Java is a programming language that enables programming to use English commands instead of numeric codes when writing computer instructions. Sometimes called a high-level language, this ultimately makes it easier for humans to read and write the language more easily (sometimes called a high-level language). The syntax, or rules around how to write instructions, enable a program to be written and then translated into the numeric codes computers can execute.
Sun Microsystems launched Java technology in 1995, offering a programming language and computing platform that powers many applications and websites that only work with Java installed, ranging from laptops to game consoles to cell phones. The object-oriented programming language was first called Oak, then Green. In the early days of development, Java was intended for digital mobile devices use. But in 1996, the Java 1.0 public release focused on internet use, enabling developers to create animated web pages.
Today, Java has undergone multiple releases and evolved as a language used on and off the internet. And, although the language is more than two decades old, it’s anything but outdated. In fact, many developers built vital systems in Java that are still in use today, including Gmail, Confluence, OpenOffice and Eclipse, among others.
Benefits of Java
Java’s features make it applicable for a wide range of programming tasks. These benefits include:
- Intentionally easy. Java was intended to be easy to learn and use, building off programming language predecessor C++, but simplifying. This ease of use translates into writing, compiling and debugging code as well.
- Object-oriented. An object-oriented language enables modular programming, which can then be reused. To reduce fatal errors that occur as a result of programmer mistakes, Java introduced object-oriented programming, enabling data and manipulations of the data to be packed together – and increasing reliability.
- Platform agnostic. Java is independent at the source and the binary level, which means it can easily move across computer systems and run on multiple systems. This feature is crucial to internet use.
- Highly secure. Security was a key focus for this language, particularly because it was initially aimed at mobile networks.
- Reliable and established. When it comes to technology, two decades is a long time. Java’s long history not only makes it reliable, but it also means many libraries are now available, eliminating some of the need to start from scratch.
- Scalable. Java code must be reviewed for errors before it is built into an app because it is a statically-typed language. This requirement enables easier error spotting, and eliminates odd errors in the codebase because the language is statically-typed.
- Efficient run times. A statically-typed language also ensures better definition, ultimately yielding apps that don’t have to burn resources reviewing definitions in the code.
What is Java Used For?
Programmers can develop Java applications on three main platforms:
- Java SE, the Simple Edition, is used for simple applications that stand alone, often APIs for desktop applications.
- Java EE, the Enterprise Edition, allows components to respond to web-based requests and enables interacting with web-based clients and browsers. This version can be used in the cloud to support scaling.
- Java ME, the Micro Edition, is a leaner version used for mobile development, more prevalent for embedded device development.
The Java systems enable a variety of features, including:
- Application Programming Interface (API): this core foundation can be helpful in providing a foundation for your applications.
- Deployment to end-users
- User interface toolkits that enable advanced graphics
- Integration libraries that allow database access
What Jobs Require Java?
TechRepublic calls Java an “enterprise mainstay,” noting it’s still a favorite among key enterprises. And for aspiring professionals, that means learning Java can provide access to a bevy of jobs, all of which are likely to increase in demand with widespread adoption, including:
- Freelancing your Java development skills to support organizations that don’t have the IT skills in-house
- Building Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices.
- Creating cloud computing solutions.
- Building robots.
- Writing web applications.
Kicking Off Your Career with Java
Florida Tech’s BS in Computer Information Systems programs provides students with coursework in Java as well as other critical knowledge for careers in IT. The program curriculum offers foundational Java skills and a competitive edge when it comes to learning other programming languages and finding a career.