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Poll Result: Developers Still Recommend Learning Java

Posted by editor on January 17, 2011 at 12:47 PM PST

Despite all the commotion and publicly displayed displeasure regarding recent events in the Java world, developers who participated in last week's poll overwhelmingly recommend learning Java to developers who are seeking to add a language to their programming repertoire. A total of 331 votes were cast, with the following results:

Would you recommend learning Java to today's college students and developers who want to add to their skill set?

  • 29% (97 votes) - Absolutely!
  • 54% (178 votes) - Yes, but I wouldn't advise knowing only Java
  • 4% (13 votes) - Maybe
  • 7% (24 votes) - I'd warn them against learning Java, due to recent events
  • 4% (13 votes) - Absolutely not!
  • 1% (3 votes) - I don't know
  • 1% (3 votes) - Other

Of course, this is not a scientific poll, so we cannot conclude that the same percentages would occur had all the millions of Java developers responded to this question. Still, it's remarkable that 83% of the participants in the poll agree that learning Java is worth the time and effort, both for today's college students and for more experienced developers who are looking to add a new language to their professional resume.

Looking at it another way -- 83% of the people who voted believe that Java is going to be viable as a source of income for quite a long time into the future, I'd say at least for the next 15 years or so. You certainly wouldn't advise another developer or someone in college to learn something that was going to disappear, as the foundation of a job or consulting work, any time soon.

In this, I agree with the 83%. Java's installed base is so enormous that there should be plenty of work for Java developers in the next decade or two. And, the language and JVM continue to be extended in important directions that reflect emerging requirements to solve problems that exist today that did not exist 15-20 years ago. A language that is growing and adapting to a mutating set of problems has a bright future, in my opinion; and this is especially so if the functional growth and adaptation is occuring in a language with a large installed code base, and millions of active developers. What language is a V.P. of Development or CTO going to select for a big new project? The latest fad? I doubt it.

Not everyone agreed that it's worthwhile to learn Java, though. More than 10% of the voters would advise college students and other developers against learning Java at this time, with 7% citing recent events as the reason. Another 4% gave learning Java a solid "Maybe" rating.

54% would recommend learning Java, but advise against knowing only Java. Here, we can't really know if the advice is just common sense hedging (who can know the future, so don't "put all your eggs in the same basket"), or if it reflects on Java's current state.

Anyway, I'd like to thank Alexander Romanenko for suggesting this poll to me. It was a good one!

New poll: Java's best days are...

Our new poll continues the recent theme of asking where people think Java stands today. The poll asks you to complete the sentence Java's best days are... -- with the options being "Ahead of it," "Right now," or "Behind it" (or "I don't know"). Voting will be open for the next week.

If you have an idea for a poll, please contact me. I'm always interested in putting a wide variety of questions to our community.

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