Best Way to Learn Java From Scratch and Become a Java Ninja

Published in the Java Developer group
So you’ve decided to find the best way to learn Java from scratch, and become a master. You’ve made the right choice: Java is a beginner-friendly programming language that you can learn on your own. But, first, you need to set your own goals and develop a learning plan. After that, you have to get into coding right away. Remember: learner’s burnout is a real thing. That’s why we focus on advice to keep you engaged and motivated on your journey. Best Way to Learn Java From Scratch and Become a Java Ninja - 1

What is Java?

Java is a high-level multi-purpose programming language. According to the TIOBE index, it’s the most popular programming language in 2019. It works on almost every platform. Its motto "write once, run anywhere" means that Java code will work the same way across all platforms. On top of that, the Android OS was mostly developed in Java. Java is also popular for game development. It has powerful engines and libraries for developing 2D and 3D PC and Android games. Minecraft and Runescape are examples of very popular games programmed in Java.

Why Do People Learn Java?

Java is a beginner-friendly programming language. It doesn’t just offer you a strong programming language to use, but it also teaches you how to think like a programmer.
  • New professional horizons for developers. Java is a general-purpose programming language suitable for many applications, like Android apps, video games, web applications, and so on. It also runs on many devices like cell phones, laptops, PCs, smart TVs, and others.

  • Java perspectives. Big tech companies like Google and Samsung are always in need of Java specialist programmers. Besides, they can work as freelance programmers in the huge Android app and gaming market.

  • Salaries in the Java industry. On average, a Java developer in the US gets paid $88K per year, according to glassdoor.com.

How to Start Learning Java?

So you want to learn Java and don’t know where to start. You can start learning it right away. No prior programming knowledge is required. Here is some advice about the way to learn Java from scratch:

Setting Goals

Your goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Don’t learn for the sake of learning; instead, work towards clear goals. In the beginning, concentrate on core concepts that will give you a solid foundation to build upon.

Planning Your Education

You can get more out of your learning time by having a plan in mind. A good plan begins with learning the Java core concepts, moves on to intermediate additional concepts, and prepares you for the more advanced aspects of mastering Java.

Learning Process Stages

It’s a good strategy to approach learning Java in stages. First, learn the core elements of the language. Then, move on to intermediate concepts and skills. After that, you’ll be able to grasp the advanced element of the language easily.

Java Core:

These are the most common skills that you need to have to start programming Java.
  • Java Syntax. Syntax is the rules of Java that you need to understand to write code that the compiler can read properly.

  • Basic concepts. For example, what are objects, classes, methods? On top of that, you need to know your 'if' statements and loops.

  • Object-oriented Programming (OOP). This is a programming paradigm where your code is centered around the idea of objects.

  • Algorithms. Algorithms are step-by-step instructions to perform a specific task. Some algorithms are more effective than others.

  • Unit Testing. A unit is the smallest testable part of your code.

Add-Ons:

These are intermediate Java-related skills that you need to have a grip on before your master Java.
  • Git. This is a version control system, a very important tool when working with a team on a large project. These systems can keep track of changes made by the members of the team.

  • SQL. It stands for “Structured Query Language”, which is a specialized programming language for managing databases with a simple syntax.

  • Javascript. Javascript is not related to Java. However, it’s one of the most prevalent programming languages today. It was the reason behind web browsers transforming into web applications platforms.

Mastery:

After grasping the core and intermediate concepts, it’s time to choose a path for mastering Java. Most Java programmers choose one of two paths:
  • Mobile technology. This is mainly related to programming for Android. It can be OS programming, game development, Android apps, etc.

  • Enterprise-level technology. This has to do with developing large server-side applications with specialized Java frameworks, such as Spring.

The Pareto Principle

The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, is the principle that states that 80% of the effects come from only 20% of the efforts. For example, 80% of your coding projects will depend on the most common 20% of the concepts of Java. Similarly, you should spend 80% of your time practicing and 20% learning theory. It’s very important when developing or applying your learning plan.

Tools and Programming Communities

Java is a very powerful programming language; however, it’s not particularly hard to learn. The fastest way to learn Java is to start coding with Java. Learn the basics and apply them to as many problems as you can. The more time you put into coding, the better you’ll get at coding. After all, practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You’ll learn better by trial and error. Even if you got the solution right from the first time, explore other solutions, and experiment with your code.

CodeGym

CodeGym has all the resources you need to learn Java in one convenient place. It offers hundreds of courses with a creative approach to learning. The learning process itself is like a game with plots and stories. You level up with each skill you learn, keeping you engaged. The courses are guided by the professional experience of many programmers. Transitioning from basic topics to complex ones smoothly, it prepares you for the working world. It also has a mini-games section, where you can create your own version of popular games and publish them for others to play.

Why do Java students choose CodeGym?

  • The course is well-structured. It contains more than 600 lessons. Each one focuses on a single topic to avoid distractions.

  • The course is 80% practice. Practice starts from the very first lesson with 1200 total tasks.

  • Strong Java community. With a large community of like-minded people, you can share your experience and ask questions to your fellow students.

  • Virtual teacher. Assesses your solutions instantly and gives recommendations to enhance your learning process.

The Path to Success: Useful Advice

So you’ve decided to go on with your Java learning journey. Staying motivated can be tough at times. Here is our top advice to overcome frustration and become a successful Java developer:

Balancing Theory and Practice

Finding the right balance between theory and practice is the key to success when learning programming. Sure, you’ll start by learning the basics of the language; however, too much theory from the start could be overwhelming and discouraging. Instead, don’t waste time and get into coding right away. Hands-on experience and trial and error are what really matter. Break complex concepts down into smaller elements. Don’t try to learn everything at once. Whenever you learn a concept, practice it until you’re sure you got it. Try to incorporate what you’ve already learned into the next task, and so on. CodeGym is created around these concepts with 80% of its course as practical tasks.

Scheduling the Learning Experience

An important element of SMART goals is that they are timed. You should have a regular learning schedule, even if it’s only one hour a day. The important part is to be consistent. Whenever you approach a new skill to learn, try to make it fit into your schedule. Stay focused, don’t jump between skills. CodeGym makes good use of scheduling. It provides you with a clear timeline, with milestones to finish along the way.

Gamification is the Best Way to Learn Java For Beginners

Of course, books are the traditional way of learning, but they don’t offer the fun and interactions of gamification. With this new approach, you’re immersed in the process of learning as a character who cares about the game, making progress, and competing with others. One of CodeGym’s courses is a game set in outer space. You play as a robot named “Amigo”, and you collect tokens called “dark matter” that you use to level up. The course consists of 40 levels as 4 quests. Each level consists of lessons, practice, and motivational articles. The best way to learn java for beginner is a gamified online course, it’s for sure! Best Way to Learn Java From Scratch and Become a Java Ninja - 2

Communicating With Experienced Developers and Students

Working with like-minded peers inspires motivation and boosts confidence. Self-studying doesn’t mean you have to work alone. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and share your experience with your fellow students. This can help you stay motivated when faced with hard tasks. CodeGym has an online community that you can be a part of. Their help section is a good place to start asking questions. It’s very convenient to move from any task to the help sections to ask questions about it. You don’t have to be an expert to answer other questions and share your tips for better learning.

Developing a Portfolio

Building an online portfolio of real-life projects is very important for finding a job. It’s easier to start working on it from the beginning step-by-step. You could build your own portfolio website, or be part of websites like Github, where you can publish your projects or work with others on their open-source projects.

To Wrap Up

Learning Java from scratch is achievable if you set your goals and follow a learning plan. Master the basics first, and then explore more complex tasks. Spend most of your time coding. To avoid frustration, try to balance theory and practice, be an active member of an online community, ask questions, and have fun along the way. Start building your portfolio early on. This will help you with finding suitable jobs in the future.

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