As Orson Scott Card once said, “Every person is defined by the communities she belongs to.” Now, when he said that, he probably wasn’t thinking of Java communities, but we’re pretty sure the saying still holds. For any Java developer — whether you’re eagerly awaiting the results of your first loop or you just wrote your tenth app — communities are extremely important. They’re not just a way of connecting to other developers (though if you spend most of your days stuck in front of your computer screen, that might be important); they can also help you learn helpful new skills, brush up on old ones, and solve the seemingly unsolvable bugs that are holding you back. There are dozens of Java communities out there (not to mention the hundreds of general programming ones), but here are a couple of our favorite communities. They’re geared towards a variety of levels so, no matter how experienced you are, there’s one on this list that’s right for you.
While you may first recognize Oracle as a great place to purchase data services, they also host an extremely vibrant Java community. On their Java homepage, they offer a variety of options: joining a Java User Group (JUG), hearing Java “evangelists” discuss their experience, getting paid for technical articles, and more. They also have a wide variety of resources, including reviews and explanations of all Java products, and some helpful forums, demos, videos, and tutorials for those who are just starting out. If that isn’t enough to attract you, they also have dozens of APIs for each version of Java. What are you waiting for?
This is the sort of site that Java programmers dream about. If something has anything to do with Java, it’s on JavaWorld. If you’re a beginner, you can learn all about Java’s platform, security, and testing, and read up on all of the news about Java’s newest releases. They also have a helpful section for those who are interested in learning to code a bit better. In addition to all that, they have some helpful tips and articles about mobile and app development and, for some more veteran programmers, a whole docket of open source projects you can look into. If you’re still not satisfied, head to their ‘White Papers’ section and get to work.
Whether you’re an enterprising Java developer looking for work or a company looking to hire a Java rockstar, Toptal is the place to go. On their resources page, they have a helpful and extensive list of potential interview questions and acceptable answers to help you determine how talented the Java programmer you’re thinking of hiring is (if you’re a developer, it can’t hurt to read up on these, too — you never know when the answers will come in handy!). If you’re neither looking for work or looking to hire, this is still a great place to check in and make sure you’re on the cutting edge. You should also check out the Toptal Engineering Blog, which covers everything from freelancing to the newest updates in Java programming. Get started!
If you’re not in New York, this probably isn’t for you, but there’s sure to be an alternate meetup group somewhere nearby. If you do happen to be in the city, this is one of our favorite meetup groups to frequent. We spend so much time locked into our screens that we sometimes forget that there’s an entire world of human contact out there, and that plenty of those humans are talented programmers. There’s nothing quite like being able to discuss a thorny software issue or cool new feature with a bunch of like-minded, high-energy, talented developers. It’s also a great way to network to find future jobs, get help solving any bugs that you might encounter, and find inspiration!
In addition to having some helpful articles and videos, Java Programming Forums is obviously all about forums. There are forums for anything — tips for a new app, debugging a pesky piece of code, networking, and more — and all you have to do is log on. Whatever your issue is, the odds are pretty good that someone on the forum will be able to give you a hand.
These are just a few of the endless resources open to you as a Java programmer. If you’re an old hand, you might be familiar with a few of them, but it can’t hurt to go back and check them out again. The best thing about these communities (with the obvious exception of meetups) is that they’re mobile; no matter where you go, you can stay in touch with a vast web of programmers who are willing to help you purely out of passion for the art you share. There aren’t many opportunities for the wider web development community to get a little sappy, but this is definitely one of them!