How to become a Java developer and land a high paying job

  • Glassdoor has ranked Java Developer as the Best Job in the US based on earning potential and job satisfaction.
  • Chris Bielak, senior software engineer at Saggezza, shared his tips for landing a high paying job.
  • He looks for candidates who speak through their coding process, are adaptable, and ask questions about the culture.

Hottest role on Glassdoor’s 2021 list of “50 Best Jobs in America“is a Java developer. The job search site, which hosts more than 10,000 job offers for Java Developer positions, reported that those in that position earned a median base salary of $ 90,830 and ranked it 4.2 out of 5 in terms of job satisfaction.

A popular programming language (ranked in the top three last year by Microsoft-owned software company GitHub), Java is used in various industries like the backbone of software applications, websites, databases, etc. . The object oriented language was developed by Sun Microsystems, which is now owned by the industry titan Oracle.

Chris Bielak, who works with Fortune 500 clients as a senior software engineer at a global IT consulting firm Saggezza, told Insider that since entering the field almost a decade ago, he has seen the work of a Java developer evolve rapidly and permeate various industries.

“Overall, I think the tech giants shaped the way programmers were viewed – less like button-up and tie-up businessmen and more fun,” Bielak said. “Now the financial companies are starting to get started and a lot of highly skilled developers are thriving in the banks that offer them this culture. He added that 2020 has become an “unintentional dry test” for what would happen if his entire industry got to work from home.

Bielak’s father was a software developer, which inspired a “generational love of coding that I inherited,” he said. He wrote his first program in second year.

After graduating with a computer science degree from Rutgers University, he worked as a software developer at a financial company and became entrenched in the


banking industry

for the next seven years, land developer positions at leading companies including JP Morgan and Bank of America. He said he made over $ 130,000 a year in previous roles.

“It was tough, keep in mind, but nothing ever extinguished my love of learning,” Bielak said.

In 2019, he found his niche in the tech industry at Saggezza, which gave him not only the laid-back culture he wanted, but also a coveted opportunity as a senior software engineer.

“I really enjoy my role, and senior management is very passionate about making sure Java developers are well looked after – planning hackathons, doing mock interviews with high school kids to get them interested in coding,” Bielak said. He added that Saggezza even covers the cost of certifications for staff developers.

To help put aspiring Java developers on a similar path to success, Bielak shared with Insider what it takes to dive into this realm.

Search for resources online and practice, practice, practice

If you want to become a Java developer but don’t have any experience in the language, Bielak said there are several routes you can take.

“Sometimes I feel like programming is treated as that impenetrable realm, reserved for mathematicians and the like, where in reality the only skills you need are the ability to think critically and the desire to think hard. ‘learn,’ he said.

Start by watching a few YouTube videos, then look for some workout maintenance issues. He also recommended reviewing Robert Martin’s “Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship” and e-learning platforms such as Coursera and Udemy. Reddit also has a very robust Java Developer Community who shares ideas and comments on coding and the profession in general, he said.

“Understand the basics and try to find a small project or goal to motivate yourself,” he said. “If Java seems too overwhelming to you, take a look at Python, a very user-friendly language for someone just starting out.”

He also believes that beginners should spend a lot of time perfecting their new craft, using websites like HackerRank or code bootcamps like Skylab Coders Academy Where Alchemy Code Lab practice.

“If you really want to get into software development, it’s definitely worth taking one,” he said of coding bootcamps.

Talk about your process in interviews

Bielak estimated that he helped hire at least 15 successful candidates over the years.

“My role is to vet the candidates and report their coding skills, and if they pass my test, we send them to the client for further interview,” he said.

The senior software engineer said his favorite candidates – those who are typically hired – are the talkers.

“It helps more than people think,” he said. “Have you ever had a time when you had a problem, and as you explained to someone else, you found the solution? This principle is an absolute one when it comes to CoderPads. only the interviewer will understand how you are thinking (and maybe be able to nudge you if you go in the wrong direction), but saying things out loud makes them much clearer in your mind. “

Balance coding prowess with adaptability

When selecting candidates, Bielak said he looks for four core foundational and essential soft skills – which he calls the “four pillars of an academic developer.”

The first pillar is knowledge.

“Of course, you have to understand the fundamentals of the language you are using,” he said, adding that Oracle releases a new version of Java every six months.

Java 8 is dominant in the industry, but it won’t be forever, ”he said. “Learn for yourself what each new version of Java brings to the table, and you’ll have a huge advantage when most of the industry finally progresses. “

The second pillar is coding prowess.

“Coding is about more than making things work, it’s about making them work properly and efficiently, and making sure that whatever you do will stand the test of time,” he said. -he declares. He added that he is looking for developers who wonder if the developer after them would be able to seamlessly take the code they wrote and evolve it when hundreds, thousands or millions of people had it. simultaneously use.

The third pillar is kindness.

“You are going to work as a team, and you are realistically going to spend most of your time with the members of that team,” he said. “You have to be friendly, concise and most of all nice.”

Finally, developers need adaptability. No matter how good you are at your craft, Bielak said, eventually you will come across technology or software that you’ve never seen before or don’t understand.

“You can search online, you can order a book on the topic, you can find an online course explaining it, but most of all, you don’t have to fold,” he said.

Consider industries with growing online demand

Java developers are in high demand across the board, Bielak says, but banks and financial services companies are particularly hungry for talent.

“COVID-19 has accelerated many digital transformation projects, forcing companies in the sector to reassess their online presence and infrastructure,” he said. “Likewise, with the rise of online banking services, there is serious pressure on incumbents to move quickly. Sharp Java developers are essential for survival to ensure that these banks are able to compete in an increasingly digital economy.

Bielak shared that Saggezza has been hiring for over 30 developer positions in Dallas. It is certain that even once these positions are filled, other “huge waves of hiring” will be on the horizon.

He recommended keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date so recruiters can find you easily. If you want to increase your chances of getting a job, educate yourself about the culture during the interview, he added.

“I am never asked about it, even though it is one of the most crucial aspects of a job,” he said. “Asking someone who is already working there is the best way to gauge whether you will be happy in this business as well. “

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