Top Java Development Skills in Demand Right Now
Java remains one of the most popular programming languages and remains one of the most in-demand languages despite it’s almost a quarter of a century old. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that Java will continue to grow in popularity and Java developers will see even more demand from employers in the future. If you are curious about these employer’s hiring trends, make sure to look at our article about Java developer hiring trends.
In order to create high-quality products, developers need to constantly monitor the release of the latest Java tools and upgrade their technical skills and knowledge. Below we present the top five Java developer skills that will become an absolute must for Java developers for the rest of 2021 and beyond.
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Excellent Knowledge of Java 8
Despite the release of Java 13 in September 2019, there are many developers out there who are still not comfortable with Java 8 and its features. So for aspiring Java developers, solid knowledge and experience with Java 8 is a must.
Some of the most useful Java 8 features include:
- Default and static methods for the creation of interfaces with method implementation
- A functional interface that has only one abstract method and helps developers avoid the addition of other abstract methods
- Lambda expressions that help instantiate functional interfaces
- Java Stream API for enabling parallel and sequential execution
- New methods added in Collection API
All these features make Java 8 highly suitable for functional programming which is a big trend these days. Functional programming allows concurrency and code brevity and helps to create high-load applications with highly optimised code.
Java 8 also set the stage for machine code optimisation which allowed the optimisation of approaches for other languages like Scala, Kotlin, and Grails.
Experience With Testing
Unit testing in Java is a rather controversial topic. Some developers claim that writing unit tests is a waste of time but we strongly believe that the skill of unit testing is obligatory for any professional Java developer.
Unit testing allows for the testing of individual code units and ensures that the final product will function with no bugs or errors. So, if a developer wants to upgrade their skills and knowledge, learning how to use the most popular and efficient testing tools is a must.
The primary testing framework to get well acquainted with would be the JUnit 5 Library known to every Java developer. Other tools include:
- Robot Framework
Apart from unit testing, a good Java developer shouldn’t forget about other testing methods (system testing, acceptance testing, and integration testing) in order to perform a 360-degree software test and ensure there are no errors, bugs, or critical malfunctions. The key thing to remember about testing is: small changes lead to big results. If you do not hesitate to invest time and effort into unit testing, you’ll be amazed at the increased quality of your work.
Adoption of DevOps
Though not an obligatory point, the exploration of DevOps and its principles may be beneficial both for you as a developer and the company that you work in. The flexibility and organisation of DevOps processes allow companies to optimise the quality of its product and streamline operations while also increasing the transparency of the processes.
DevOps in Java is basically the application of DevOps to Java development. It implies:
- Continuous delivery and integration
- Work with microservices instead of monoliths
- Infrastructure as a code
- Automated testing
DevOps is a vast area so one needs to invest a significant amount of time and resources into studying it. But if you are a Java developer and you wish to manage the environment, learning DevOps will be useful as it will allow you to become a DevOps Engineer in the future.
But if you don’t want to become a DevOps Engineer or your company does not want to adopt it, that’s fine too. Just keep in mind that DevOps is growing in popularity and is steadily becoming the next big trend in the Java community.
Knowledge of Java Libraries and APIs
With Java being the number one programming language in the developers’ community, it comes as no surprise that it has a massive amount of available APIs and libraries to work with.
These tools significantly facilitate the development process and allow developers to swiftly create robust software. Below we’ve listed a basic set of tools that any good Java developer knows and can confidently use.
These tools help to quickly assemble an app and efficiently manage the data and its storage:
- Gradle (app assemblement tool)
- Maven (a bit outdated but still popular, also used for assembling apps)
- Java 8 Standard Packages
- Spring Frameworks
- JPA ORM (Hibernate, TopLink)
- NoSQL Databases (MongoDB, Cassandra)
As for the APIs, in order to work with the primary Java API, a developer needs to have a solid knowledge of OpenJDK, Android, Oracle, and IS2T.
A great advantage of these tools is that all of them come with detailed and informative documentation. What’s more, developers can always get support from the community which is also a big benefit.
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Solid Knowledge of Spring and Spring Boot
Spring Framework is the most-used framework for creating Java-based applications so it’s essential that a developer knows his way around it.
One of the key advantages of Spring is dependency injection that allows for the creation of loosely coupled apps and grants a great amount of flexibility to developers. Spring is also very lightweight, supports XML and annotation configurations, and also enables declarative programming. So if you want to master your Java development skills, you must also master the deployment of Spring.
Spring Boot is a Spring iteration that is a service-friendly tool for quick application deployment. It’s safe to say that Spring Boot uses Spring as the base and builds its own features upon it.
While Spring is focused on flexibility, Spring Boot helps shorten the code and facilitates the development process. It offers developers production-ready features, helps create standalone apps, and is overall easier to launch and manage. Spring Boot is great for microservices and applications that need to be quickly developed as it allows fast and easy setup and app launch for different environments (production, test, quality, CI/CD). A Spring Boot 2 version was recently released so Java developers might want to explore and learn it.
Both Spring and Spring Boot have expanded with opportunities for React programming which is another hot trend in the development community. Spring 5, for example, now has a WebFlux for realising the reactive approach towards programming and resolution of the complex distributed systems.
Experience With Big Data
Big Data development is a growing trend that developers need to follow and adopt in order to answer the market’s demands. The key tools that professional Java developers can become familiar with are:
- Apache Spark
- Apache Kafka
- Hadoop (for batch data processing)
Apache Spark is a distributed framework for Big Data processing that provides native bindings for Java. This framework quickly became immensely popular due to its features and performance and is now the most preferred tool for work with Big Data in the Java community. Apache Spark can run in a standalone cluster mode and for that you will need the Apache Spark framework and a JVM only (for each machine in the cluster). Spark is also incredibly swift and has a very user-friendly Spark API.
Hadoop is a data-storing framework that is also well-known to Java developers. Although it falls short of execution speed compared to Spark, Hadoop remains one of the most popular tools for work within the top Big Data development teams. This is also due to the fact that Hadoop (and similar solutions) have a big number of plugins that allow for the efficient resolution of Big Data processing tasks and overall optimise Hadoop performance (including the support of the stream real-time processing).
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Ready to develop your Java skill?
With its growing popularity, Java seems to have a steady future ahead. So if a developer wishes to fit into the ever-changing environment of software development, they need to follow the latest development trends and constantly master their skills in order to match the requirements of the clients and the market. Make sure to read our article on tips for being a better Java developer to stay up to speed.
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