Java Veterans, Brush Up Your Java

During the last two months I’ve interviewed a number of senior Java developers for a position at the financial firm. Vast majority of them have 10+years experience working with Java on real-world financial applications. They have lots of interesting projects on their resumes, know how to present themselves, are self-confident, and claim the expert level of Java knowledge.

But it seems that most of them assume that just spending years working on Java projects is enough for considering themselves Java experts. The fact that you’ve been using Hibernate, Spring, JMS, and some caching framework doesn’t make you a Java expert. Over the years you might have improved your understanding of the architecture of Java EE applications, but this doesn’t not make you a Java expert.

Back in 2004, Java 1.5 has been released. Besides generics and annotations it introduced the library of classes supporting concurrency. I don’t care if you know generics, but this library is golden, especially for Java developers who are applying for working on financial applications. Many of these Java veterans never bothered looking into the latest Java features for years. And if I’m asking any concurrency-related question, a typical answer is “Oh yes, I remember there were some new classes that can do this.” Some new classes? Come on, they were in Java since September of 2004!

If a job applicant believes that the only two ways to create a Java thread are extending a Thread or implementing Runnable, he’s not a senior Java developer regardless of how many years he spent working on Java projects. This tells me that this person doesn’t care about Java and is not interested in keeping his technical skills current.

This is one of these “less is more” situations. People who have learned Java after 2004 are more likely to know it better. My message to Java veterans is simple, “If you want to compete with young kids, spend some time learning Java programming. Become competitive as you were ten years ago. Otherwise your only option is to complain about the outsourcing that may take away your job any day.”

I’ll be giving a 2-hour crash course on Java next week during our Fourth Symposium on Software Development in New York City. Come over. Let’s enjoy Java programming together!

Yakov Fain

5 thoughts on “Java Veterans, Brush Up Your Java

  1. Interesting thoughts. Just out of curiosity, what would be other ways to create thread in Java besides Thread and Runnable?

    Service executors?

    More importantly, why does it matter if you know these ‘other ways’ to create threads in Java?



  2. When are you back in London (or Zurich) ? I know a lot of developers who would like to learn from Farata.

    What you say is interesting. When corporations hire a developer, they expect him to know everything. Then, if they see him read a book at work, they assume that 1- He’s lazy and 2- He doesn’t know anything. Same if he asks for a training. So, books gather dust and people never get sent to training by their corporations (basically, you read books at home and you pay for training yourself, asking to vacate for a day or 2).

    I don’t know how that is in the US, but in Europe, I never saw any developer anywhere being sent to training to update his skills on a technology he already knows.

    • You’re right, it’s time to go to Europe and make some noise there :) I, personally, never been to Amsterdam. Let’s see if we can generate some interest there. A couple of days…Java + HTML5 for Day 1, and Development for Android in Adobe AIR and Java?

      Karl, are you coming to Amsterdam to enjoy this show?

  3. As atta, I was also curious to know about the ways of creating a thread in Java. Do you mean creating a thread without any execution? If it is the case, can you explain any real world scenario where it will be useful?


  4. Sure thing Yakov ! I just need to hop in a plane and that’s less far than it is for you from NYC. I will make sure a lot of people come from the UK and Switzerland… :-)

    But just to see if I can make you change your mind, here are some venues links 😉

    Excel Exhibition Center in London

    Zurich Convention Centers

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