Jobs in Java programming can be very diverse. If you want to know the differences between several Java developer roles, read our blog post!
With this article, I want to help junior Java developers, recruiters, and hiring managers understand what Java developers do and what types of jobs in Java programming exist.
"They develop," anyone could say, but that doesn't help too much.
I will show you in this blog post that the term Java developer in itself just means a person working with the Java programming language, nothing more. If you are looking for a Java developer for a project or an open job, you will need to know a lot more than that.
Here at Bluebird, we say that it's not enough to know what the job title is, and it's not enough to know the job description. You need to know exactly what the Java developer will be required to do, including the environment they will use and the project they will work on. Specifically, what they will be doing and what the technology stack will be. Without all this, you would only be able to find Java developers who deal with Java. But the goal is to find the Java developer best suited for the project or job. You want a person who can perform the given project tasks with a high level of expertise and is familiar with the technologies and tools involved in the project or job.
I hope that I will shine a light on the diversity of Java developers, and after reading this article, you will have a more complete picture of what Java can be used for and what kinds of Java jobs exist.
Main Types Of Jobs In Java Programming
Java Developer/Java Programmer
This job title covers almost all Java developer positions. This title is, therefore, often used in job advertisements on its own. But it is not specific enough so you need to know much more than this.
"Do you have a good Java candidate?", asks one recruiter from another.
"Fortunately, I do!"
"How lucky I am! I will forward their CV to my client! Thank you!"
Now, what will be the result? It's like hiring a good architect to build an office. Oh, they only design detached houses? No problem. Really? Of course not, there is a significant difference between the two.
Rather than following the above example, it's worth looking at what framework the Java developer needs to be familiar with, what tools will be used on the project, and what the domain is (e.g., finance, manufacturing, healthcare). These attributes will help determine if the Java developer might be suitable for the project or job.
Generally, a Java developer's duties include writing, testing, and maintaining Java applications.
Java Web Developer
The job of a Java web developer is to design and develop web applications. Frameworks such as Spring, Struts, or JavaServer Faces (JSF) are often used for this. Web applications can be of many kinds: from simple static web pages to dynamic web services, Java can be used for everything.
The task of the Java web developer is to integrate front-end technologies and work closely with front-end developers. An exception may be made if the web Java developer is a full-stack developer and is fully proficient in front-end development and backend development as well. In the recent past, we have most often encountered the Angular+Java combo for full-stack Java development positions.
Most of the time, experience is required to manage databases, but often it is enough that they can manage database connections and standard SQL operations (select, insert, update, and delete). Using JDBC could be a nice way to connect databases, but there are other options as well. Web applications that need a database often use the Hibernate framework. You can learn more about Hibernate in our blog post on Java frameworks.
Don't forget the interfaces. These usually require RESTful API or SOAP knowledge, as these are commonly used in most implementations.
An Android developer is a mobile developer who develops for the Android operating system. (Actually, it has been created by Google.) The developers collaborate with the designer and other team members (project manager, testers, and others). Android developers are often also involved in the design of a mobile application.
The Android Java developer uses the Android SDK (Android Software Development Kit). This helps them easily access the camera, GSP, etc., on the phone.
Android Studio (as an IDE) is a popular choice for Android development projects because it is a very usable IDE. If you want to know more about Java IDEs, read our article about them!
JUnits, Espresso, or other testing frameworks are often used for testing.
An Android developer is also responsible for preparing the app for release, which includes configuring build versions, signing the app with the appropriate key, and deploying it to the Google Play Store.
Some Java Mobile Developers may work with frameworks like Xamarin or Cordova that allow Java to be used to write applications that run on multiple mobile platforms, including Android and iOS.
Let's explore other jobs in Java programming!
Java EE (Enterprise Edition) Developer
The Java EE (Enterprise Edition) developer specializes in developing large-scale and reliable business applications using Java EE technology. Development with JEE technology is usually created for companies, mostly medium and large ones.
Since we are talking about corporate IT applications, the business specification part is usually performed by other IT experts (like business analysts or system analysts). JEE developers can also participate in the meetings and clarify requirements to understand the application as deeply as possible.
Not to mention architecture planning, in which a senior JEE developer can have a really massive part.
Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), Servlets, JavaServer Pages (JSP), and Java Message Service (JMS) mostly appear or may appear on the technology side of these projects.
JPA (Java Persistence API) is mostly used to manage the application's relational database for development. Their tasks are mostly limited to basic operations (select, insert, update, and delete).
The technology stack often includes the Java API for RESTful Web Services (JAX-RS) and Java API for XML Web Services (JAX-WS). The most common Java frameworks for JEE applications are Spring, Hibernate, or JSF (Java Server Faces). JUnit and Mockito are frequently used test tools for testing.
When developing enterprise applications, the developer can also participate in deploying the application to the application server. I could mention Apache Tomcat, JBoss, or GlassFish here, as these are the most common application servers.
Developers can mostly find Java EE projects in these domains: finance, telecommunications, healthcare, or e-commerce, because these are the ones where a fortress could be needed. And yes, this technology is robust, like a fortress.
Embedded Java Developer
Embedded Java Developers specialize in writing Java applications for embedded systems. These are hardware systems (e.g., control systems or parts of a larger system) that are designed to perform specific tasks. The point is that these systems contain processors like computers, but they are rather just hardware for concrete tasks to do.
Embedded Java Developers are responsible for designing and programming the whole functionality of the embedded system, but in the meantime, they need to handle the hardware constraints carefully (like memory limits, CPU speed, etc.). For this reason, embedded Java developers usually work together with hardware engineers. Java developers have to write code that uses as little memory and processing power as possible.
Understanding and handling the communication protocol is crucial, as is maintaining and updating the Java software regularly.
These kinds of Java developers could be found mostly in the automotive, manufacturing, and telecommunications industries.
Java UI/UX Developer
A Java UI/UX Developer is a specialist. Their job involves creating and implementing the UI (user interface) and the UX (user experience) for Java applications. These apps could be desktop applications, or web applications as well.
Java UI/UX developers work with Java GUI frameworks such as JavaFX, or Swing. For UI/UX, it is crucial to deeply understand the user requirements, the user personas, user journeys, and so on.
As Java UI/UX developers, they are in charge of the design (such as the layout and look-and-feel) of the application, and they are responsible for creating wireframes and design mockups.
To implement the UI, they use Java GUI libraries and frameworks such as JavaFX, Swing, and SWT. Their task is to create a well-designed custom UI.
Ensuring that the application is user-friendly is one of their major tasks, as is keeping the app understandable and easy to use.
Certainly, app testing and feedback gathering are important parts of the job, too.
Java UI/UX Developers work with software development teams, design agencies, or as freelancers. This role requires technical skills in Java and design skills, including a good understanding of design principles and user psychology.
Java Game Developer
Java Game Developers make computer games, and I am sure that among the best game developers, there are also fanatic gamers.
I have a son who loves to play, and when I asked, "What are you going to be when you grow up?" the answer came immediately: game developer.
Obviously, expertise and experience are the most important, but if someone turns their hobby into their job, then we can be sure their motivation is not going to be in short supply (at least for a while).
Java game developers often use game engines, such as libGDX, jMonkeyEngine, or LWJGL (Lightweight Java Game Library). We wrote a separate blog post about these Java game engines. Read it. It's worth it.
Computer games are basically 2D or 3D games and often require deep physics knowledge.
Developers must be able to collaborate with graphic designers. To develop the game, the game developer must also understand the purpose, rules and details of the game.
Java Game Developers can work on various games, from small indie games to large-scale commercial games. They can work in game development studios as employees, or freelance developers.
Java Cloud Developer
Java Cloud Developers design and develop cloud-based services. The advantage of cloud computing is that it is scalable and often cheaper than traditional solutions.
Cloud developers should be familiar with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or Microsoft Azure. This means they can manage, scale, and set up the platform's entire service portfolio. Knowledge of the microservice architecture, containerization, and horizontal scaling is typically expected from Java Cloud developers.
Spring Boot or Micronaut (as Java frameworks) are usually a must, as is database knowledge and experience, whether SQL or NoSQL.
Cloud-based systems mostly use a DevOps approach. Therefore CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery), IAC (Infrastructure as Code), and DevOps knowledge are considered basic requirements.
Java Cloud Developers work in various industries. This is because an increasing number of businesses are migrating their applications to the cloud or creating new applications as a service. The role of cloud developer requires a good understanding of Java, cloud services, and often DevOps practices.
Java API Developer
A Java API (Application Programming Interface) Developer is a specialized role that involves developing and managing APIs using Java. They design and develop APIs that allow other applications to interact with their software and vice versa. This includes deciding what functionality to expose, how to structure the API, and which data formats to use.
Experience with Spring Boot and RESTful APIs is usually required for Java API developers because they are in charge of writing the server-side logic that handles requests and responses. They usually must interact with databases to manipulate data (select, insert, update, and delete).
Security is a top priority when creating APIs. Java API Developers implement authentication and authorization protocols (such as OAuth or JWT), ensure data is encrypted when necessary, and protect against common web vulnerabilities.
Java API Developers typically work on web applications or mobile applications that require server-side functionality and can be found in every industry/domain. This role requires strong Java programming skills, a good understanding of web protocols and standards, and knowledge of API best practices.
I hope you liked my new blog post about jobs in Java programming. Please check out other blogs about Java: