The Best Way to Learn Java Programming Language

By The Best Way to Learn Java Programming Language

Java is simple to learn when you know other programming languages like C and C++. However, some people argue that Java Programming language is difficult to learn while others think it takes the same learning curve similar to other programming languages like Python, PHP, and Ruby on Rails, etc. 

Java is a prevalent programming language. It is very stable, versatile, reliable, and compatible and runs on many platforms without modifying its code. Java runs on billions of device, and Google Android uses Java as its primary Programming language. Therefore, there are a couple of reasons why you should learn Java.

It can be tricky to learn Java because you will encounter complex concepts like objects, polymorphism, inheritance, etc. Nevertheless, there are more straightforward concepts like methods, class, variables, etc. which will make your learning journey easy. Java changes rapidly from JDK 1 to JDK 11 with new features added in each version.

Depending on the time you invest in learning the language and the mindset you take will make Java learning curve smoother for you. Take time to understand the terminology and do many practices. At some times also teach your friends to improve your technical skills. I spend time writing programming blogs to help new programmers out there.

I am writing to all Java beginners and even programmers who want to reach a particular programming level. You'll realize the best ways to learn the Java programming language. If you tried learning Java and failed or you are starting now, then this article is specially written for you.

These are the five best ways to learn Java successfully and still keep going even if the journey seems complicated. Along the way, you will learn materials to help you learn Java in the right way.

Learn the Java Language Basics

The most effective way to learn Java or any programming language is starting at the beginner's level for the self-explanatory reason. Don't expect to learn all the java basics in a day. Read these links to help you understand Java.

  1. oracle java docs
  2. ibm java tutorials

The first time you read, you may feel wrong or right but not give up just read many times. Also, find other materials by a quick Google search.  The second time you read the documents you will relate them, for instance, a class is a group in which methods and attributes are defined. You can connect this to real-world entities like a person, car, etc. You will understand objects – an essential unit of object-oriented programming, message passing – which are ways in which objects communicate, etc.

Carefully learn object-oriented programming concepts because Java is an object-oriented programming language. Understanding these basics will help you realize the critical components of java code and the reason behind the final structure of the java code. A strong foundation of Java will unfold the underlying concepts of Java programming language 

Practice some Small Java Programs

Once you are familiar with most basic concepts and terminologies, then welcome to the second step. This step involves practicing what you read in the first step. You will write simple programs to practice the new skills you learn in step one. You will put the new skills into test by executing some small java programs like Hello Word, Simple Calculator, etc. Find the best editor for you. Practice by writing java on Javafiddle.

Keep in mind that writing your first program successfully is going to be tough for you. But the good thing is that once you write it correctly, you will not encounter the same difficulty in the next series programs.

Once you can print "Hello Word" and your name on the screen now let us try a more ambitious java program. Kindly note it does not need any advanced programming skills. We write a calculator program that adds, subtracts, multiplies and divides two numbers. Since you know the outcome of your calculations, then you will determine if your program produced the correct results.

Begin by writing down the steps of the program, maybe user inputting two numbers and the operand. Then the computer does the calculation and prints out the answer. This method of designing the steps, inputs, process, and outputs of a program will make more sense when dealing with large systems.

Then verify your code to check everything is written well. Check for semicolon (;) at the end of every statement and every word is written correctly. Remember, Java is case sensitive. It is not a crime if you don't know how to check the code by yourself. It may take a while, so freaking out at the inability to understand your creation certainly won't help! Just run the program, and the compiler will identify errors if any.

If you are not able to write your first program successfully, just Google, remember Google is your friend. Many programming forums will help you get solutions when stack and a good example is , which I mentioned in my article. Write programs several times because practice makes perfect. Usually, try writing programs by yourself before finding answers on Google.

 The following is a list of simple java programs which you can practice and teach yourself. Use any suitable IDE (Integrated Development Environment), a software application that provides tools to software developers. I recommend NetBeans.

  • Print a list of numbers (1 to 100) each in a new line.
  • Find the maximum and minimum between two numbers.
  • Swapping two numbers.
  • Create a three-by-three tic-tac-toe program.
  • Create a program to find total scores and average scores from five subjects.
Balance Between Theory and Practice

Avoid too much theory at the expense of little practice. You will learn Java through many exercises. You fail you try again until you learn every concept. This is not to say you should ignore the theory part, and some theory is useful to help you build a knowledge foundation for yourself. As you apply concepts on some exercises, then things will start clicking. Don't read too many books or try to understand everything at once. Read a little and then write programs many times. Many Java Programming courses are focused on 80% practice and 20% theory. In theory, you need to understand Java syntax, OOP, inheritance, multithreading, etc.

After solving many Java Programming tasks, then you will learn the language , and you will have gained experience to help you write advanced Java Programs.

Create Advanced Java Programs

Now you have mastered Java Programming basics, you have written many small programs that are good to take you to this step, creating advanced java programs. I suggest that you learn some Java APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and emphasize java collections and java IOs. There are many inbuilt classes and interfaces involved in these APIs. Don't re-invent the wheel by creating your logic, look for already existing APIs and methods for doing a particular job. Find solutions within these APIs only since your goals is to familiarize with these Java APIs.

For example, we can use the Scanner class to get inputs from the user and print on the screen. Here we use the IO java APIs, and it is pretty simple. We can use java collections to sort some items in the arrays. Please find examples where you can use these and more Java APIs to write advanced Java programs. Remember, Google is your friend. Here I give some examples of such programs.

  • Read file content from the file system and print it on the console.
  • Create a new file and write data onto it.
  • Read data from a URL and search through it.
  • Store elements in a list and loop over it.
  • Use HashMap to store key-value pairs.

The more the programs you build at this step, the more the confidence you gain. Once you are competent in using these APIs, you can now start creating small projects and monetize them by selling to people within your locality. You can also join freelancing website like Fiverr and do programming Jobs where you will make many dollars

Read my article on how to make money as a software developer

Keep Practicing, and you will be successful

Learning Java is a repetitive task, just like any other. Watch many video tutorials and practice by writing many programs. Java Programmers want to become deeply involved in the language until they understand things. Be patient with yourself and appreciate the journey as a programmer. Remember Rome was not built in a day. After making sure that you are a confident Java Programmer, like me, you can start helping others like you who are enthusiast programmers.

Watch my tutorial on the evolution of Java and many more.

Build applications so that you can put together all that you have just learned. Java is, and you can create desktop applications, web applications, and mobile applications. Choose the appropriate application for you and build it to completion. I found it easy to learn Java while building desktop apps with databases because I could be able to see how my program could interact with MySQL database.

Finally, find people who want to learn Java or know less about the language and help them out. The best way to learn is by sharing whatever knowledge you have with others. I hope you know is where you can provide answers asked by other programmers. When you start learning about mistakes others are making, it just opens up your mind in various directions and improves your thought processing capabilities. You should keep doing this, of course when you have time, and you appreciate the results when getting mature in Java programming.

The critical thing is to be patient. Everyone learns differently, therefore, find your best way to learn.  Success lies in the amount of time you will invest in learning the language. Make mistakes and learn from the mistakes.

Happy learning!! May you become a happy Java programmer…

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Eric Murithi Muchenah

Life is beautiful, time is precious. Make the most out of it.