Are you afraid the answer to “Can I teach myself Java?” may discourage you from becoming a programmer?
Programming languages can be intimidating, especially if you have no prior IT experience.
The good news is that many professional programmers don’t have formal training in their craft. Instead of spending time and money attending university, they powered on their computer and, well, learned to code. Of course, there’s more to it, so keep reading to learn how to become a self-taught Java programmer.
- Why Should You Learn Java?
- How to Start
- Hit the Books
- Practice Makes Perfect
- Learn From Others
- Grow From Your Mistakes
- Courses and Websites
- Networking Events and Meetups
- Work on a Personal Project
- Creating a Switch Statement Calculator
- Java: Practice and Consistency for the Win
Why Should You Learn Java?
Java is one of the most well-known coding languages, and many companies worldwide use Java-based software. Despite the growing number of people entering the IT sector, corporations are constantly looking for new hires familiar with the language to develop Java-written apps. So, if you add Java to your resume, getting a well-paid job will be a breeze. Java’s most attractive features are its large user base, mobility, and scalability.
According to some estimates, nearly all Fortune 500 companies use this language to develop and manage their internal systems and apps. With over 3 billion devices running on Java, it’s an excellent first language for a novice programmer.
Additionally, you can create Android apps using Java, which opens more career opportunities. Not only is it a powerful web development tool, but it also taps into the mobile market.
How to Start
Learning Java requires time, effort, and determination. You’ll need to create a feasible plan and stick to it to become a successful programmer.
The following tips will help you stay on the right track.
Hit the Books
Schedule study sessions and work in a distraction-free environment. The more you study, the more disciplined you’ll become. Use the 20-minute rule. If you’re stuck on a problem, scour Google for 20 minutes and try to find the answer. Likely, the solution is already in front of you, so it’s just a matter of training your eye to spot it.
Practice Makes Perfect
Make coding part of your daily routine. Consistency is key to writing effective code. After mastering the basics, start working on more complex programs.
Learn From Others
Read Java forums to learn about other people’s experiences. You can learn from their mistakes and improve more quickly.
Grow From Your Mistakes
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Coding is complex, and even those who have been in the field for years sometimes struggle to complete seemingly simple tasks.
You don’t have to study coding 24/7 to become a proficient programmer. Even half an hour a day is sufficient, as long as you don’t fall behind your self-teaching schedule.
Not sure where to find helpful resources? Here are a few ways aspiring developers can learn Java fast.
Courses and Websites
The internet is full of knowledge and is particularly helpful for those who prefer self-guided learning.
A quick Google search will bring up multiple paid and free Java courses. They cater to developers of various levels of experience, from beginner to advanced. Before starting online classes, ensure you’ve found a flexible option that can take your skillset to the next level.
The Javarevisited site is a good starting point if you’re interested in practical work. It takes a non-traditional approach to learning, mixing practice and theory. Beginners would benefit from exploring this site since it makes Java code more accessible.
CodeGym is another practice-based site. It offers over 1,200 tasks, classed by their level of complexity. The first few problems may be simple, but the following up the ante. They’ll prompt you to get out of your comfort zone and think like a professional programmer.
Books are another invaluable resource because they can break down complex topics and offer bits of practical advice. The following titles can help novice programmers learn the ins and outs of Java in no time.
“Java for Dummies” by Barry A. Burd
Although the title might discourage you from picking up this book, Burd’s writing appeals to younger audiences and mature learners. If you’re struggling to create objects and differentiate between source code and byte code, the text provides bite-sized lessons that simplify tricky concepts.
“Effective Java” by Joshua Bloch
This book is an excellent resource for novice developers and those who want to master all aspects of Java. The text doesn’t shy away from more challenging aspects even seasoned programmers avoid, and it will help you understand the building blocks of coding.
Instead of focusing on syntax, the book shows readers how to decide which frame will work best for their task. Each chapter covers different Java Items, so you can skip sections if you’re strapped for time.
“Head First Java” by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates
This book aims to teach those with little to no programming experience to code effectively. The authors guide readers through the basics, explaining topics like language variables, loops, classes, and inheritance.
“Head First Java” is full of images and puzzles that make its content approachable, and one section contains interviews with successful Java developers. If you’re stumped by the question, “Can I teach myself Java?” you should consider picking up this book.
Networking Events and Meetups
If books and online courses aren’t your preferred learning method, networking might be the way to go. Networking events often invite well-respected developers who have years of experience. Instead of reading a book and completing a task at the end of a chapter, you can listen to an expert and pick up helpful Java tips.
Also, you can talk to others at the event and inquire about their Java projects. They may share their goals and how they plan to achieve them. Who knows, you might use the same techniques to resolve a challenging coding problem in the future.
Work on a Personal Project
After learning about the basics, it’s time to put your skills to the test. Moving from test runs and tutorials to hands-on programming can be intimidating, and the transition isn’t always smooth.
But don’t be discouraged.
You can start small and implement new features into a project you coded for an online course. Or, you could make Chrome extensions and add them to an existing framework. If you make a mistake, you’ll notice it more quickly.
Those who don’t feel up to working on a project alone can enlist the help of friends. You’ll feel motivated, and they’ll hold you accountable, minimizing the risk of procrastination.
If you’re unsure what should be your first project, check out the ideas below.
Simple games are the best way to test your skills and identify areas for improvement. This guide will show you how to make an engaging and repeatable tic-tac-toe game with Java.
Creating a Switch Statement Calculator
You’ve put in the work, so set a challenge and try to create a calculator in less than two hours. On Programwiz, you’ll find instructions on how to structure the coding process and polish your first draft. After studying the directions, you’ll be able to code a simple yet functional mobile calculator.
Java: Practice and Consistency for the Win
If you’ve wondered, “Can I teach myself Java?” you may have assumed the process would be overwhelming.
But learning how to code with Java doesn’t have to be complicated. Successful programmers stay on top of their game through consistent practice. So, make a schedule and turn coding into a daily habit. How quickly you improve will depend on your dedication.
If you encounter a problem, don’t hesitate to reach out to those with more experience. Veteran users may even let you in on some handy Java secrets.