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Learning Path: Beginning Java


Since its introduction nearly a quarter century ago, Java has been without any doubt one of the most popular general-purpose programming languages of developers worldwide. It’s also a great language for those who are new to coding and want to include usable, practical skills in their personal toolbox as professional software developers.

In this learning path, intended for those just starting out in software and application development, your host and prolific Java author, speaker, architect, and educator, Ben Evans, guides you on your first encounter with Java and the Java platform. You’ll explore major concepts, such as static typing and object-oriented development, both of which are well represented in Java and have formed an excellent grounding for literally millions of successful software developers. You’ll also look at language foundations and professional tools such as integrated development environments (IDEs) that are relevant to the working programmer. By the end of this learning path, you will have a firm grasp of the fundamentals of Java development and will be ready to begin your journey as a software developer.

What you’ll learn—and how you can apply it

  • How the Java type system of references and primitives works
  • How to work with Java’s arrays and collections
  • How to write your own classes and methods
  • How to manipulate data with the Java standard library
  • How to work within a leading Java IDE (JetBrains IntelliJ)

This learning path is for you because…

  • You're a beginning programmer
  • You already have some experience in other languages
  • You have graduated from a code camp and are looking for your first job
  • You have studied small amounts of Java and want to solidify your knowledge


  • No specific prerequisites
  • Any programming experience will be an advantage

Materials or downloads needed in advance:

  • Code repository for the course
  • (Optional): A textbook, such as Java in a Nutshell or Head First Java
  • Download of JetBrains IntelliJ (Community Edition)

Further resources:

  • Java in a Nutshell (7th Edition) – B. Evans and D. Flanagan: This book provides a complete reference to the syntax of the Java language. It also introduces the Java type system and object-oriented concepts in some depth.
  • Head First Java – B. Bates and K. Sierra: Widely regarded as one of the best first-books on Java ever written, Head First Java broke the mold for programming books forever.
  • Java: The Legend – B. Evans: A free download from, this short report provides useful background on Java and is a very easy read.
  • Effective Java – J. Bloch: A practical guide for the working Java programmer. There is a lot of material in this book, and it will be a valuable reference as you polish your Java skills and become a confident programmer.

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