Welcome!

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Interviewing Enterprise Java Developers

Interviewing Enterprise Java Developers

Today's Java job market is healthy. Major online job search engines show thousands of openings, and people are competing for these jobs. Skilled Java developers are just as popular as Visual Basic or PowerBuilder developers were back in 1996. There is a major difference though - back then, client/server developers could make a decent living by mastering one front-end tool and any major relational DBMS. These days a Java developer has to know about 10 different tools or technologies to find a good job and feel relatively secure for a couple of years.

During the last year I've been interviewing lots of J2EE developers, who are in demand again. But over the last several years job requirements, people, and resumes of Java developers have changed quite a bit and this is what I've noticed:

  • People do not call themselves Java developers or programmer-analysts anymore - most of them prefer the title of Java architect. Unfortunately, only some of them really understand how J2EE components operate and can suggest some design solutions.
  • Job applicants are more senior and I barely see any college graduates or junior programmers in the market. Many of the junior positions are being outsourced and the number of graduates with computer science degrees has declined over the past several years.
  • Java certification does not make your resume stand out. Actually, if a résumé starts with a list of Java certifications, most likely it's a beginner. I'm not against certification as it helps you learn the language or a tool, and shows that you are willing and can study. But the fact that you have a Java certificate doesn't mean that you're a skilled professional.
  • Three to four years ago people with EJB experience were in high demand; now Struts is a more valuable asset. This is a good framework for Web applications, but it has the following side effect: some Struts developers don't really know what's under the hood and how plain vanilla ser-vlets work. When I ask how an HTML form is being processed by a servlet, they start from the class Action.
  • On a similar note, some people don't know exactly how JDBC works - they just pass a SQL statement to some wrapper class created by local architects and get the result set back.
  • I see a new breed of Java architects who used to be project managers. These people usually know their business really well, can talk about application servers, messaging and clusters, and capacity planning, but often fall short on Java technical questions.
  • Job requirements are longer these days and recruiting companies don't even want to submit your résumé to the client if you have "only" 9 out of 10 required skills. As a matter of fact, recruiters screen candidates a lot better now.
  • Be prepared to pass at least four interviews to get hired. While back in 1999 two good interviews would be enough, in 2001 it was very difficult to even get an interview let alone a job!
What does a good J2EE developer have to know in addition to understanding the difference between abstract classes and interfaces? Usually employers are looking for people with at least 10 of the following skills: Java servlets, JSP, Struts or a similar framework, EJB, JMS, any commercial message-oriented middleware, JDBC, JNDI, HTML, XML, Ant, SQL, one of the major application servers, a couple of relational database management systems, any UML modeling tool, several design patterns (at least a Singleton!), and familiarity with Unix. Next year JavaServer Faces and Hibernate will most likely be included in this laundry list.

Understanding why a particular J2EE component is being used in your project is equally important. If the interviewer asks you, "Why did you use EJB in this project?" please do not answer, "This decision was made before I joined the project." Have your own opinion and explain why you think it was a good or bad choice for this particular project.

I keep hearing the "horror stories" about questions some people get during interviews. In my opinion, the interviewers should ask more open-ended questions about the applicant's prior experience, going into technical details when appropriate. I don't think it's fair to ask a person to write a Java program processing a binary tree or implementing a finite state machine. These are the things that can be looked up online or in the books when needed.

Good knowledge of the business terminology of your potential employer is also important. I'm not sure about the Silicon Valley or Europe, but here in New York just being a techie may not be good enough to get a senior job. For example, if you're applying for a Java position in a financial brokerage company and don't know what a short sale is, this may be a showstopper. If you are a senior developer, you should be able to hit the ground running… Try to find out from your recruiter as many details as possible about the business of your potential employer, do your homework, and you'll get the job! They are desperately looking for good Java people and you can be one of them.

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay. He wrote a thousand blogs (http://yakovfain.com) and several books about software development. Yakov authored and co-authored such books as "Angular 2 Development with TypeScript", "Java 24-Hour Trainer", and "Enterprise Web Development". His Twitter tag is @yfain

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
The digital transformation is real! To adapt, IT professionals need to transform their own skillset to become more multi-dimensional by gaining both depth and breadth of a wide variety of knowledge and competencies. Historically, while IT has been built on a foundation of specialty (or "I" shaped) silos, the DevOps principle of "shifting left" is opening up opportunities for developers, operational staff, security and others to grow their skills portfolio, advance their careers and become "T"-sh...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
Hackers took three days to identify and exploit a known vulnerability in Equifax’s web applications. I will share new data that reveals why three days (at most) is the new normal for DevSecOps teams to move new business /security requirements from design into production. This session aims to enlighten DevOps teams, security and development professionals by sharing results from the 4th annual State of the Software Supply Chain Report -- a blend of public and proprietary data with expert researc...
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app secu...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
Having been in the web hosting industry since 2002, dhosting has gained a great deal of experience while working on a wide range of projects. This experience has enabled the company to develop our amazing new product, which they are now excited to present! Among dHosting's greatest achievements, they can include the development of their own hosting panel, the building of their fully redundant server system, and the creation of dhHosting's unique product, Dynamic Edge.
This session will provide an introduction to Cloud driven quality and transformation and highlight the key features that comprise it. A perspective on the cloud transformation lifecycle, transformation levers, and transformation framework will be shared. At Cognizant, we have developed a transformation strategy to enable the migration of business critical workloads to cloud environments. The strategy encompasses a set of transformation levers across the cloud transformation lifecycle to enhance ...
Your job is mostly boring. Many of the IT operations tasks you perform on a day-to-day basis are repetitive and dull. Utilizing automation can improve your work life, automating away the drudgery and embracing the passion for technology that got you started in the first place. In this presentation, I'll talk about what automation is, and how to approach implementing it in the context of IT Operations. Ned will discuss keys to success in the long term and include practical real-world examples. Ge...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
So the dumpster is on fire. Again. The site's down. Your boss's face is an ever-deepening purple. And you begin debating whether you should join the #incident channel or call an ambulance to deal with his impending stroke. Yes, we know this is a developer's fault. There's plenty of time for blame later. Postmortems have a macabre name because they were once intended to be Viking-like funerals for someone's job. But we're civilized now. Sort of. So we call them post-incident reviews. Fires are ne...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 12-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI and Machine Learning to one location.
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of computational needs for many industries. Their solutions provide benefits across many environments, such as datacenter deployment, HPC, workstations, storage networks and standalone server installations. ICC has been in business for over 23 years and their phenomenal range of clients include multinational corporations, universities, and small busines...
This sixteen (16) hour course provides an introduction to DevOps, the cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, integration and automation in order to improve the flow of work between software developers and IT operations professionals. Improved workflows will result in an improved ability to design, develop, deploy and operate software and services faster.