These days, if you want to be in demand in the job market, it pays to know how to code. Some people find it as easy as riding a bike, while others struggle with it.
But if you are determined to learn, there is an abundance of free resources online if you know where to look. You can then study your programming language of choice at your leisure. Whether it’s an online study course, or simply a website offering advice, you are sure to find something which suits your needs and circumstances.
This article is going to show you the best online resources for learning Java. Java is moderately easy to learn, and it is used for things such as smartphone apps, video games, and software.
So knowing how to program Java is an extremely useful skill to have on the CV. The most well known resource is Codecademy, but the following are excellent too.
This highly popular YouTube series (with over a million subscribers) has video tutorials for various programming languages, and Java is one of them. The Java playlist consists of 87 videos, and assumes at the beginning that you are a complete novice in the ways of the code (although if you know some, you can easily jump ahead).
In very clear easy-to-understand language, “Bucky” takes you through the various stages of writing Java code. He first begins with how to download the SDK (Standard Development Kit) and then moves on to variables, math operators, the If statement, and how to build a basic calculator.
This is highly recommended for those who prefer visual and audio learning aids. Bucky goes to enormous lengths to ensure his teaching is as easy to understand as possible.
Greenfoot is an interesting piece of free software, which can be downloaded on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It teaches you how to code Java, by dragging and dropping various elements into the window. You can then use this to create games, simulations, and graphical programs.
You can drop “actors” into the “world” (such as people and animals), and then specify what actions they should take. You can also create backgrounds, so you can easily make a world for your actors to live in. When you think it is all ready, you can then press “Run” to watch your code in action.
As with the previous YouTube playlist, Greenfoot is a great resource for those who like to play around with visual aids, rather than tackle dry text.
Learn Java Online is a website packed with tutorials, examples, stacks of useful information, as well as 2 code windows at the bottom of the screen (one for the code, and one to view the result). It is split into two sections – the basic section and the advanced section (although it says on the site that the advanced section is still being made, nevertheless there is a huge amount to look through).
This is definitely something which all Java learners should bookmark and refer to often. However, it does tend to throw slightly confusing terminology at you, which might deter you somewhat from learning.
So I would recommend keeping this as a backup resource, and when you are feeling a bit more confident with the language, then come back and use LJO to brush up on your skills.
LJO is particularly good in that there is an “Execute Code” button under every piece of code the site introduces. Clicking this button will automatically move the code to the code window at the bottom of the screen.
Now we come to the online course. There are of course many online courses dedicated to computer programming, but I have heard so many good things about edX. Users love it, and their courses consistently get high marks.
The 5 week course by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is free, but you can pay an optional $50 to get a completion certificate. This will enable you to show a potential employer you have a qualification in java programming. You only need to devote a maximum of 5 hours a week to the course, so you can easily do this alongside your day job.
The course is split into two parts (each part being 5 weeks). Learn principles such as arrays, branching and loops, string manipulation, and abstract data types.
This is a book which is freely available to download as a website (in HTML format), or as a PDF file (links or no links). For the purposes of learning Java on your computer, the PDF file with links would probably be most convenient, but hey, go with whatever you’re comfortable with.
The book contains 13 chapters, and the Table of Contents shows you right away the staggering amount of information contained in those chapters. However, as with Learn Java Online, this book is not the easiest to follow, and should probably be used as a reference source for when you want to brush up on something.
Java is not that difficult to learn, compared to other languages, and with a bit of help and practice from these resources, you will be literate in no time.