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Java: Learn Once, Work Anywhere

There’s no escaping Java.

Ninety-seven per cent of the world’s enterprise desktops, billions of mobile phones, who-knows-how-many multimedia devices and even endless servers are testament to the ‘write once, run anywhere’ philosophy. Which is great news if you’re a Java developer looking for a new tech job in Dublin, London, Berlin…

Software engineers combine team skills with programming proficiency to improve their tech career opportunities. Try working on these five skills:

Think different, work different, be different

Languages as popular as Java will always attract ‘journeyman’ developers – the ones that choose it and stick with it because it means job security. While you can’t blame anyone for prioritising their job prospects, don’t fall into the trap of losing interest in what you do. Take responsibility for your career choice and stand out by gaining deep understanding of Java; be passionate about what you do and spend time on personal projects that show your enthusiasm. You’ll not only get better job satisfaction, you’ll improve your chances of landing software development roles that really fire your imagination.

Be objective

This is related to the first point about ‘journeymen’. There are plenty of procedural, cut ‘n’ paste Java ‘developers’ out there. If you want to stand out, develop an understanding of Object Oriented Programming beyond awareness of the principles and patterns. Put some work into analysis and design – and how you can apply them. Understand the benefits any particular principle offers and be able to talk about how you would apply those principles when you’re coding.

Port your skills

If you’re setting your sights on working for a larger, global company, it’s time to work on your portlet development skills. Portal servers are growing in popularity with larger enterprises trying to manage growing, diverse application portfolios. Java engineers capable of creating portlet based applications and using the Portlet API will be an attractive prospect for many hiring managers. There’s a nice introduction to portlet programming here .

Build things, solve problems

Java isn’t famous for its brevity. Showing short samples of code to tech hiring managers won’t be enough to show them how good you really are. Equally, it can be difficult to show your true skills in an intensive assessment situation. Be able to show tech hiring managers and recruiters something you built – whether that’s a personal project or something you’ve done at work that you’re allowed to share.

While you’re at it, write code and build things that reflect the kind of job you want. It’s the easiest and best way to take your tech career in the direction you want it to go.

Learn to write

You can code, but can you write? Never underestimate the value of good documentation when it comes to tech career advancement. Your ability to track, explain, justify and summarise the projects you’re working on will win you a lot of friends (and kudos) on the business side of the fence. Which is often the path to promotion and recognition.

*Okay, maybe more than once.

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