Skip to content

7 Tips To Become A Great Java Developer

Are you looking to master Java and become an expert-level programmer? As one of the most widely used programming languages globally, Java powers everything from small apps to large enterprise systems. However, just knowing Java basics isn‘t enough in this competitive field. You need to constantly build on your skills to join the ranks of great Java developers.

In this comprehensive guide, we share insider tips and best practices to help you excel at Java programming:

The Ever-Evolving Popularity of Java

Let‘s first understand why being a skilled Java developer is such a sought-after skill. According to StackOverflow‘s 2022 survey, Java continues to be the 2nd most popular language among developers worldwide. It has consistently ranked in the top 3 for many years now.

Java popularity

Why does Java remain so widely used and relevant today? Here are some key reasons:

  • Portability – Java code can run on any device with the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed. This "write once, run anywhere" benefit makes Java versatile.
  • Open Source – Java is open source with a flourishing community supporting its growth. The openness allows continuous innovation.
  • Enterprise Usage – A majority of Fortune 500 companies rely on Java for their backend systems and core business logic.

Clearly, Java will continue its dominance in coming years. By mastering Java, you make yourself invaluable to any organization. Now let‘s get into the tips and tricks to become truly exceptional at Java programming.

1. Keep Up with Latest Java Versions

The Java Development Kit (JDK) sees a new feature release every 6 months. To stay at the forefront as a developer, you must constantly learn about new additions and improvements in these releases.

For instance, Java 19 which launched in 2022 introduced new capabilities like pattern matching for switch, vector API, foreign memory access API etc. Oracle has planned exciting features for Java 20 like fibers and code snippets.

Here are some ways to keep up with the latest in Java:

  • Read Release Notes – Go through the detailed release notes for each version to understand new features and changes.
  • Follow Influencers – Stay updated by following leading Java experts like James Gosling and Simon Ritter online.
  • Attend Virtual Events – Participate in online talks and seminars around major Java releases.
  • Practice Using New Features – Experiment with language enhancements in your own code to get comfortable.

Adopting new Java capabilities early in your code will ensure you always stay relevant.

2. Master the Spring Framework Ecosystem

Over the last decade, Spring has become the standard framework for building Java enterprise applications. It makes development easier by enabling you to create components using plain old Java objects (POJOs).

Let‘s look at some key parts of the Spring framework you should get really good at:

Spring Boot – Build opinionated, production-grade Java apps quickly with sensible defaults.

public class Application {

  public static void main(String[] args) {, args);


Spring MVC – Powerful model-view-controller implementation for building web apps and APIs.

Spring Data – Simplifies data access in Spring applications with familiar patterns and interfaces.

Spring Cloud – Implements cloud-native patterns like config servers, gateway routing and more.

According to AppDynamics, over 50% of surveyed organizations now use Spring for application development. So getting comfortable with core Spring modules is a must to stand out.

3. Improve Your Testing Skills

What separates good Java developers from great ones? Their rigor and depth of testing. Thoroughly testing code using unit tests, integration tests, automation and more ensures it is bug-free and resilient.

Here are some key testing areas to master:

  • Unit Testing – Use frameworks like JUnit and TestNG to verify your classes work in isolation.
      void testMultiply() {
        Calculator calc = new Calculator();
        assertEquals(20, calc.multiply(4, 5)); 
  • Automation Testing – Script UI flows and run them automatically on every code change.
  • Integration Testing – Confirm different modules and services interact correctly.
  • Performance Testing – Stress test your system‘s responsiveness under load using tools like JMeter.

A comprehensive Cornell University study found that code with good test coverage has 60-80% fewer defects compared to untested code. Testing expertise makes you a more diligent engineer.

4. Understand Java Virtual Machine (JVM) Internals

Java code ultimately gets converted to bytecode and executed by the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Understanding how JVM works under the hood will give you a big advantage.

Here are some key aspects of JVM architecture you should understand:

  • Class Loader – Loads bytecode for classes lazily into memory only when required
  • Runtime Data Areas – Manages heap, stack, metaspace etc. for executing code
  • Garbage Collection – Automatically frees up unused memory resources
  • Just-In-Time (JIT) Compilation – Compiles bytecode to optimized native machine code

Knowing how JVM manages memory, optimizations and more helps debug issues faster. You can also fine-tune performance by tweaking JVM command line args.

5. Learn Common Design Patterns

Design patterns provide proven development paradigms to solve problems in object-oriented systems. Applying suitable design patterns results in flexible, testable and maintainable code.

Here are some design patterns every expert Java developer knows:

  • Singleton – Ensure only one instance of a class exists
  • Factory – Create objects without exposing instantiation logic
  • Observer – Trigger notifications when subject object changes state
  • Decorator – Dynamically add behaviors to objects by wrapping them
  • Strategy – Define a family of algorithms that can be interchanged

Make design patterns part of your vocabulary by reading books like Head First Design Patterns and practicing implementing them. Know when to use which pattern.

6. Learn Other JVM Languages

To expand your capabilities, learn other JVM languages that compile to Java bytecode like:

Kotlin – Interoperable alternative to Java with more concise syntax and functional features. Gives boost to Android development.

Groovy – Dynamic, object-oriented language with Java-like syntax and capabilities like closures.

Scala – Combines object-oriented and functional programming allowing compact and flexible code.

Each language enhances your ability to build performant apps using unique features. According to JetBrains, Kotlin saw a 40% increase in adoption in 2021, so it‘s a great one to learn.

7. Master Java APIs and Libraries

An experienced Java professional knows that APIs and libraries accelerate app development:

  • Java Class Library (JCL) – Collection APIs, I/O, utilities that come bundled with Java
  • JDBC – Connect and access databases like MySQL
  • Logging Libraries – Log4j, Logback for logging
  • JSON Libraries – GSON, Jackson for JSON parsing
  • Testing Libraries – JUnit, Mockito for testing

Get familiar with library docs so you can leverage them efficiently. Also learn to evaluate pros and cons of competing libraries for tasks like logging.

Putting It All Together

Learning Java fundamentals may get you started, but you need to build on those foundations with the right mindset and work ethic to become truly exceptional. This guide outlined proven tips and strategies used by the best Java developers today.

Adopt a lifelong learning approach – about new Java features, Spring ecosystem, JVM, design patterns and more. Complement your Java skills by exploring other JVM languages. Keep testing rigorously and optimizing code. Make APIs and libraries your friends to boost productivity.

By implementing these tips, you will go from being just another Java coder to an unstoppable programming machine! The journey requires commitment and smart work, but the rewards are invaluable. Happy learning and all the best!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.