remember that generally, the keys to learning Java are practice and consistency, and it won’t hurt to have fun as well!

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