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What is Java for?

Updated on January 24, 2011
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Here is the answer for the beginner’s question, ‘What is Java programming language used for?’. This page discusses on why Java is needed, what you can do with Java and why you should learn Java.

I know that some of you might have reached this page to find out why you need Java add on in your browser and whether you can disable it. So, I want to address that question first in the next paragraph. Those who already know it can skip the next paragraph, but reading it will increase your clarity on why you should learn Java as a student.

Most of you are familiar with Java as a browser plug in. This plug in is required to display the Java applets, which are small pieces of code created in Java, to show some attractive information, special animations and games. If you don’t install Java or disable the plug in, you cannot see all the user interactive features that websites provide by using Java. Java is free to download and you probably have it in your browser already.

One thing about security though; If you run an outdated version of Java, you run the risk of opening your computer to a lot of security threats and all kinds of trojans, spyware, adware out there in the web. So if you have Java installed in your PC, always make sure that it is up to date.

Don’t confuse Java with ‘Javascript’.. Javascript is a scripting language used in the browsers for forms, pop ups, validation, menus etc. Javascript is nowhere related to Java and it doesn’t require any special add on to function, because most of the modern browsers provide built in support for Java. Javascript is used in almost every page on the web but Java is only used when it is needed, which means that you can run a whole user interactive website without using a single line of Java code.

For a programmer, knowledge in Java programming language is a must to have for many IT jobs. There are many software suites and solutions which are built using Java technologies and you can’t work with them without having deep knowledge in Java. Java is used in all kinds of computing devices like personal computers, smart phones and other mobile phones, games, set top boxes, web cameras, printers, paid parking systems, car navigation systems, medical and health care equipments, lottery terminals and more..

A market report of IT jobs in 2010 reveals that Java is the most desired skill in the IT world. As per the report, 14% of the IT jobs posted were asking for Java as the main required skill for the job. The trend has been the same for the previous years and the report predicts that the demand for Java programmers is going to stay high for the coming years.

You may recall what I said about security in a previous paragraph. But I want to tell you that as a language, Java is very secure. Since Java is so popular, people who create malware may target vulnerabilities in the older versions of Java, to find a way for their malware to enter into a computer.

Apart from being secure, Java is known for platform independence. You can create a program to run in Windows and can run the same program in Solaris, without having to recompile.

Is Java easy to learn? Just like any programming language, it is easy to learn if you have already learnt a programming language before. If that other programming language is C++, then learning Java is pretty easy because Java derived its syntax and much of its structure from C++.

The following Java code will print 'Welcome to Hubpages! - Shanmugam'

public class HelloWorld {
   public static void main(String[] args) {
       System.out.println("Welcome to Hubpages! - Shanmugam");
   }
}

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