Like a room without a roof

Class of 2014 advised: Get into Java for a happy working life

Lucy Carey
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Clap along if Java developing is for you! According to new study, young professionals who work with Java top the tables for job satisfaction.

Raised on a technical heritage unimaginable even a few decades ago, the newest wave of developers came of age immersed in a virtual world. Having grown up with computers and smart phones as much a part of their lives as phones and TV were to Generation-X, Millennials are conditioned to be comfortable in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields like no generation before.

So perhaps it’s natural that in a recent Forbes commissioned survey by job search and review site CareerBliss, developers topped the charts as the happiest of all young workers. Specifically, it was Java devs who took the number one spot, with Web Developer, more general Software Developers, and a series of other tech, web, and IT-focused positions following closely behind. Following behind Java devs in the top five were Embedded Software Engineers, .NET Developers, Medical Technologists, and QA Engineers.

To compile their study, Careerbliss collected data from 25,000 independent company reviews between January 2011 and March 2014. Their research takes into account job elements that affect “work happiness,” including an individual’s manager and coworkers, encouragement and rewards received, opportunities for professional growth, company environment and culture, workflow, and day-to-day responsibilities

Although a there’s a general assumption that Java developers tend to be older and more established, with younger people generally gravitating to newer and trendier languages, clearly there’s a sizable number still opting to work with the legacy platform. In part, this may be related to high wages on offer for Java devs, whose salaries topped the charts for the highest earning employees on the market  in 2013.

For any post-2008 graduate, finding a job is a more daunting prospect than ever, with internships and other voluntary positions supplanting many of the traditional entry-level jobs. The advent of a globalized work force has drastically shrunk employment prospects in some sectors, and wreaked havoc on work conditions in others. That’s not to say tech is all sunshine and roses, but it is at least a fertile environment, with software development jobs predicted to grow 22% between 2012 and 2022.

Another factor to take into account, if you listen to the marketing guys, is that Millennials are characterized as being largely creative individuals, who thrive when given the opportunity to be innovative in their work. As Forbes writes, by definition, software developers are the “the creative minds behind computer programs,” and anyone in this field will find ample scope to let their imagination flow, if they look in the right places.

In-demand developer skills vary from year to year, but if you’re looking to zero in on lucrative skills to hone alongside Java, according to a TechRepublic roundtable, hiring trends in 2014 will tilt heavily towards Big Data, with a rising interest in employees who can use tech like Hadoop to generate meaningful analytics. Also in demand will be mobile, cloud, and security related skills. Handy to know if you’d like your early twenties career to be more distinguished by something a little more valuable than endless hours of unpaid labor and coffee runs. 

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