How to Begin Coding in Java and Write Your First Program Today

Published in the Java Developer group
How to Begin Coding in Java and Write Your First Program Today - 1Discovering how to program Java is equally tempting for both beginners and experienced programmers. As a trendy programming language, it gives you plenty of room to utilize it for various applications. Java is an object-oriented and class-based programming language. It's main feature is JVM (Java Virtual Machine) which makes it possible to write WORA applications (Write Once, Run Anywhere). This allows Java apps to work anywhere from desktops and mobile phones to clouds and the internet. It is also:
  • Versatile and reliable – those creative enough can rely on Java for many applications.
  • Backward compatibility – the great thing about Java is its suitability for older legacy systems.
  • New features added all the time – Java is a programming language that receives new features and changes over time.
Additionally, you can earn a lot of money, thanks to Java. Statistics indicate the average salary of a Java developer goes up to $102K per year. Plenty of patience is needed to study Java, as well as time and effort. In this guide, we will explain the basics of this language and analyzing things required to begin coding today.

What You Need to Learn How to Program with Java

How to Begin Coding in Java and Write Your First Program Today - 2It is crucial to be aware you can’t learn how to program with Java in a day. The process requires time, and dedication is crucial. Fortunately, we listed things to help you in the beginning.

Establish Goals

Have you ever sat down and thought what your desire is behind studying Java? It is a versatile language, and this versatility is impressive. That is why it is imperative to be clear whether you dream of becoming an Android programmer or building application servers. Setting goals and milestones can be fruitful in the beginning, too. That way, you are more aware of your progress, which guarantees extra motivation to continue.

Create a Plan and Stick to It

Analyze your schedule and pinpoint how much time you can dedicate to learning Java. Those serious about it becoming their career should invest at least three hours every day, and extra on the weekends. If you put in maximum effort, you can learn enough for the position of a Junior developer in up to six months. Next, create your learning plan carefully. Don’t forget to set up milestones and goals. Alternatively, you can sign up for an online course with a learning plan designed by professionals.

Join Online Communities

Online courses, tutorials, and books can help you to learn Java. However, you also want to find several coding communities willing to help newbies. That way, you can ask for help from an experienced developer whenever you come across a problem.

Don’t Be Afraid to Code!

The logic is simple – those who dream of learning to code should do the actual coding. The experts recommend only 20% of learning to be theoretic. Focus the remaining 80% of your learning time on solving practical tasks and actual coding.

A Step by Step Guide on How to Write Java Programs for Beginners

How to Begin Coding in Java and Write Your First Program Today - 3There is nothing better than seeing the results of your work. Check out this guide on how to write Java program, and complete your first coding project in minutes!

Step 1. Create a New File

If you are eager to start, let's create a new file for your program. Use file explorer and head to the desired directory. It can be any location on the PC. Since you will be creating a text document, how about using the My Documents directory? Once you are there, right-click and select New, and then "Text Document" from the submenu. Notice that the system created a file for you. For now, leave the name as it is. There will be an option to rename it later.

Step 2. Write the Program Template

Open the file you created in the step above. If you didn’t rename it, it should have the name "New Text Document." You can use Notepad to initiate the program or any other text editor of your preference. Enter the following text:

class MyProgram {
You have to write the curly bracket — this symbol tells the system where your command starts. It is the point where the computer will start reading your program and initiating the given tasks. Now, add two lines below and the closing curly bracket. Check out what the file contains now:

class MyProgram {

}

Step 3. Get Everything Ready to Write the Instruction

How to Begin Coding in Java and Write Your First Program Today - 4The next thing you should do is to enter the 'main' method of the program. Some people also call it a main method, but it is nothing else than telling the program your desires. The objective is to add the instruction in the line below the opening curly bracket. Write the following:

public static void main (String[] args) {

}
Please remember to add the two enter spaces and another closing curly bracket. Please take a look at the photo to see how your entire program should look.

Step 4. Write the Command

If you run the program at this point, it won’t do anything. A way to modify that is by adding the desired instructions. Imagine we want the words "Hello, world!" to show up in our command line. Here is the command we would use:

System.out.println ("Hello, world!");
You want to type these words in the line between the opening and closing brackets you added in the last step. How to Begin Coding in Java and Write Your First Program Today - 5By giving this command, you are accessing the system and asking it to "print" (write) the text in the desired output. For our how to program Java guide, we selected the command line.

Step 5. Save Your File as a Program

Remember we mentioned there would be some renaming? It is now time for that. You want to go with the "Save As…" option. At this point, you need to modify the format of the file. Press the "Save as type…" option in the pop-up window for saving. Instead of "*.txt," choose "All Files." Save your program as "MyFirstProgram.Java." There is an option to save it any way you want, but the critical thing is that it has the ".java" extension.

Step 6. Set Up Java Development Kit

Java Development Kit (JDK) is essential for running programs. Fortunately, JDK is free to download, and it doesn’t take long. You can download the latest version from the official Oracle’s website. Make sure that you pick a fitting one for your OS and PC configuration. Once the download completes, go ahead and install JDK. It is an effortless process that only takes a couple of steps.

Step 7. Prepare for Compiling

Are you ready to continue? Our upcoming task is compiling the program. You want to head to the Program Files section of your local hard drive. Here, you should identify the "Java" folder and then get into the "jdkx.x.x" folder (the "X" marks the version of the JDK). Enter the "bin" directory and highlight its path in the bar above (check out the photo). The objective is to copy the entire path (C:\Program Files\Java…"). How to Begin Coding in Java and Write Your First Program Today - 6Next, it is time to move to the folder where you saved your program file. In that directory, you should create another folder. Use the name "MyFirstProgramFolder" when saving. Now, you need to move your "MyFirstProgram.java" program to this folder. You can do this by dragging it to the folder, but be careful not to open the folder. Instead, stay in your current folder and select the "MyFirstProgramFolder" directory. Press shift and right-click while the folder is selected, and choose "Open command window here." As the instructions say, that will open the command prompt.

Step 8. It’s Compiling Time!

How to Begin Coding in Java and Write Your First Program Today - 7Compiling is a process that converts Java code (or any code) from written text into a file your computer can run. Switch to the Command window, and paste the path you copied in the last step. In case something is wrong with the path, copy it again from the specified folder. Type ' " ' once you paste the path. Next, write "\javac MyFirstProgram.java" Once finished, press Enter. The above line will start the compiling process. You will notice that the command prompt made a new line available (check the photo).

Step 9. Test Your Program!

Stay in the command prompt and hit the "Up arrow" button. You will notice the compile command appearing. Press delete to keep only the JDK tools folder. Finally, write "\java MyFirstProgram" and hit enter to see if your program is working correctly. If it does, you will notice the text "Hello, world!" appearing on the screen. Congratulations, you have completed your first Java program!

Additional Tips That Will Make You a Better Programmer

How to Begin Coding in Java and Write Your First Program Today - 8It is important to be persistent in learning Java, and that especially applies to beginners. The chances are you will face hundreds of problems while coding. It is why we are sharing tips that should help you to become a better programmer quickly:
  • Stick to small classes. The objective is to keep things as simple as possible. The code should be readable not only for you but also others that might access it.
  • Give names to the methods utilized. The chances are you will apply many different methods, especially if you are doing a complicated coding project. It is why naming them will help you to recognize each of them quickly.
  • Don’t hesitate to comment. Make things even simpler by writing in-depth explanations about your code and the intentions you had with it.

Conclusion

That wraps up our guide on how to begin coding in Java. As you can see, it is not difficult to begin your programming adventure. However, if you want to perfect your skills, you will need to continue practicing. Do you need the fastest way to learn how to program Java? The answer lies in joining the CodeGym Java course. Forget about tons of theory; this course offers you 80% practice-based lessons. That way, you can quickly become a good programmer while having fun in the process. Give it a shot today, and discover why many programmers out there chose this as their first Java course!
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