From Junior to a good Java developer: a roadmap for beginners
9 Jan 2023

Oleksandr Reshetnik has been training novice Java developers in the EPAM team for the last 7 years. In this article, Oleksandr shares valuable insights and a detailed educational roadmap for everyone who takes the first steps in Java programming.

Strong communication skills, good command of the English language, and a solid foundation for learning a programming language (in our case, Java) are a must for a beginner. By the way, communication skills may somewhat compensate for the insufficient technical skills at the start. Keep in mind that English proficiency increases more slowly than technical skills improve. Hence, the main advice is to learn English consistently and tenaciously.

Here are more basic recommendations from Oleksandr:

  1. Follow the current roadmap for learning Java.
  2. Use reliable books to learn basic concepts.
  3. Practice constantly.

While it is impossible to make a universal roadmap, this one is a good starting point. Of course, with time and experience, you will customize and adjust the map to your needs (finding the right way is also one of the main challenges for a beginner).

 A detailed Java Roadmap is available via the link.

The main secret of a successful work of a Java developer is professional literature.

If taking the first steps, the book by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates, Head First Java, is a perfect companion.

Later, proceed with Core Java by Cay S. Horstmann, Java: A Beginner's Guide by Herbert Schildt, or Java: The Complete Reference. As your confidence grows, try more challenging books.

To become a professional developer, one must be well-versed in Gradle and Maven dependency management systems. Check out  Maven Quick Start: A Fast Introduction to Maven by Example on Udemy and move towards Tim O'Brien's Maven: The Complete Reference for in-depth understanding. Take the Learning Gradle course on LinkedIn and then feel free to study the official documentation — Gradle Guides.

An integral part of a developer's job is working with databases, so you'll need SQL skills. I recommend beginning with the book Getting Started with SQL by Thomas Nield.

So, the resources for training are:

Remember that it takes time to publish a book, so it might not reflect the most recent advancements in the subject. Nevertheless, the books will be the core of your studying, regardless of the technology stack you might be learning. Start with books for beginners, and once you’ve gained some experience, progress to professional literature and advanced courses.

What else should you focus on?

A true professional writes good code and knows how to use programming to solve problems. If intending to become one, get acquainted with version control systems (Git, SVN), REST, HTTPS, web (basic, SSO, OAuth, JWT), data structures, Scrum, Kanban, and algorithms.

To make the most out of learning, put the knowledge into practice; otherwise, most of what you've learned will be forgotten under the pressure of new information. Here are a few resources Oleksandr suggests for practicing:

Once mastered the fundamentals, move further along the roadmap to web frameworks, CLI tools, databases, etc. Put each new learned tool to use. One can gain valuable experience from participating in open-source projects. For example:

Oleksandr also recommends starting a pet project appropriate for your level of expertise.

Becoming a professional requires a lot of time and unwavering motivation. But with the right road map and an effective learning strategy, you make it. Remember, practice makes perfect!

Useful resources

More about SQL, Maven, databases and cloud:

About Spring Boot:

Spring Boot is a popular Java framework designed to simplify the development of Java applications, particularly web applications. It is built on top of the Spring framework and provides a streamlined approach to building production-ready applications with minimal configuration.