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Table of Contents

For many tech companies, there are simply some programming languages or roles that are nigh inescapable. One excellent example is the Java developer role, specifically meant for the Java programming language. The job growth outlook for senior Java developers is forecast at a healthy 26% from 2018 to 2028, while Java as a coding language continues to sit in the top spots of programming language rankings worldwide.

Sooner or later, you’ll need to fill the demand as well. This guide serves to explore the fundamentals you need to know when hiring Java developers.

What Is Java?

First released by Sun Microsystems in 1995, Java is a programming language and also a computing platform that currently serves as the foundation of many services and applications online. Starting from humble beginnings in mobile, the use of Java quickly shifted to digital products and services and continuously proliferated in the early years of the web and Web 2.0, such that today it is ranked second in the top programming languages in the world.

With the rise of languages such as Python and Go, Java has seen some notable decline in the past few years. However, it was one of the earlier and more successful examples of a high-level language that enables programmers to code in easily-read, English-based commands. Because of this, it continues to remain constant due to simply being so widespread.

It’s clear to see how such a ubiquitous programming language continues to be in demand, and there's always a need for more proficient Java developers.

What Is a Java Developer?

Essentially a software developer with a focus on the Java programming language, Java developers are responsible for the development of software and applications using Java. As specialized programmers in Java, they collaborate with web developers, fellow software engineers, and other roles to leverage Java for the development of websites, business applications, and more.

In the same way that Java may be used throughout the entire development life cycle of a website, software, or web application, Java developers are likewise active across project pipelines. Aside from coding, they help identify and analyze relevant problems and contribute to solving them if it’s within their capacity. Organizations may require entry-level or senior Java developers, depending on their needs — it isn’t rare for a company to need both.

What Does a Full Stack Java Developer Do?

As an aside, there are also roles that call for a full stack Java developer, which is essentially a full stack engineer specialized in Java. "Full stack" refers to being involved in the entire tech stack of a project. In most web applications, the stack is composed of three layers: a user-facing front-end, a back office analogous back-end, and a database layer. In more technical terms, these layers are the presentation tier that communicates with the user, the application tier that's the logic or middle layer that processes information, and the data tier where information is stored, accessed, and analyzed.

In essence, organizations may sometimes require full stack Java developers whose responsibilities span all three layers or tiers of the tech stack.

How Much are Java Developers Paid?

According to Salary.com, the average Java developer salary in the U.S. is $97,810, though it generally goes from $82,791 at the low end to $110,299 at the high end of the spectrum. While this is a useful reference, note that salaries can vary widely due to factors such as education, certification, experience, and additional skills. Additionally, this may be a good benchmark for salaries in North America, but it will be quite different for other regions in the world.

Entry-Level Java Developer Roles and Responsibilities

As mentioned earlier, organizations often clearly delineate between entry-level or junior Java developers and senior ones. Professionals who’ve only recently finished a Java internship or are looking for their first official Java position are entry-level or junior.

An entry-level position is ideal for someone with only the minimum of prior experience (e.g. training or schooling, even internships or independent projects) as a contributor or co-op — not necessarily a previous full-time role. It's analogous to other entry-level positions across an organization in terms of experience requirements and growth potential.

Most positions advertised as entry-level will clearly be indicated as such, verbatim. In many cases, though, applicants may be met with terms such as “associate” or “assistant” Java developer instead. Of course, “junior” is the most common. When such job opportunities indicate that some experience is required, they typically mean practical, hands-on experience.

The expected roles and responsibilities of entry-level Java developers generally include:

  • The creation of user information solutions through maintaining or developing online applications
  • The definition of site objections extrapolated from user requirements
  • The design and development of user interfaces
  • The completion of programming in assistance to adjacent or senior roles
  • The integration of applications through server scripting and database architecture design
  • The creation of authoring tools and multimedia applications
  • The completion of applications development through various contributions such as troubleshooting, attending meetings, and coding
  • Supporting users through assistance tools and/or documentation

Of course, the professional obligations of any entry-level role are also expected, such as the active updating of knowledge and skills and the participation in programs and initiatives to take on more responsibilities to prepare for future roles.

Entry-Level Java Developer Salary

In the U.S., the average entry-level Java developer salary is around $80,533, with lower and upper ranges being around $53,506 and $121,211 annually.

Senior Java Developer Roles and Responsibilities

In terms of roles and responsibilities, senior Java developers perform the many functions stated above. Additionally, they'll lead their own projects and take on a bit more professional obligations that are technically outside Java development to support their growth into supervisory and leadership positions. In general, some senior-level skills sought after by companies looking for senior-level Java developers include proven proficiency and qualifications in:

  • Software design
  • Software architecture
  • Network design and implementation
  • Presenting technical information
  • Java beans and Java servlets
  • Web programming
  • Project and team management
  • Developing and managing budgets

Senior Java Developer Salary

In the U.S., the average senior Java developer salary is around $126,735, with lower and upper ranges being around $110,000 and $160,000 per year.

What Tech Stacks Do Java Developers Use?

Tech stacks have been mentioned before, and while different organizations may use distinct tech stacks, it's valuable to understand which ones Java developers are expected to be most familiar with. One such tech stack is dubbed the MEAN framework.

This tech stack is comprised of four components:

  • MongoDB as its data tier
  • Express.js at the application tier or back end
  • Angular.js at its presentation tier or front end
  • NodeJS at the cross-platform server

The MEAN framework is popular with Java developers since, in essence, it completely revolves around that programming language. All four of the above components also speak JavaScript Object Notations or JSON.

A MEAN tech stack offers benefits both within and beyond programming. Due to the use of JSON, there isn’t a lot of laborious duplication of code in a MEAN stack. Code duplication is often required in order to change it to work for different languages. With JSON, code can be copied, pasted, and modified to be customized for other uses.

The MEAN stack is also open-source and supported by a robust and widespread community. This also means that it's relatively easy to find resources and skills to support the MEAN tech stack compared to others.

MEAN isn’t the only framework that Java developers use, but it serves to illustrate and reinforce the concept of Java being used across every level of a tech stack. This means you need to optimize your recruitment process to find the right Java developers for your needs.

How Do You Find the Right Java Developers?

Due diligence is key in any complex endeavor, and hiring the top Java developers is no exception. You need to start by clearly determining your Java development needs by discussing with relevant stakeholders what your application requirements are. The project specs define your needs, so it’s critical that early on you have a crystal clear picture with which to base your hiring process.

This is especially true for Java, where every project will have a different set of technological requirements, from Java web development to application development, Java game development to system integration. And, of course, there are considerations to be made for ongoing maintenance and support.

Once you discuss with relevant stakeholders what your requirements are, you need to identify the knowledge and experience in specific industry verticals that you want to see in candidates. Even for entry-level Java developers, this may be a considerable factor, as you would ideally still want to work with a junior dev who has practical experience that involves helping out a similar project to yours.

Make sure that you clearly highlight the frameworks and technologies that candidates are expected to either have experience working with or are comfortable adjusting to. Some essential Java frameworks include JSF, Strut, Maven, and Grails — get the specs from the right person in your organization.

Java Developer Skills and Experience

Essential and commonly-sought-after Java developer skills that you should look for include:

  • The capability or experience to meet project specifications in the creation of Java applications is a bare minimum.
  • The capability or experience to address challenges specific to coding in Java, like making sure distributed applications are error-free and efficient.
  • The capability or experience to fluently code in related technologies and platforms such as Enterprise Edition, Java Script, Java Beans and Server Pages, and HTML and CSS. Of course, discuss with your CTO which ones to highlight.
  • The capability or experience coordinating with other team members in order to design, develop, test, debug, and implement Java projects.
  • A working knowledge of database and web development as well as some practical experience or know-how in software integration.

Make absolutely sure you include these in the job description.

Java Developer Keywords, Certifications, and Degrees

After a detailed discussion with the right stakeholders in your organization (such as the CTO or the appropriate project managers), it’s ideal to include relevant keywords, certifications, and degrees you require and/or prefer.

Senior Java developers, for instance, will want to scan your job descriptions for keywords that reflect your need for skills and experience in Java core, the basics of class loading mechanisms, web technologies, Java EE components like servlets, beans, and server pages, RESTful services, MVC, and JDBC. Hands-on experience in the following is also typically expected at the senior level:

  • OOPS and OODS
  • Web services, technologies, and algorithms
  • Spring MVC;
  • Relational databases
  • Complex SQL queries
  • Design patterns

Senior Java developers usually have experience with or even specialize in tools such as Spring, ORMLite, CachingTouch, Corona SDK, Weld, and possibly others like Seam, Android Studio, and Hibernate.

Is it obvious yet how important keywords are to successfully entice the right talent? If you don't clearly define which among these tools and skills you require, you won’t get responses from the right candidates. You may also be actively reaching out to the wrong people if you don’t understand that these are specifically what you need.

In terms of certifications and degrees, generally speaking, a B.S. or higher in computer science is great. But it's not entirely necessary for Java developers. In its stead, you can highlight the preference for certifications such as:

  • Certified Professional Java EE Web Component Developer
  • Certified Professional Java ME Mobile Application Developer
  • Certified Professional Java EE Business Component Developer
  • Certified Master Java SE Developer

Java Developer Skill Tests

A word of warning — skill tests, when applied improperly, only wastes everyone’s time. Discuss with the appropriate senior dev or project manager whether a skill or coding test will actually be a good measure of a candidate’s skill sets, especially for your purposes.

As a general reference, below are some good skill tests to serve as reference or starting points:

  • Core Java Online Test — Assesses capabilities in various core Java theories
  • Java MCQ Online Test — Great for determining Java architect capabilities
  • Java Practical Test — Ideal for choosing mid-level Java developers
  • Advanced Java Online Test — Ideal for choosing experienced Java developers
  • RESTful Test — Assesses skills such as RESTEasy-based REST web services protection, JAX-RS created from REST web services, RESTEasy-based REST web services, etc.
  • Liferay Online Test — Specifically tests skills relevant to Liferay portlet applications, portlet classes, and deployments in portlets.
  • Spring Boot Online Test — Made for Spring Boot annotations, Dependencies, Lines, Security, and more.
  • Java Full Stack Developer Skill Test — Applies tests appropriate for general full stack Java developers.

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Interview Questions


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Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a free trial period for hiring
developers through Revelo?

Yes, if for any reason you find the developer you hire isn't a good fit within the first 14 days - you pay nothing or we can find you a replacement at no additional cost.

How are Revelo
developers different?
Revelo offers full-time remote
developers who share or highly overlap with your work day. You get world-class
developers in Latin America who speak English and are vetted on soft and technical skills. All developers live in the same time zones as the US or adjacent due to our talent base being exclusively in Latin America.
How do I hire

Hiring a full-time developer through Revelo is a simple 3-step process. First, you tell us your hiring needs. Second, we match you to the best developers within 3 days. Third, you interview the candidates you like and hire the one you like most.

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