Java Programming Training and Certificates: At a Glance
The Java programming language was first utilized in 1995 and is now commonly used to develop software for many different technologies, including mobile devices and navigation systems. All kinds of information technology professionals use Java, such as Web developers, programmers and software developers.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that programmers were expected to see a 12% increase in jobs from 2010-2020, which was about as fast as the average of all occupations. However, companies tend to send programming work to foreign countries to keep costs down, which could limit your job possibilities in this career field. The BLS found that software developers were projected to experience 30% employment growth between 2010 and 2020, and professionals who had the most up-to-date knowledge of programming languages should have the best opportunities.
|Training Options||Certificate||Bachelor's Degrees|
|Who is this program for?||People looking for courses and training in Java without having to commit to a full program||Individuals with basic programming knowledge who wish to gain a deeper understanding of Java||Students seeking entry- and mid-level programming and software development positions that use the Java|
|Common Career Paths (with approximate median salary)||Doesn't usually lead to specific careers as a standalone program; individuals usually need a degree or certificate for most Java programming-related positions.|| - Programmer ($55,000 - some positions may require an associate's degree)*|
- Web developer ($81,000 - with two years of experience)*
| - Java developer ($82,000 - with two years of experience)*|
- Applications programmer ($77,000 - with four years of experience)*
- Software developer ($58,000)*
|Time to Completion||One semester or less||Six months to a year||Four years, full-time|
|Common Requirements||- Usually a single course covering a specific aspect of Java programming||- About four to five courses covering Java|| - About five basic computer courses|
- Roughly three math courses
- Anywhere from five to ten additional electives or specialization courses
|Prerequisites||- May need access to a computer with certain programs installed|| - Programming experience|
- Some programs require postsecondary education while others do not
|- High school diploma or equivalent|
Source: *Salary.com (October 2012 figures).
Java Training Options
Some schools offer individual courses in Java, but you can also find training courses directly from Oracle (the owner of Java). The courses offered by Oracle are usually between one and five days long and can be completed at any hour of the day. Oracle has courses for a variety of different job roles and even offers live online courses during the day or the evening. Postsecondary Java courses are typically offered at a community college or university and may require a prerequisite computer course.
Java training courses are not intended as a direct path to a particular career, but can be useful for students who need to know Java for their current jobs or wish to increase their skills in Java programming. The training programs offered by Oracle may also be helpful to professionals who need to learn about the changes made to the latest programs that use the Java programming language.
Pros and Cons
- Doesn't require the big commitment that a full program may
- Can help you prepare for certain certification exams
- Courses are often offered in flexible formats and at any time of the day, allowing you to learn at your own pace without having to leave your current job
- Doesn't qualify you for many paid positions
- Only taking a course or two probably won't make you an expert in Java programming
- You'll miss out on important programming and computer concepts that are taught in certificate and degree programs
Java courses that you take at a college are typically a semester long and cover program structures, debugging and programming basics. Some courses may require you to purchase a book or other materials. You'll typically need to complete the necessary homework assignments and pass one or more exams to finish the course.
The training courses offered by Oracle can usually be completed in five or fewer days. You'll generally have a mix of lectures and hands-on labs. Course topics may include class design, Java interfaces, string processing and threading. Some courses may also fulfill the training requirements for particular certifications.
Online Java programming courses are common. Oracle's training programs are typically offered as online courses that can be completed at your own pace, but you can still take live courses from Oracle over the Internet if you choose. Many schools offer a Java programming course over the Internet, but keep in mind that you still may need to purchase specific materials or have a computer that meets the requirements of the course.
Getting Ahead with This Training
Some courses can help prepare you to earn certifications from Oracle. Earning a professional designation can show employers that you have specific skills in Java programming and using Java software. Oracle offers certifications for programmers of all levels, so you may want to check out all of your options before committing to a certification path.
Entry-level programmers can pursue the Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE5/SE6 credential, which requires the candidate to pass the corresponding exam. Oracle also offers two levels of the Java SE7 Programmer certification, which are each obtained by passing an exam. Advanced Java users who have a previous Oracle Certified Professional designation can pursue the Oracle Certified Expert, Java EE6 Web Component Developer credential that verifies their abilities to create web applications with Java.
Java Programming Certificate
Java programming certificate programs are available to students with a variety of educational backgrounds; some are designed for students who have a background in programming, while others require incoming students to have taken postsecondary courses or already possess an undergraduate degree. Certificate programs are usually short and only consist of about four or five courses; most take less than a year to finish. This type of program can teach you how to create programs and mobile apps and show you how to maintain and debug existing programs. You'll probably need to complete some prerequisite coursework if you don't have much programming experience.
Pros and Cons
- Shorter and cheaper than a degree program
- These programs are very specialized and offer more Java courses than you'd typically find in a general programming undergraduate degree program
- Programs can usually be completed over a period of time, allowing working professionals to pursue the certificate without having to commit a significant amount of time to school all at once
- Some jobs require more than just a certificate (programmers usually need an associate's or a bachelor's degree)
- Certificate programs don't usually prepare you to take any of the Oracle certification exams
- Programs usually don't offer many electives, limiting the areas of Java programming you can focus on
Common Courses and Requirements
The program only consists of a few courses, which might include object-oriented programming in Java, advanced Java programming structures, Java data structures and Android application development. If you don't have a solid background in programming, you may also need to take a prerequisite programming course before you can begin the Java coursework. These programs don't usually include any internship or hands-on learning experiences.
Java programming certificates can be earned via distance learning. Schools commonly offer Java courses online, and your course options are equivalent to what you'd expect from an on-campus program. The online certificate program may not be the best option for students who aren't confident in their general programming abilities.
Standing Out with This Certificate
Depending on your career goals, you may want to consider earning a professional designation. Possessing a Java certification could give you an edge over other applicants who have an education similar to yours. Oracle offers a number of relevant options for Java programmers, including the Oracle Certified Master (OCM), Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect and the Oracle Certified Professional (OCP), Java ME 1 Mobile Application Developer certifications. The OCM designation requires you to complete an approved training course, pass an exam, write an essay and finish an assignment. You can obtain the OCP credential as long as you hold a previous Java programming certification and pass the necessary exam.
Bachelor's Degrees in Java Programming
Java programming studies at the bachelor's level are typically found within the curriculum of a software development or computer science program. A bachelor's program with Java training usually includes instruction in a variety of additional computer concepts, such as networks, computer architecture and operating systems. Some schools may also offer a computer science minor that includes coursework in Java programming. Computer science and software development programs are focused on the hard sciences, so you can expect to take a variety of technical courses to go along with some math and science courses.
Pros and Cons
- Can prepare you for a variety of technical careers
- Includes additional programming and computer courses that can be beneficial to students learning Java
- Is needed for many careers that use the Java programming language
- Schools typically offer a limited number of courses specifically focused on Java, so you may not become an expert in Java without taking additional courses outside of the bachelor's program
- May not prepare you to take any Java-based certification exams
- Employers may prefer master's degree holders for some software development positions
Courses and Requirements
You'll typically begin your major requirements with some basic computer courses, including computer foundations, programming fundamentals and discrete structures. Some programs may require additional math courses in calculus, linear algebra or differential equations. Java course options may include Java programming, Java software development, data structures with Java and advanced networking with Java. Most of these bachelor's programs are strictly focused on coursework, so you won't have to complete a project or an internship.
Online Course Options
You can usually find computer science and software development programs in online formats. The coursework is typically the same as you'd find in on-campus programs. Since on-campus programs don't usually include work experiences or large projects, you probably won't miss out on anything if you opt for an online program.
Getting Ahead with This Degree
If you're looking to get ahead while still in school, you might want to join a programming club. Club members may have the opportunity to learn from guest speakers, work with other students to solve real-world problems and participate in programming contests. Clubs can offer additional networking outlets and give you a chance to meet people who have similar interests.
Since Java programmers can find work across a variety of industries, you may want to take elective courses that allow you to learn about the specific industry you hope to work in. For example, software developers who work on banking programs should have a solid understanding of finance and accounting concepts.