Java is one of the best programming language created ever, and I am not saying this because I am a passionate Java developer, but Java has proved it in last 20 years. Two decades is a big time for any Programming language, and Java has gained strength every passing day. Though there are times, when Java development slows down, but Java has responded well. Earlier with groundbreaking changes in the form of Enum, Generics, and Autoboxing in Java 5, performance improvement with Java 6, and Google's choice of language for Android apps development keeps Java as a front-line programming language.
Many computer science graduates often ask me, which is the best programming language to start with? which language should I learn to begin with? shall I learn Java? etc.
Well, it depends upon the definition of your best programming language, if it's popularity then obviously Java outscore everyone, even C, which is there for almost 50 years.
If it in terms of Job opportunities, again Java outscore everyone. You can get tons of Jobs opportunity by learning Java programming language, you can develop core Java-based server-side application, J2EE web and enterprise applications, and can even go for Android-based mobile application development.
So if you are not coming from C and C++ background, and want to learn your first programming language, I will suggest choosing Java. In this article, I will share my list of reason, and why you should learn Java programming and why I think Java is best programming language created ever.
Here is my list of 10 reasons, which I tell anyone who asks my opinion about learning Java, and whether Java is the best programming language in terms of opportunities, development and community support.
Many would be surprised to see this one of the top reason for learning Java or considering it as the best programming language, but it is. If you have a steep learning curve, it would be difficult to get productive in a short span of time, which is the case with most of the professional project.
Java has fluent English like syntax with minimum magic characters e.g. Generics angle brackets, which makes it easy to read Java program and learn quickly.
Once a programmer is familiar with initial hurdles with installing JDK and setting up PATH and understand How Classpath works, it's pretty easy to write a program in Java.
Another reason, which made Java popular is that it's an Object Oriented Programming language. Developing OOP application is much easier, and it also helps to keep system modular, flexible and extensible.
Once you have knowledge of key OOP concepts like Abstraction, Encapsulation, Polymorphism, and Inheritance, you can use all those with Java. Java itself embodies many best practices and design pattern in its library.
Java is one of the few close to 100% OOP programming language. Java also promotes the use of SOLID and Object-oriented design principles in form of open source projects like Spring, which make sure your object dependency is managed well by using Dependency Injection principle.
One more reason for Java programming language's huge success is it's Rich API and most importantly it's highly visible because come with Java installation.
When I first started Java programming, I used to code Applets and those days Applets provides great animation capability, which amazes new programmer like us, who are used to code in Turbo C++ editor.
Java provides API for I/O, networking, utilities, XML parsing, database connection, and almost everything. Whatever left is covered by open source libraries like Apache Commons, Google Guava, Jackson, Gson, Apache POI, and others.
You can further see my post 20 essential open source libraries for Java programmers to learn more about useful libraries Java developers should know.
Believe it or not, Eclipse and Netbeans have played a huge role to make Java one of the best programming languages. Coding in IDE is a pleasure, especially if you have coded in DOS Editor or Notepad.
They not only help in code completion but also provides powerful debugging capability, which is essential for real-world development. Integrated Development Environment (IDE) made Java development much easier, faster and fluent. It's easy to search, refactor and read code using IDEs.
Apart from IDE, Java platform also has several other tools e.g.. Maven and ANT for building Java applications, decompilers, JConsole, Visual VM for monitoring Heap usage etc.
You can also see my post 10 Essential Tools for Java Programmers to learn more about tools Java programmers use in the day-to-day life.
Open source libraries ensure that Java should be used everywhere. Apache, Google, and other organization have contributed a lot of great libraries, which makes Java development easy, faster and cost-effective.
There are frameworks like Spring, Struts, Maven, which ensures that Java development follows best practices of software craftsmanship, promotes the use of design patterns and assisted Java developers to get there job done.
I always recommend searching for a functionality in Google, before writing your own code. There is good chance that, it's already coded, tested and available for ready to use.
You can also see Top 20 Libraries and API for Java Programmers for my recommended libraries for Java developers.
A strong and thriving community is the biggest strength of Java programming language and platform. No matter, How good a language is, it wouldn't survive, if there is no community to support, help and share their knowledge.
Java has been very lucky, it has lots of active forums, StackOverflow, open source organizations and several Java user groups to help everything.
There is the community to help beginners, advanced and even expert Java programmers. Java actually promotes taking and giving back to community habit. Lots of programmers, who use open source, contribute as a commiter, tester etc.
Many Expert programmers provide advice FREE at various Java forums and StackOverflow. This is simply amazing and gives a lot of confidence to a newbie in Java.
People like FREE things, Don't you? So if a programmer wants to learn a programming language or an organization wants to use a technology, COST is an important factor. Since Java is free from the start, i.e. you don't need to pay anything to create Java application.
This FREE thing also helped Java to become popular among individual programmers, and among large organizations. If you are curious where exactly Java is used in the real world, see that post. I have talked about Java's adoption by all around the world.
Availability of Java programmers is another big thing, which makes an organization to choose Java for there strategic development.
When I first saw Javadoc, I was amazed. It's a great piece of documentation, which tells a lot of things about Java API. I think without Javadoc documentation, Java wouldn't be as popular, and it's one of the main reason, Why I think Java is the best programming language.
Not everyone has time and intention to look at the code to learn what a method does or how to use a class. Javadoc made learning easy, and provide an excellent reference while coding in Java.
With the advent of IDEs e.g. Eclipse, you don't even need to look Javadoc explicitly in the browser, but you can get all information in your IDE window itself.
In the 1990s, this was the main reason for Java's popularity. The idea of platform independence is great, and Java's tagline "write once run anywhere" and acronym "WORA" was enticing enough to attract lots of new development in Java.
This is still one of the reason for Java being the best programming language, most of Java applications are developed in Windows environment and run on UNIX platform.
Yes, Java is everywhere, it's on the desktop, it's on mobile, it's on the card, almost everywhere and so is Java programmers. I think Java programmer outnumber any other programming language professional.
Though I don't have any data to back this up, it's based on experience. This huge availability of Java programmers is another reason, why organization prefers to choose Java for new development than any other programming language.
Having said that, programming is a very big field and if you look at C and UNIX, which is still surviving and even stronger enough to live another 20 years, Java also falls in the same league.
Though there are a lot of talks about functional programming, Scala, and other JVM languages, they need to go a long way to match community, resources, and popularity of Java.
Also, OOP is one of the best programming paradigms, and as long as it will be there Java will remain solid.
Now, if you decide to learn Java programming, here are the couple of resources, which you can take a look. I personally suggest joining an online course to start with and then picking a book, because they are almost always well written by authorities in the subject matter and catered for beginners.
To start with, I recommend joining The Complete Java Master Class at Udemy. You can buy this course on just under $10 on Udemy's flash sale which they run I think every month.
This course is very comprehensive and up-to-date and covers both Java SE 8 and Java SE 9. The course is also structured in a systematic way to provide beginners all the knowledge and tools before they can understand complex concepts like multi-threading and concurrency.
If you can afford, then this is the best course to learn Java online. To be honest, it's dirt cheap, even one day Java class cost around $100 on developing countries, forget about development country. You can't get a comprehensive Java course cheaper than this.
When it comes to books, I personally recommend Head First Java to all beginners, as I have learned a lot from it myself. It's a great book to start if you don't know anything about Java, but unfortunately, it's not up-to-date. The content is still valid and Java Fundamentals has not changed but I strongly suggest every programmer start with the latest Java version i.e. Java 8 or Java 9.
Once you have gone through this book, you can pick Beginning Java 8 Language Features by Kishori Sharan to learn some key Java 8 features e.g. lambda expression, method reference, Stream API, new Date and Time API, default methods etc.
This book covers each topic in good depth. I even encourage to read all three books by this author on Java 8 to learn Java 8 in depth.
If you prefer to learn Java 8 from online course then Complete Java SE 8 developer BootCamp is a good place to start with. It covers all essential Java 8 features described above in bootcamp style, i..e a lot of focus on hands-on work.
You can also take a look at official Java tutorials offered by Oracle. These tutorials are comprehensive, up-to-date, and covered almost all important details of Java programming language. Further, you can use Google along with your learning.
If you need to understand a particular concept, term or any issue with Java, Google can point you to a specific resource. There are lots of blogs, tutorial sites, and free video tutorials on the internet to learn Java programming.
Few More Java Resources you may like
Java Basics: Learn to Code the Right Way
Complete Step By Step Java For Testers
Official JDK 10 Documentation
5 Books to Learn Java 8 and Functional Programming
5 Free Java Online Courses for Beginner
5 Books to Learn Core Java from Scratch
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