A budding developer always has the question, how long does it take to learn Java or any other language? The simple answer is, not too long to learn but quite long to master. Again it depends on various factors that we will talk about here.
The never-ending development of computer technology created a new field of study and a new sector of human interest. This area of human interest practically exploded in the last decade or two. Suddenly everyone wants to become a computer programmer and developer. Nonetheless, the demand for a professional in this field has also increased drastically. Everyone seems to believe that learning to code and to design websites is the most perspective career.
People use their technological gadgets without wondering what it takes to make them work like they do. Then you read about success stories of certain applications on smartphones, and you wonder that you can do better than them.
However, people seem to think that developing websites or application is easy and logical. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time to become really good in developing websites and software and you never truly can learn everything. You can improve yourself gradually over time with new tools becoming available and new projects being developed.
What is Java?
We have all sometimes heard about Java. That word sort of pops out of nowhere, especially when you are browsing the Internet. If you are not so familiar with the process that goes on “behind the curtains,” you probably wondered what it is and what purpose does it serve.
The definition of Java goes as follows; it’s a general-purpose computer programming language. It’s concurrent, class-based, object-oriented and it was invented with a purpose to implement into many different platforms easily. It is imagined as a language serving a simple guideline: write once, run anywhere or WORA. That means that a certain amount of code can run on all platforms that support Java, regardless of computer architecture and without the need to adjust it to a specific platform.
It doesn’t need numeric codes for the program to be written for it. Instead, the computer instructions or code is written using English-based commands which can be easily understood by anyone. These characteristics mean that Java is a “high-level” language. It does not communicate directly with the hardware.
A set of rules exists and its purpose it’s to guide the developers to know how the instructions are actually written. This set of rules is called syntax. Its syntax can be compared to the syntax of C and C++, but it’s far simpler. A big advantage Java implements ist hat you write the code using easy to understand English words and the computer later translates it as a series of numerical values that only a computer can read and execute.
One is a programming language found across devices; the other is scripting language that is one of the cornerstones of web development.
Java and C are always go toe-to-toe when it comes to popularity. In certain indexes, Java surpasses C, whereas, in others, C is leading. However, even today, a simple search for top programming languages will reveal Java is topping the list across many platforms.
[TIOBE Programming Community Index: Jan 2017]
[Spectrum IEEE: Jan 2017]
The recent uptick in the popularity of Javan can be attributed to Android Development. The fact that anyone can download the free Android Software Development Kit and get started with developing an app has seen many newbies rise to the task of programming.
The Humble Beginning of Java
Java was created in 1991 by James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton. It was originally meant to be implemented into interactive television, but that idea was quicky changed because the project was too advanced. It was originally named “Oak” but it was renamed to Java because the developers found out there was another software named “Oak.”
Java 1.0 was released to the public in 1996, and it was focused for online use. It used a syntax similar to those of C and C++, and it allowed developers to develop animated websites. It evolved greatly over the years and became the most widely used programming language with more than 9 million developers worldwide.
Java is the most widely used programming language in the world, and it runs on all platforms. It was designed to be that way. You can build a project on a computer and run it on an Android Smartphone. Its syntax is much simpler than those of C and C++, and it uses simple English words to input code.
Additionally, Java is probably the most secure platform for developing because it was intended for use on mobile devices and online. This means a high-security protection is needed. It’s easy to start as you only need to download and install the Java Development Kit.
How Long Does it Take to Learn Java?
Well, it all depends on what you consider enough for your needs. Let’s say you want to get to a level where you can create a program and fix the errors yourself. It takes much longer to become an expert, but that is the case with all areas of human study. Find the type of program you want to excel at and specialize for that.
Java, the Programming Language is Just the Beginning
In the beginning, you will need to learn the syntax and the rules of the language. A couple of months should be enough to learn how to use most commands, and you should understand how the code works. However, in order to create a project using Java, you will need to learn how to manage different Java application spaces such as Swing, web or desktop. A good Java developer should be able to handle large APIs and have some extensive knowledge of at least a couple of different frameworks.
How to Start
There are many ways that you can start the learning process. I have listed a few here:
One of the best ways to learn Java is through watching Youtube videos. Donner Miller has rightly said:
In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.
There is so much information online available that all it takes is simple search query. Youtube, is the best place to learn everything that you can about Java. Here is a sample tutorial:
Learning Through Code
Learning this way is a bit advanced, but the fact that you will be dissecting and questioning everything you see, you learning will be of professional level.
“Hello, World” is a simple code which can be found online easily. Just copy that and learn what everything means. Run it and see why does it behave like that. Google online and look up what is a class and why do you need it.
The good old method of learning through books is yet another amazing way. Books are designed in a way to help you achieve your target. There are books for beginners, intermediate, and advanced level learners.
A Footnote: Practice!
However, reading and watching about Java won’t make you a better developer, jut like reading about cooking doesn’t make you a better chef. You need to experiment and see what happens when you try different functions. Once you understand the basics, everything else will fall into place. There are tutorials available online, along with interactive courses. You will get better once you start to work on your own projects. You can learn a lot just from observing other people’s projects. There are always useful hints and shortcuts available to find in open source projects.
Is There a Number?
So to specifically answer the question, how long does it take to learn Java, the amount of time you need for this is about a year. It differs from person to person, but it is a rough estimate. It also depends on how much time you have available, but know that focusing on Java can bring you a lifetime of secure jobs!