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10 Tips to Become a Better Java Developer

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If you took enough time to learn Java online and are confident in syntax, managing data structures, testing, and using top IDEs, it’s likely you already are a good Java developer. However, there’s a line between a solid grasp and excellence.

If you want to stay challenged in the field, take on ambitious and well-paid projects, it’s worth thinking about how to become an outstanding Java developer. In this post, we will share 10 tips that will take you closer to programming excellence.

Tip #1. Learn SQL

While this is not a Java-specific skill, there’s a high chance you will be handling databases in your day-to-day work. To that end, it’s a good idea to have a solid understanding of SQL and relational databases.

Here’s how knowing SQL amps the quality of your projects:

  • Improves performance.
  • Facilitates communication with the DBA team.
  • Helps understand the technical limitations of databases
  • Improves troubleshooting.

Also, the good news about SQL is that, in 35 years after its release, it’s barely changed. Thus, your knowledge is not likely to become irrelevant over time.

Tip #2. Use design patterns

By definition, design patterns are reusable solutions to common application design challenges. They have two key benefits: standardization and efficiency.

For one, if you make a habit of using design patterns, your projects will fall in line with the latest coding conventions and industry standards. Also, should someone join the development team, it will be easier for a newcomer to understand the workflow and write readable code.

Also, by relying on design patterns, you save yourself a lot of time. Instead of writing the code from scratch, you can tweak a pre-existing design pattern. Last but not least, design patterns improve the developer-designer communication, allowing programmers to immediately picture the interface of the app and build code with the high-level concept in mind.

Tip #3. Explore DevOps

DevOps is a range of software development practices that aims to improve scalability and programming efficiency. It’s cornerstone ideas are:

  • Continuous integration – frequently connecting all modules in a central repository. This way, developers can see how well application components are working together from the get-go and can start fixing bugs and testing performance early on.
  • Infrastructure as code underlines heavy reliance on development tools and techniques for maintaining and scaling a project. It’s common for DevOps teams to automate server and configuration management to make sure code governs all processes.
  • Microservices – breaking a monolith application into smaller components to facilitate maintenance and scalability, as well as cut down tech debt.
  • Continuous delivery – releasing code into production as soon as a developer wrote it.

The key benefits of DevOps are:

  • High development speed and efficiency
  • Improved communication within the team, since no one is feeling overwhelmed by large-scale projects.
  • Improved security and thorough testing.

Tip #4. Work on your soft skills

Where math is straightforward, human language is convoluted. Where code is eloquent, communication is messy.

It’s common for developers to want to avoid dealing with chaos of social interactions. However, no matter which job you take, you’ll be working in teams – it makes sense to learn how to use this environment to your advantage.

To that end, building a sturdy soft skill backbone is as important to a developer as mastering libraries, frameworks, and programming languages. Specifically, you’ll find the following skills handy:

  • ustomer service – knowing how to explain complex technical concepts in a high-level business language.
  • Written communication – making yourself clear in emails, Slack messages, documentation, etc.
  • Verbal problem-solving – being confident at brainstorming sessions, voicing your ideas without hesitation, and knowing how to react to other people’s contributions.

Tip #5. Learn another programming language

Java is highly versatile – you can use it to write for web, desktop, and mobile – so, even if it’s the only programming language you know, you should be able to find a job.

However, if you want to be a competitive programmer and stand out among other applicants, consider picking up a new language. To that end, JavaScript can be a good idea as it will make you knowledgeable in front-end development. Also, you can consider learning Scala, since it’s interoperable with Java.

Tip #6. Don’t sleep on logging

If the idea of logging every function you call seems like utter nonsense to you, it’s understandable – at first, it might slow you down. However, over time, you’ll get used to leaving log messages in your code and will discover the benefits of reliance on logging.

Here are a few reasons why Java developers should use logging:

  • Higher code visibility helps make sense of the application as it becomes complex.
  • Tracking code behavior after shipping facilitates app maintenance and leaves developers in control.
  • Logging makes it easier for other developers to join the project and facilitates internal communication.

Tip #7. Challenge yourself

If you feel like your Java skills are getting rusty or want to make sure you stay at the top of your game, it’s a good idea to join coding challenges and hackathons.

There are plenty of local and online challenges that motivate developers to improve by having them solve quizzes and puzzles.

There are a lot of benefits in joining Java challenges: they are fun, help amp your skills, and are an excellent networking opportunity.

Tip #8. Know the JVM like the back of your hand

Once you have a grasp of basic and advanced Java concepts, the next step is to dabble in JVM internals.

Here’s what we mean:

  • Knowing the parts of the Java Virtual Machines and their respective functions.
  • Understanding JVM options
  • A solid grasp on garbage collection.

By tking your time to explore the JVM, you’ll make writing large-scale apps with robust infrastructures a lot easier.

Tip #9. Use best coding practices

Paying attention to naming variables and functions might seem redundant – however, adherence to conventions and best practices are the backbone of a well-performing application.

Developers generally use coding practices for the following reasons:

  • Improved efficiency: following predefined practices means you have fewer things to consciously think about as you write code – over time, your pace picks up and conventions speed you up instead of holding you back.
  • Reducing the risk of project failure due to typos and other convention-related errors.
  • Improved readability and code maintenance.
  • Cost-efficiency and reusability. If a development team follows the same conventions over an array of projects, a code can be easily reused, allowing managers to save both development time and cost.

Tip #10. Go back to the basics

At this point, your Java development journey has likely taken you far. While there are a lot of challenges ahead, it’s important to reflect on where you started and refresh your knowledge of the Java basics on CodeGym before you move on to learning new frameworks, libraries, or programming languages.

Make sure to set aside some time to solve coding problems. You can even go far back to the basics of Java syntax (variables, functions, loops) and find elegant ways to seemingly simple, beginner-oriented problems.

Final thoughts

By following the tips listed above, you will become a well-rounded, thinking, and easy-to-communicate-with programmer. Paying attention to software development trends, acknowledging the merit of conventions, and improving your soft skill will shape you into an outstanding Java developer.

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