Last Updated on September 28, 2021
While programming languages share common principles and syntax rules, some are objectively harder than others. In this post, we assess the difficulty of learning a technology that is, on the one hand, highly beginner-friendly, yet complex and multi-faceted — Java.
If you are planning to take a Java course or start learning the language on your own, it will be helpful to understand the difficulty of the challenge you are signing up for.
Let’s get started!
5 Hurdles When Learning Java
Generally, Java is not difficult to grasp. Since it’s an interpreted language, Java components are more straightforward compared to compiled languages like C. Also, there are so many Java-related learning resources that it seems there’s no way to not grasp the basics.
However, once you pick up a textbook, things get harder. Here are a few hurdles that might make you feel overwhelmed at the beginning
Hurdle #1. Java might not be “love at first sight”
|String name = “John”;
Hurdle #2. Conventions
In Java development, there’s the practice of assigning long descriptive names to variables. Professionals see this convention as valuable — it gives instant clarity as to what a function is about.
However, beginners can spend a lot of time writing variable names, and there’s more room for typos.
Hurdle #3. String immutability
The inability to modify a string also feels like added effort and stress when you are getting into Java.
As you advance in programming, you’ll realize there are a lot of reasons for keeping strings non-changeable: promoting security, facilitating concurrency and synchronization, and many more.
Hurdle #4. The community
The Java community is, overall, a good place — there are many senior programmers on Reddit, Stack Overflow, and other platforms, happy to step in and help beginner developers.
However, now and then you can come across defensive coders that see any criticism of the language as an attempt to hate on Java — they could bring you down. Similarly, there are a lot of “Java prodigy” success stories that propel beginners to set unrealistic goals and feel frustrated or incompetent.
To make the most out of learning communities, take all advice and engage in discussions with the grain of salt. Don’t let online criticism bring you down.
Hurdle #5. A variety of complex topics
You might’ve seen an online meme where a coding tutorial or solving a math problem escalates from basic steps to complex equations in milliseconds, leaving students confused. Well, learning Java is a little bit like that.
After learning the basics, programmers feel like they are good at Java, but once they discover multithreading or polymorphism, the tables turn again. All of a sudden, all the motivation you had is gone and you feel back to square one again.
There’s an easy fix to the problem — keep practicing. Don’t let challenging concepts pile up with no real-world use — as soon as you learn a new advanced topic like lambdas, put your knowledge to the test with coding problems.
Is Learning Java Worth It?
After seeing some of the challenges Java learners face, you might be wondering if getting into the language is worth it. Long story short, it is — here’s why:
- Booming job market — there are over 110,000 Java jobs on Indeed at the time of writing.
- 2nd largest GitHub and Stack Overflow communities
- A lot of learning resources
- Cross-platform applications: you can use Java to write web applications, desktop software, or mobile apps.
- Knowing Java makes it easier to learn Python or C++ since you’ll have the basics of OOP hammered.
- A powerful library of frameworks and tools.
- Huge variety of Java IDEs — you can easily find the one you like.
While Java is quite a difficult language to learn, the reward is worth the effort since you will have a command of one of the most in-demand and fundamental programming technologies.
How Much Time Does it Take to Learn Java?
If you are set on learning Java, it’s a good idea to have a set-in-stone learning roadmap. Here’s an example of a Java study plan:
- Step #1. Learn the fundamentals (Java Core)
- Step #2. Gain a good grasp of the IDE.
- Step #3. Integrate your Java knowledge into the Software Development Life Cycle.
- Step #4. Learn Java frameworks.
- Step #5. Know how to use JMS
- Step #6. Learn the fundamentals of Java Web
- Step #7. Microservices and Spring.
The amount of time Java students need to master everything mentioned above varies — on average, the Java learning curve takes from 16 to 39 months depending on how committed to practicing you are and how much overall programming experience you have.
Top Resources For Learning Java
Having a resource deck that fits your learning needs is an important step to grasping Java as quickly as possible.
Here are a few Java learning platforms that are highly rated among developers:
There are a lot more Java learning tools to explore — take all the time you need to do research and compile a versatile resource deck.
While Java can be off-putting at first, it’s generally not difficult to learn (especially if compared side-by-side with compiled languages). As soon as you are ready to bear with a few seemingly counterintuitive (but necessary) conventions and security measures, there won’t be many frustrations on your learning curve.
Also, make sure to use different tools for learning Java. Relying just on textbooks or solely on Youtube tutorials can limit your comprehension and interest in the language. As long as you keep learning versatile, mastering Java can be enjoyable and fun!