Don’t give up on Java! There is still a future for programmers there

Panic struck the Java community a few months ago when Google officially announced that it was going “Kotlin-first”. In May 2019, the official announcement: “Android development will become increasingly Kotlin-first. Many new Jetpack APIs and features will be offered first in Kotlin. If you’re starting a new project, you should write it in Kotlin; code written in Kotlin often means much less code for you–less code to type, test, and maintain”. The darling of Android programming so far had been Java also in some lucrative new segments like gaming mobile apps.

java programming

The Kotlin onslaught did not happen overnight. Google’s support for Kotlin had already been announced at I/O 2017, causing quite a stir. Surprise, but also applause,  was the reaction. The newcomer quickly snatched nearly 30% of the market and today more than 50% of professional developers of Android’s apps have gone Kotlin. Even more impressive is the result of the latest Stack Overflow developer survey, where Kotlin has won the fourth place in the “most loved” category. Notably, Java is very much down that ladder, coming at 18th after a swathe of other competitors (* JavaScript doesn’t fare too well either, it ranks 11th).

Things look different in the “wanted” category: here Java ranks 9th and JavaScript even second! “Wanted” means developers who do not yet use it say they want to learn it. There is a rationale to that desire. “There may be valid reasons for you to still be using the C++ and Java programming languages and that’s totally fine. These are not going away”, stated Chet Haase, Google’s chief advocate for Android.

Sure not, especially not Java. There is one idiotically simple reason for that and it is because…

… Java is everywhere!

Sounds trivial? Not so. Java is still the most used programming language in the world. Take another ranking, the TIOBE Index for January 2020, and who is number one? Java. TIOBE (the acronym for “The Importance of Being Ernest) is a Dutch software control company that checks more than 1056 million lines of software code for its customers world-wide, realtime, each day. Their Programming Community Index, updated once a month, is an indicator of the popularity of programming languages.

“The TIOBE index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written”, the company points out. “The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third party vendors”. One of the main uses of the TIOBE index is to support strategic decisions about what programming language should be adopted when starting to build a new software system. Take note that here Kotlin ranks 35th !

To cut a long story short, Java is still the industry standard when it comes to the enterprise level. We are talking big companies here, and well payed, top-level jobs for programmers. The demand for Java programmers is still strongest because there has been so much investment in it for so long.

The bottom line: keep an eye on that Kotlin kid, it would be unwise not to do so. Since Kotlin can make calls to Java and vice versa, you can easily manage both. But by all means, don’t give up on Java.

[Image via: Google Images]