Programming languages come and go, but few can claim the popularity and longevity of Java. That trend will undoubtedly continue for 2022 and beyond.
Here are the top five reasons why Java is the right language to learn in 2022.
Why does Java remain so popular after almost 30 years since its inception? The short answer is that Java is a well-rounded programming language with an extensive set of libraries that can be used to solve challenging programming problems.
Java offers an unprecedented combination of performance, productivity and observability. It's the right choice for applications that require high performance and security, maintenance needs to be supported for many years into the future and an extensive developer base with in-depth knowledge of the platform.
From day one, Java was designed to be a user-friendly language that could solve complex problems within a highly networked environment, which is what modern enterprise systems require.
The Chinese market
In China, 99% of users prefer to use the internet from a mobile phone, and more often than not, the phones are powered by Java.
The internet in China developed late, so users were more likely to be surfing on a smartphone as opposed to a desktop. About 80% of China's mobile device market is dominated by Android devices, with iOS devices a distant second at around 20%. Those figures won't change significantly in 2022, according to Trendforce.
Android was built on top of Google's version of the Java programming language. The Chinese demand alone for applications that run on Android ensures an ongoing demand for Java developers in the years to come.
Popular APIs such as the Servlet and JavaServer Page specification or JSF have proved Java to be a powerful force for server-side computing. The popularity of Android and the Java Virtual Machine-based languages that power it have made Java ubiquitous in the mobile market. As enterprises move SOA-based applications to the cloud, the variety of powerful, cloud-native frameworks such as Spring Boot or the Eclipse MicroProfile make Java the right choice to develop microservices.
All the major cloud computing providers -- Amazon, Azure, Alibaba, Oracle and Google -- provide Java-based SDKs for companies to provision and manage the lifecycles of their cloud-based resources. Moreover, Java frameworks including Spring, Vaadin and Eclipse enable enterprises to create cloud-native applications that inherently comply with the tenets of the 12-Factor App.
Many organizations have heavily invested in the JVM, and experienced success both on the client-side and the server-side with Java. It makes sense that they should continue to invest in Java as they move their applications to the cloud.
Java is a mature, full-featured language with a release cadence that delivers updated versions every six months. Developers don't have to wait long to use Java's most anticipated new features.
September 2021 saw the release of Java 17, the first long-term-support release since Java 11. Developers can innovate with new language features such as Java records, or improve application performance with improved garbage collectors.
And while Java continues to innovate, the stewards of the language work hard to ensure that code written today will still compile into bytecode that would run successfully on a server that was built in 2005.
Java's commitment to backward compatibility instills confidence in the architects and designers who need to choose a language that will support their organization's needs for the long term. This is especially true for large enterprise projects, which can be maintained and modified for a long time.
The desire to remain backward compatible sometimes impedes the speed with which new features get added to the language, which means the Java language is sometimes dinged as being too slow to evolve. But most enterprises are OK with the tradeoff between cautious feature enhancement and the speed of evolution.
Few languages remain popular over a 30-year time frame. But as Java continues to innovate, continues to be adopted and continues to prove itself as an effective language for development on a variety of new programming fronts, there's no reason to think Java won't remain a dominant force in the software development world for another 30 years and beyond.
About the author
Dmytro Vezhnin is CEO and co-founder at CodeGym.cc, an interactive educational platform where people can learn Java programming language from scratch to Java Junior level.