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Java Programmer Career


What Is a Java Programmer?


Java is one of the most important computer programming languages out there. Used by large corporations across the world, Java was created in 1995 by Sun Microsystems. It’s known for being easy to learn but difficult to master. It’s often used for web-based software and applications.

Netflix. Spotify. Uber. Airbnb. What do these all have in common? They’re using Java in their tech stack. It’s no exaggeration to say that Java is used by almost every kind of device out there, from smartphones and smart devices to your computer and your car. If working on the latest applications and programs that make up the modern world sounds appealing, then consider a career in Java programming.


What Does a Java Programmer Do?

A Java programmer is responsible for writing and testing code that achieves the project goals. Of course, this will vary wildly depending on what type of company and product the programmer is working for. Below are a few of the common threads that run through the day-to-day of most Java programmers:

  • Writing Java. Being good at coding is the most important part of being a coder. Java programmers will spend most of their days at a computer writing code that gets the task done. That could be anything from online software, back-end tech, or even user interface development.
  • Analysis, testing, and debugging. Coding isn’t easy. The smallest error can mess an entire job up, so a Java programmer requires a patient and logical mindset. They’ll be trusted with debugging code, making sure it runs correctly with various browser settings and operating systems and ensuring the project comes out as expected from end to end.
  • Software development. A Java programmer might even be involved in the development side of things. That includes collaborating with the rest of the creative team. Java programmers could be asked to set project parameters, help other members of the team understand technical limitations, and ensure the project outcome is reached successfully.


How Do I Become a Java Programmer?

The most important requirement for becoming a Java Programmer is a high level of fluency and competency in writing Java code. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, but a good degree in a related subject is an excellent way to prepare for a career in programming. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most programmers have a bachelor's degree, but some are hired with just an associate’s degree.

While fluency in Java computer programming is the most important step, prospective programmers who want to land the best jobs in the field and stay relevant in the face of technological changes should focus on their education. Here are the steps we recommend for students who are serious about a career as a programmer.

Step One: Earn a bachelor’s degree

A solid bachelor’s degree in software engineering will put students in good stead when it comes to job hunting. Students should pick a program that focuses on fluency in Java coding, seeing as that is the bulk of their chosen career. A good degree program will give candidates a strong background in data structure, IT, and web development. Students who want to stand out might consider using this time to learn a second computer language (such as C#) to improve their chances when it comes to job hunting after they graduate.

The software development degree at WGU has two major tracks and students must decide whether they want to focus on Java or C#. It’s worth bearing in mind that learning multiple programming languages can be beneficial for your career, and in fact, is something that the majority of computer programmers do. 

Step Two: Obtain certifications and licenses

Getting as many certificates and licenses in computing as possible is highly recommended for students about to enter the competitive job market. Students should look to earn certificates such as CIW User Interface Designer, CompTIA A+, ITIL, and more. Getting certified in specific languages is even a prerequisite for employment at some companies.

Step Three: Complete further professional development and seek a job

Java programmers with a degree and knowledge of various programming languages will be in the best positions when it comes to job hunting. IT is a rapidly changing field with Java receiving major updates every three to 12 months, so programmers are expected to stay on top of their languages and constantly improve their coding skills.

Best Degrees for a Java Programmer

Computer Science – B.S.

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your task:...

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your task:

Lay the groundwork for the computing breakthroughs that will enable tomorrow's technologies. 

  • Time: 71% of graduates in similar programs finish within 27 months.
  • Tuition: $3,985 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 38 total courses in this program.

You'll have the opportunity to earn these certifications:

  • Linux Essentials
  • Axelos ITIL Foundation

Utilize your previous college courses or IT experience to help you complete your degree faster.

Careers that this program can help prepare you for include:

  • Computer systems analyst
  • Computer programmer
  • Artificial intelligence specialist
  • Software engineer
  • Machine learning engineer

Software Engineering – B.S.

You're a creative and tech genius who wants the bigger opportunities....

You're a creative and tech genius who wants the bigger opportunities.

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish similar programs within 40 months.
  • Tuition: $3,985 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 36 or 38 total courses in this program depending on your track.

Certifications included in this program at no additional cost are:

  • CompTIA Project +
  • AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner 
  • ITIL®1 Foundation Certification

There are a wide variety of job titles this degree program prepares students for, including:

  • Software Engineer
  • Application Analyst
  • Software Tester
  • Systems Analyst
  • Multimedia Programmer

Software engineers are in-demand across organizations in every industry. Secure your future with a degree and additional certifications.

Front End Web Development Certificate – College of IT

The Front End Web Development Certificate equips learners with the skills...

The Front End Web Development Certificate equips learners with the skills necessary to create responsive, visually appealing, and functional websites.

  • Time: 6 months from start to finish.
  • Cost: $3,950 for the certificate.
  • Courses: 6 courses total in this program.

This certificate is designed to help aspiring web developers begin their journey, gain valuable experience, and add a critical credential to their résumé. You are also guaranteed admission into a WGU College of IT degree program. This certificate will prepare you for the next step in your career.

This certificate can help build fundamental skills in front-end development, and also help those with no technical background begin to build vocational identity for a long-term career in IT. Learners will gain critical skills including version control, scripting, web development, JavaScript programming, and UI design. 

Web Application Deployment and Support Certificate – College of IT

Enhance your résumé and take a step in your educational journey with the...

Enhance your résumé and take a step in your educational journey with the help of the Web Application Deployment and Support Certificate from the College of IT, powered by WGU Academy.

  • Time: 5 months from start to finish.
  • Cost: $2,950 for the certificate.
  • Courses: 4 courses total in this program.

This certificate also offers two industry certifications, Linux Essentials and AWS Cloud, which will add extra power to your portfolio of experience. You are also guaranteed admission into a WGU College of IT degree program. This certificate will prepare you for the next step in your career.

This program is ideal for individuals who have 3-5 years of IT experience and a basic understanding of scripting languages and SQL. Prerequisites include: Experience with either Python or Java or another high-order OO (object-oriented) programming language along with Git, experience with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and experience with a major DBMS (database management system) - MySQL (preferred), SQL Server, Oracle, MariaDB, etc.


How Much Does a Java Programmer make?


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t give exact information for Java programmers, classing them as computer programmers. Under this heading, a computer programmer can be expected to earn a wage of about $97,800 per year. This will of course depend on one’s experience in the field and the average cost of living in-state.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


Application developers in general are expected to see a 22% job growth by the year 2029. As Java systems and applications grow and change every day, more qualified Java programmers are needed to keep up with the demands.


What Skills Does a Java Programmer Need?

To have a successful career as a Java programmer a few skills will come in handy. A programmer will need to be extremely patient and able to spend hours focusing on code to find any errors that might stop programs running as intended and deliver project outcomes on time.

  • Detail-oriented 
  • Excellent coding skills
  • Proficient technical abilities
  • Understanding of IT applications and systems
  • Highly focused 
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Problem-solving and logical thinking skills

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No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!

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Interested in Becoming a Java Programmer?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.