Programming is one of the most relevant skills to learn if you want to stay up-to-date in the modern-day job market. According to statistics, the demand for tech specialists is skyrocketing — by 2030, we will be over 85 million professionals short to cover the needs of the field.
If you decided to start a journey in software development, you might get turned off by hundreds of tutorials, courses, and resources. Java, for one, has so many learning materials to offer — yet, students often struggle to prioritize them and end up burning out because they took on too much too soon.
In this post, I will take a look at my y courses for Java learners — you’ll find out how much time they take to complete, what are their advantages and drawbacks, and how to fit these into one systematic curriculum.
There’s an ongoing debate in the programming community as to which language a student should learn when he has the basic hang of HTML and CSS. From C++ to Python and Golang, developers suggest different starting points for programming students.
Personally, I’ve always been a part of Java-as-the-first-language-gang, and here is why:
- Java is popular. Placing second on the TIOBE Index and offering developers over 28,000 job openings (according to Indeed), this is the language you will definitely end up using once you learn it. Java development positions are well-paid as well — a median software engineer’s salary is over $79,000 per year.
- Java is universal. If you want to learn a language that would empower your own business, Java is the right fit. On its own, it’s capable of handling a wide range of tasks — web and mobile apps, big data projects, servers, GUI, and many others. Although JS, libraries, and frameworks, are a logical continuation of a Java developer’s journey, understanding the basic syntax of the language can get you pretty far.
- Java has a rich toolset. From IDEs to APIs and libraries, the language has plenty of room for added functionality. Learning the language gives you a lot of freedom in managing interfaces, not to mention the ability to copy code fragments from libraries, reducing development time. In my experience, Java’s toolset makes the language extremely convenient and efficient.
Now that I covered the key benefits of learning Java and you are confident about committing to mastering the language, it’s time to talk about learning resources. Personally, I enjoy learning using online courses — I’ve found more than a handful of well-structured and interactive ones.
Here are my favorite learning resources that both Java developers and advanced learners can learn a ton from.
- Based on practical coding tasks
- Covers beginner and advanced Java topics
- User-friendly mobile app for learning on the go
- Virtual mentor
- The active community of Java learners
- Well-structured curriculum
- No iOS app
- Does not support other languages than Java
- A limited number of lessons are available for free
Codegym is a Java learning platform that offers an in-depth look at the programming language. Learning programming might seem boring — however, there’s no other way to process the concepts of the language other than by doing.
If you are anything like me — juggling a full-time job and other commitments, setting time aside only to code sounds too good to be true. That’s why being able to code on a smartphone, with a built-in IDE comes in handy.
Other than that, Codegym is gamified — all classes are grouped in levels. The desire to level up as fast as possible is a powerful motivation that keeps you going through the highs and the lows of Java learning.
- Access over 1200 engaging lectures
- Get task grades instantly
- Spend as much time studying as you can with small-size lectures
- Choose content depending on your skills — there’s a wide selection both for beginner and advanced Java learners
- Complete a basic Java syntax course for free.
- 10+ courses for developers with different proficiency levels
- Available for smartphones
- All programs are detailed
- No systematic approach to language learning
- Not all courses are on the same quality level
- Limited teacher-student connection
As one of the largest online education platforms out there, Udemy has a broad selection of Java courses. Here are my favorite certification programs the platform hosts:
- OCA Exam simulation. If you are considering to take the Oracle Certified Associate test, this is a go-to program to try out. Here, you will find dozens of quizzes and practice tests that cover basic Java syntax concepts, API handling, OOP, and other topics you might get questions on the exam. There are four practice quizzes, each of which has 70 questions. Completing these will definitely give you more awareness of your skill.
- Java Programming Step by Step. This is a more generic program — and although it doesn’t give you an in-depth understanding of Java, it does a good job of laying out a curriculum for programming students. The course offers 20 modules — on average, each section has 6–8 lectures.
- JUnit Test — Java Unit Tests for Beginners. This program introduces programming students to Java testing — widely used tools, best practices, and different types of cases. The course covers both beginner and advanced programming concepts (such as parameterized, repeated tests, or assumptions).
- Wide range of courses
- Structured programs, published by Java experts
- The cost of learning materials ranges from $10 to $100
- Available for mobile platforms
- Grounded introduction to the concept of SOLID
- Practice-driven tasks
- Short number of lectures, easy to complete in a few days
- Doesn’t cover object-oriented design
- Isn’t informative for advanced learners
For many students, understanding Java is limited to getting the hang of APIs and syntax. That’s why many miss out on an important concept of the language — understanding design patterns.
I believe that mastering design patterns make a huge difference in a developer’s day-to-day efficiency, reducing the amount of time needed to complete projects and keep them running after the release. That’s why I’ve been looking for a decent resource on design patterns for years and finally found this Pluralsight course.
To start with, it will debunk your OOP and design misconceptions. If you didn’t know that the object with the most data should do the most work or that you shouldn’t request help from data in the first place, these are a couple of insights that already make a difference in the way you structure your work. There’s more but you might want to check them out on your own.
- Interactive videos and quizzes
- Short and concise course
- All concepts feature real-world examples
- Covers the syntax, as well as design patterns
- In-depth approach to teaching Java theory
- Certification for course completion
- Covers website management and CSV analysis, other than Java syntax basics
- Doesn’t offer a systemic curriculum
- All compiler examples feature BlueJ, not Eclipse or IntelliJIDEA
- Some quizzes are repetitive
If you are learning Java to improve the way you are running your business and solve hands-on problems, check out this Coursera program. Other than teaching you the basics of the language, the course encourages programming students to think like developers. It features plenty of quizzes that require problem-solving and the ability to find the right tool to accomplish a set goal.
Take a look at the main topics the program covers:
- Semantics and syntax of Java
- Handling strings
- Editing CSV files
- Completing a practical coding project from scratch
- The course is free
- Subtitled in different languages
- Students get a certificate after completing the program
- The course offers video lectures and quizzes for every module
Platforms supported: desktop
- Covers the basics of OOP and Java in deeper detail than most programs
- Offers real-life applications to back up each concept
- Gives students a lot of analogous practice problems, improving knowledge retention
- 10+ modules take a while to complete
- Challenging for beginners
- Lectures are theory-based — it’s a heavy read
Helsinki MOOC on Java is praised by thousands of developers all over the world. If you are a programming student, you will love this one since it follows the academic curriculum closely.
Other than learning the theory of Java, you can test your skills by completing projects in a built-in IDE. Since the tasks are verified instantly, writing code and getting it graded feels like playing a game. I only wish that the course helped students use their problem-solving skills rather than just getting the “muscle memory” of Java — but, as for now, I have to accept MOOC what it is.
- 1000+ practical Java quizzes
- Grounded syntax explanation
- Divided into 14 parts, completing each of which takes 20 hours on average
Although the staggering number of courses and Java learning platforms you can find online can be a double-edged sword, at the end of the day, modern-day students are lucky to have so many resources to rely on. When choosing the right resources for learning, make sure the course matches your level of Java proficiency.
Take your time to try out the platforms listed above and share your favorites in the comments.
First published on JavaRevisited blog.