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Is Java hard to learn? – Get to know the world’s fav object oriented language

Learning Java is not just possible, but kind of essential, so we've gathered all there is to know about the world's most widely-used object-oriented language.

Java is unquestionably important, and at this point, irreplaceable within the industry. It’s the most sought-after programming language in our current IT world.

If you’ve researched Java online, or thought about learning it, you probably gathered a ton of beliefs and generalisations about it. You might wonder if it’s hard to learn or if it's worth your time to master it. You might not even understand why there’s such a huge fuss around this object-oriented programming (OOP) language.

So let us jump right into the discussion to bust some myths, and to show you how to effectively tackle Java and the world of OOP.

Let's take a brief look at Java's main attributes and its history

The language was born as an accident back in 1991, but it was too advanced for its original purpose, interactive television. It should’ve been the language for set-top boxes and TVs, but was used instead for internet programming. Later, “Write once, run anywhere” became the famous mantra of the creators of the language, and the root of Java's popularity shines well in this saying. When they started to develop the language back in the ‘90s, the developers at Sun Microsystems had 5 key objectives in mind, which were absolutely revolutionary back then. These aspects then set the standard for so many prog languages to come:

  1. To take an 'object-oriented approach' (more on this aspect later)
  2. To allow multiple operating systems to run the same program (thus the "Write once, run anywhere" mantra)
  3. To have a built-in computer network support 
  4. To execute code from distant sources safely
  5. To be simple to use

We’ll discuss the first point in a second, but just by taking a look at this list, you can see that there was a lot of effort put into making Java as simple and widely usable as possible. It strives to be independent both of the platform and the operating system that it’s running on. And there’s a huge focus on making the code compatible with newer systems and versions without the need for migrations or upscaling. This is what we call 'backwards compatibility'. Furthermore, It's avery quickly evolvinglanguage. New additions and capabilities are coming in as industry requirements change, and technological advancements happen.

These are Java's main characteristics, and also the main reasons behind its unshakable popularity. But we have to note that Java is not just simply a programming language. It's a complex development ecosystem, and many of the world's biggest organisations rely on it for their projects and solutions.

It's a complex environment, used by giant companies

This development ecosystem is widely used for large-scale projects by organisations like Netflix, Amazon, Google and Spotify. It’s a fully-fledged, reliable, easy-to-use environment that has been enhanced, optimised and streamlined for decades. Its rich library and countless tools enable quicker, moreseamless testing, which makes processes more efficient and comfortable in large development projects.

This huge context built around Java enables quicker, more seamless development also: when a bank wants to develop an app with a currency converter for example, the code doesn't have to be written from ground zero. Java’s giant collection of libraries probably has a solution for it already, so developers just have to look for it, and bam! It’s taken care of.

But why is learning Java so well worth your time? Why is it so beneficial to master it?

Learning Java is a great investment of your time and energy

In a previous blog post, we called Java the GOAT of object-oriented prog languages, and not by coincidence, since

- it’s the #1 developer platform in the world
- more than 10 million developers use it
- it runs on 13 billion devices daily
- it’s the #1 developer choice for cloud computing

Java is mostly used to create complex, large-scale software and applications that can then be distributed widely. For example, a lot of banks rely on Java for their apps and software, since Java has a long-time reputation of being the most trusted, most secure language. So naturally, industries that are keen on these qualities started to use it quickly.

Do you want to develop banking software in the future? Then get accustomed to Java, because you'll definitely need it.

Since it’s so widely used and sought-after in the world of programming, learning Java is always a good idea. At most interviews and for most developer jobs, Java is a basic expectation, and to be honest, an essential knowledge one should have in order to find a job as a programmer. 

But why is Java harder to tackle?

Well, due to its versatility and adaptability, Java is the backbone of the object-oriented curricula in most schools around the world. And at Codecool, too - Java is usually the first language that students work with as they start to tackle OOP.

But what is object-oriented programming really, and why is it more complex to write code in it?

Nowadays, it’s basically the industry standardin programming. The concept, in a nutshell, is that we want to code in a way that we see things in reality - we see objects all around us, and these relate to each other, and the world in so many different ways. And we want to be able to put these relations into code. We want to be able to code our reality.

The object-oriented languages contain a ton of new buzzwords and concepts though, like OO thinking, encapsulation, or dependency injection, just to name a few. Because of this, the first object-oriented language you meet can seem to be a lot more complicated than it actually is. This might be the reason why there’s such mythology surrounding Java, and so many discussions going on about it - when students start to learn it and just look at the code for the first time, it can be a bit disheartening. There is so much to learn, just to be able to even read it!

How can you master Java more easily?

Even if Java requires a bit more advanced thinking, there are a couple of things you can do to make learning the language easier for yourself.

First, you have to stay open-minded to the extremes. You have to accept that this is a new world you’re entering and that you’ll have a harder time learning something new. But this is of course something super exciting! You’ll learn the industry-standard programming language, so it’s well worth it to stay open-minded.

Second, keep broadening your horizons, because this is the time to learn a ton of new approaches. You can learn from so many people and so many sources, so get in the flow of Java programming by gathering inputs from many different sources - read blogs or watch videos, whatever works for you. Just checking out different perspectives will help you a great deal to learn Java, and to get in the flow of OOP.

All we can say is that there’ll be a definite learning curve to Java and OOP in general, but as time goes by and the first ‘heureka’ moments happens, your thinking will shift. In the later stages of their learning, Codecoolers usually sigh and say: “I don’t know why it was so hard at first, but now I totally get it!”

Codecoolers meet Java at just the right time

The object-oriented programming approaches will change your way of thinking for good, and there’ll be no going back in coding after you've mastered it. This is one of the reasons why you'll start with Java in the 3rd module called OOP (around 7-9 months in) of our full stack dev course.

By the time you get to that point of the course, you’ve already done a ton of coding in Python, and you’re ready to take your logical thinking to the next level. (Just take a look at our students’ success story, who won second place at Morgan Stanley’s hackathon while they were doing their 3rd modules.)

Plus, this will be the time for Codecoolers to get closer to the industry standards, and Java is the perfect way to get in the flow of object-oriented thinking. Since it’s so widely used and sought-after in the world of programming, it’s a no-brainer to start with it as you dip your toes into object-oriented waters. And mastering it will save you a significant amount of time and energy!

During the entire time you learn and work with Java, we’ll hold onto that growth mindset! We’ll encourage you to take your time with this language, and support you so you so you won’t beat yourself up when you don’t get things for the first try. So many amazing programmers come before you, who had to take their sweet time with Java programming - it’s totally natural to make mistakes, but stick to one problem, one challenge at a time, and you’re going to be fine. The mastery-based learning method we follow at Codecool also supports this concept: you are encouraged either to repeat any lesson and project if you need to, or to take a short-cut when you progress faster than your peers.

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If you've made your decision to become a programmer already, come and learn Java with us.

At our full-stack development course, you'll have a chance to first build the strong foundations in 2x3 months, that are necessary before you start learning OOP, together with Java after this, in another 3 month. And in the final 3-months module of the 1-year course you can choose your own specialisation, for example deepening your Java and OOP knowledge. By the end, you'll get an in-depth knowledge that you won't get at a typical bootcamp. Besides a thorough understanding and routine in working with Java you'll know 2-5 other prog languages and a number of technologies as well.

If you have questions surrounding our curricula or methods, feel free to contact us, or just dive a bit deeper into our website and blog, because there are a ton of resources you can use to get an overview of our school.

We know that almost anybody can become a programmer with the right education, support, and motivation - so take a leap of faith and apply, because we believe in you, and we'll make you believe in you, too!