In today’s technology-driven market, programming languages are big business. Being able to successfully write code offers companies the advantage of reaching a wider consumer base through the Internet. The easier a program is to navigate, the more apt users are to return and utilize the programs offered by a business. Of the many programming languages across the technosphere, Java is well-known as secure and easy to write. For those who know Java, the programming language developed by Sun Microsystems (now merged as Oracle) in 1985, there are consistent career opportunities available in an array of industries the world over. Even giants such as Google utilize Java across multiple formats, including their own worldwide Android technology, which had a user base nearing 400 million in the first quarter of 2012.
According to Sun Microsystems, “Java powers more than 4.5 billion devices, and Java Engineers have enabled the seamless integration of technology into everyday lives. Java allows people to play video games, watch Blu-ray technology and is found on 2.1 billion mobile phones and even in washing machines. Java Engineers have profoundly shaped the way we use the Internet through programs that make complicated web applications, such as animated sequences and data centers seem simple.” Companies across the globe are constantly looking to equip their software solutions departments with those who understand this language and its universal functionality across various platforms. Java Engineers are at a unique crossroads in the job market, with plentiful opportunities at almost every corner.
But what exactly is a Java Engineer?
The Java Engineer is a language programmer first. According to David Bolton “Each and every operation that your computer performs has instructions that someone had to write in a programming language. These had to be created, compiled and tested- a long and complex task. An operating system like Microsoft’s Windows Vista took millions of man hours to write and test the software.” Without Java Engineers building code and algorithms, technology like computers would only serve as bulky typewriters, rather than the innovative workhorses they are known to be. Secondly, an engineer designs or builds, as the name implies. The Java Engineer will design and carry out the necessary steps to ensure his/her programming language functions to support the project at hand.
Those employees in the United States who are hired as Java Engineers earn between a range of $56,524 and $99,654 per year, which makes the national average salary approximately $81,500. While Java “developer” and “engineer” are typically synonymous, those applying for vacancies with the term “engineer” in the title typically enjoy a salary on the higher end of the range.
Like many programming roles, Java Engineers are expected to have a strong Computer Science or Information Technology background, rounding out the experience needed to be a successful Java Engineer. Specifically, Java Engineers will be programming, compiling, and debugging Java code for specific projects. It is important to note, however, that Java Engineers should be comprehensive with their code, and that the simplest solution is often the best. “Programming can be fun, so can cryptography; however they should not be combined,” wrote Kreitzberg and Shneiderman, authors of FORTRAN Programming: A Spiral Approach, with WATFOR/WATFIV and Standard FORTRAN. Java Engineers can be thought of as more than just programmers—they are problem solvers. Having a robust programming experience will endow those looking for Java Engineer vacancies with an advantage over other programmers who might be new to the job market.
Listed below are some inspiring quotes on software engineering that typify what a great Java Engineer should aspire to do:
- “The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination. Few media of creation are so flexible, so easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand conceptual structures. (This very tractability has its own problems.)” Fred Brooks, software engineer and computer scientist for IBM’s System/360 computer family.
- “Good code is its own best documentation. As you’re about to add a comment, ask yourself, ‘How can I improve the code so that this comment isn’t needed?’ Improve the code and then document it to make it even clearer.” Steve McConnel, author named as one of the three most influential people in the software industry by Software Development Magazine.
- “Hiring people to write code to sell is not the same as hiring people to design and build durable, usable, dependable software.” Larry L. Constantine, computing pioneer, software engineer and professor in the Mathematics and Engineering Department at the University of Madeira Portugal.
One can infer that the Java Engineer must be a level-headed programmer with the creativity to design, build, and test project specific code that is efficient and user-friendly. Employers want a programmer that can deliver a sustainable product. With so many apps, programs, and interfaces using Java, the sky is the limit when it comes to the possibilities available to a Java Engineer.
What does it take to be a Java Engineer?
For those who are not fluent in Java but understand C or C++, Java’s lingo will be familiar to them. Nevertheless, all companies who seek more than simply junior-level Java Engineers will require several years of experience tinkering around with Java for various projects. For those interested in Java Engineer opportunities, many companies often ask for the following requirements and qualifications before applying:
- Formal Education/Certification: A typical job search for Java Engineers will ask that the applicant have a Bachelors or Masters in Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Electrical Engineering or any related discipline. An educated engineer will utilize problem solving skills almost daily with the implementation of code. Java Engineers should have 2-5 years of hands-on Object Oriented Java/J2EE (Enterprise Edition) development experience and Content Delivery Network (CDN) systems knowledge (Akamai, S3, Cloudfront, etc). One must feel comfortable working on end-to-end solutions (browser, middleware and back end) as per employer request. A Java Engineer should have experience with Java frameworks, particularly Spring and Hibernate, beyond the Java basics that are expected.
- Relational Database Proficiency: Familiarity with relational databases (Oracle/PostgreSQL), web services, JSTL, Site Mesh, AJAX, CSS, HTML, Drupal, Hibernate and the Spring framework (Core, Security) is ideal. Often, building a large-scale high-performance system will be one of the initial goals of a new hire. Be able to navigate the operating systems like Linux, Unix, Apache, and Tomcat.
- Big Data: It would be well within reason to know how Big Data has changed the way businesses collect data. As a language expert, the Java Engineer should be familiar with ECL, a data-centric programming language that is associated with Big Data. Many companies will access this information for statistical data, which will in turn shape the focus of their business models, infrastructure, and the interface of their programs. Experience with open source technologies and a track record of using these technologies in past projects goes a long way in this market.
- Creativity and Adaptability: Hiring firms want smart programmers who are open and able to work well in groups. Programmers who are open to learning, reassessing their work, offering ideas, and extrapolating information from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) can be require for many Java Engineering jobs. At the same time, some vacancies might simply require a Java Engineer to work alone or in a small team in order to get a project done by a certain deadline. The Java Engineer should strive to be a pliable asset and accommodate as well as give insight. Programming is a rapidly changing environment, and the ability to learn new technologies is a key to success, so the more one knows, the better.
- Technical Writing: Excellent written and oral communication skills are a plus. Being proficient in coding language means the Java Engineer should be an excellent communicator not just behind the keyboard, but in front of the office as well. Employers will ask for updates, status reports, and presentations. Keep track of work and co-ordinate with team members so the scope of the project is clear to the Business Analysts.
- Interpersonal Communications: Depending on the industry, the project, and the robustness of the software solutions side of the company, the interpersonal role that will be expected by Java Engineers will vary. Despite the variance, many employees who are working on such software projects are often expected to keep open communication with Project Managers, Quality Assurance, and other departmental protocols for design, development, and implementation. Working together will ensure timely completion of projects.
- Business Sense: A Java Engineer first and foremost is one who develops a product. This product, even as a coded language program, must be marketable, user-friendly and appeal to the stakeholder, customer, or an audience. Even though a Java Engineer may never come face to face with a client, it is expected that their quality craftsmanship will represent the company. Reading up on the basic concepts of business and market structure will allow the Java Engineer to stand out and create a quality program tailored to the project at hand.
Java Engineers are tech savvy programmers that build the future from the ground up. Without Java Engineers, much technology would cease to entertain, to inspire, to educate. They are needed now more than ever in an increasingly technology-driven global market. Java Engineers are Promethean in their duties and carry the light of technology to new heights.