"Should you I learn Java?"
That's a question you may find yourself asking whether you're new to programming or you're a seasoned developer who somehow has not yet worked with Java. It's also an increasingly pertinent question, given that Java's popularity is slowly slipping, and the language arguably feels more and more dated.
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I can't tell you whether or not you should learn the Java programming language as of 2022. But I can tell you three reasons why Java still matters, and three reasons why it may be a slowly dying language.
Why Java Is Still Relevant
Let's start with the advantages that Java enjoys in the world of modern programming.
1. Massive Java codebases
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Probably the best reason for learning Java in 2022 is the simple fact that a great deal of code has already been written in Java, and someone will need to maintain and update that code for decades to come.
This means that learning Java is a great way to make yourself relevant to employers who need Java programmers. Whether or not you actually think Java is a good language to code in, the fact is that Java codebases — like those written in FORTRAN or COBOL decades ago — are not going anywhere. By extension, neither are jobs for Java programmers.
2. Java runs anywhere
Part of the reason why Java became so popular when it debuted in the 1990s was that it's a very platform-independent language. Typically, you don't have to change your code much at all to get the same Java program to run on Windows and Linux, for example.
This advantage makes Java a strong contender as a general-purpose programming solution. Although newer languages (like Go) are also relatively platform-independent, Java arguably remains the gold standard of programming languages that let you write your code once and run it anywhere.
3. Java is very modular
Another factor that drove Java's popularity when it appeared decades ago was its heavy focus on modularity. Although Java certainly wasn't the first object-oriented language, it was probably the first one to become massively popular.
Java's modularity and object-oriented architecture remain selling points for the language today because they make Java a good solution for developers who want to reuse code across a business. Java makes it especially easy to avoid having to build each new app from the ground up, and instead borrow from existing codebases to create new ones faster.
Why You (Maybe) Shouldn't Learn Java Programming Language
On the other hand, you can make a cogent argument for why Java is increasingly not worth learning.
1. Java is becoming less popular
First and foremost, Java seems to be slipping slowly in popularity. For years, it was the most popular language, but it's now in third place. This means that, over time, fewer and fewer new applications are likely to be written in Java.