Learn Java: 6 Best Online Courses You Can’t Afford to Miss

Remember the days of dial-up when you’d turn on your computer and the classic Java coffee cup logo would spread itself across your screen, or the red Java “update” pop-ups would flash in the corner, even if you weren’t sure what the update was about.

Java, whether you realize it or not, has played an integral role in the development of our digital culture, and now you can be a part of it with these Java online courses. And why wouldn’t you for a career that averages at $102,101 a year, and is a universal language boasting a global market!

Back-end development, Big Data, android development, and finance are all industries you can thrive in as a Java developer.

Not to be confused with Java, we also have a ranking of the best JavaScript courses

If this sounds like the path for you or something to explore, then look no further as we give you a list of Java courses you can’t afford to ignore.

There are Java classes for every skill level, budget, and job interest, and we’ll break down each Java course by content, price, key strengths, and who they work for best!

What Is Java?

Java, named after the famed coffee drink, is a high-level, class-based, object-oriented programming language that was released in 1995 by James Gosling at the then Sun Microsystems (now Oracle).

It was originally designed to be a language that allowed digital devices to communicate, but with the fast-growing World Wide Web, attention quickly shifted, and with its JVM and “write once, run anywhere” motto in hand, Java became the industry standard for web development.

Gosling developed Java to have a similar syntax style as C/C++, so if you have experience using those languages, then learning Java will be a breeze. Beginners on the other hand will have a more moderate learning curve, but don’t worry because these courses will make it feel effortless.

The Best Way to Learn Java

As it turns out, there’s a right way and a wrong way to learn Java.

The first step to learning Java the right way is to find a course that suits your needs. Do you need an intro or advanced course? Are you interested in android development or software engineering? How much can you afford to spend on a course?

Answering these questions will help give you a better idea of what to look for. Then, you need to think about what style of course you want.

We recommend interactive learning for the best online Java courses because learning by doing gives you crucial hands-on experience. Not to mention, it’s also more enjoyable to learn programming when you’re doing it yourself, rather than watching someone else. 

While it may feel like just spending money and time right now, in reality, you’re investing in your future career, so it’s crucial to choose the smartest option, not the easiest.

And luckily for you, we did the hard work for you and found the best variety of Java courses available, so there’s something here for everyone!

1. freeCodeCamp: The Best Free Java Course

  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Pros: It’s free!
  • Cons: No advanced or career-specific material

freeCodeCamp offers by far the best free Java course for beginners. Famous for its massive collection of tech-centric classes, all of freeCodeCamp’s courses are YouTube integrated so you can watch this course, as well as other more in-depth Java tutorials, there for free.

Best free Java course

The course starts by giving you an overview of the Java platform and breaking down Java components, such as JVM, JDK, and JRE, and how to install and use the Java Development Kit and IDE (Eclipse).

Then it goes over the fundamentals of who and where Java is used, an introduction to IDE concepts and how to choose one, Java’s platform independence, and common acronyms, abbreviations, and key terms.

You’ll also learn class, method, and variable declarations, how to compile and run Java programs, debugging, encapsulations, how to examine call stacks, and get experience writing beginner-friendly code in IDE.

This is a great beginner’s course but it’s also perfect for anyone still on the fence about learning Java. You’ll receive a complete overview of how to use Java basics without spending a penny and get a better idea if it’s the right language for you.

2. Java Programming Specialization: Coursera

  • Skill Level: Beginner to Expert
  • Pros: Offers courses for multiple skill-levels
  • Cons: Requires knowledge of at least one other language

The Object-Oriented Programming in Java Specialization from Coursera is actually a four-part university-backed program that offers courses on beginner and advanced topics. It was created by Duke University and the University of San Diego and is lectured by professors at the respective schools.

Coursera's Java online course specialization

This specialization requires you to know at least one other programming language, like Python or JavaScript, and it’s geared towards those who want to solve more complex problems with Java’s object-oriented design. On top of Java, you’ll also learn how to use Blue and Eclipse, two Java development environments.

The four project-based courses are:

  • Course 1: Java Programming: Solving Problems with Software
  • Course 2: Java Programming: Arrays, Lists, and Structured Data
  • Course 3: Object-Oriented Programming in Java
  • Course 4: Data Structures and Performance

The first course goes over Java fundamentals like running and compiling Java programs, debugging, API documentation, and design techniques for programs that use multiple methods.

The second course adds on problem-solving in data files, quantitative analyses, using arrays to store and manipulate data, and combining multiple classes to solve larger problems.

Courses 3 and 4, however, cover more advanced topics, like data visualizations, building GUI’s, using algorithms for searching and sorting data, data structures, asymptotic Big-O analysis, and how to manage and manipulate large data sets. Essentially, these last courses focus on building your efficiency and versatility with Java.

One of the best things about this specialization is that you can either take all or some of the courses in the program.

For example, if you’re a beginner and new to Java, then the whole specialization is beneficial, but if you don’t want to waste money re-learning the basics, you can go straight ahead to course 3 or 4 and study the intermediate-level material.

While the course comes with graded work, it offers complete flexibility so you can access and work through the specialization at your own pace. It takes approximately 5 months to complete if you’re taking all the courses, at a suggested 6 hours of studying a week.

Coursera works via a subscription service, which costs $49 a month, but it does have a 7-day free trial, and you can audit any course for free.

3. Best Java Beginner Course

  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Pros: Covers Java 8 and Java 11, and will be updated to include Java 17
  • Cons: Big time commitment

Tim Buchalka’s Java Programming Masterclass on Udemy is our top choice for beginners not only because it’s a bestseller, but also for the sheer amount of amazing information you get for one course.

Buchalka himself is known on Udemy for producing reliable and effective material, having helped over 1 million students — and counting.

Udemy's Java masterclass

And this masterclass is no different with over 80 hours of content divided into 401 lectures. It’s aimed at giving beginners insight into the industry’s best practices, the confidence to pass the Oracle exam, and making them work ready for Java developer roles.

You’ll start by installing JDK and IntelliJ IDEA on either your Mac, Windows, or Linux computer, then move on to expressions, statements, classes, inheritance, and encapsulations. It finishes with teaching you Java networking programming, Java 9 module systems, how to migrate projects to Java 9, as well as access to extra downloadable resources.

Currently, the course teaches Java 8 and Java 11, with the latter supported until 2025, but when Java 17 is released in September 2021, this course will be updated to reflect the new version, which you’ll still have access to.

Overall, you can’t ask for a better beginner course, especially for lifetime access with a one-time payment of $59.99.

4. Java Programming Course for Software Engineers

  • Skill level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Pros: Great material for those interested in software engineering
  • Cons: Beginners are thrown into the deep end

Popping up next is Coursera’s Java programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals Specialization. The main difference between this one and the previous specialization is the emphasis on software engineering this program holds.

Developed by Duke University, this four-course specialization will have you building web pages using multiple languages after the first course.

Coursera's software engineering online java course

The entire program includes:

  • Course 1: Programming Foundations with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS
  • Course 2: Java Programming: Solving Problems with Software
  • Course 3: Java Programming: Arrays, Lists, and Structured Data
  • Course 4: Java Programming: Principles of Software Design

The first course involves learning to build interactive web pages with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, as well as how to think critically about problem-solving with programming. The second course then moves onto learning Java and how to problem solve with it, in addition to design algorithms, debugging, compiling and running Java programs, and writing Java methods.

The last two courses are where you get your hands dirty with software engineering and start building and using complex data structures to create complex programs, writing encryption programs, scalable solutions using Java interfaces, and building your understanding that software engineering isn’t just coding, it’s a way of thinking.

By the end, you should possess the skill and logical thinking that truly goes hand in hand with the role. 

Just like the other Coursera specialization, you can pick and choose which classes you want to take if you already have experience using Java. So intermediate learners will benefit greatly from the latter courses.

The program is included in the monthly $49 subscription charge, but you can audit the class for free. This is a great option for those wanting to focus on a career in web development and software work.

5. Design Patterns Java Course

  • Skill level: Intermediate to Expert
  • Pros: Focuses on advanced Java techniques
  • Cons: Not suitable for beginners

Udemy’s Java Design Patterns & SOLID Principles course from Coffee Powered Crew is the perfect class for experienced programmers looking to streamline their software development.

The entire course is composed of 17 hours of content and 253 lectures and starts by introducing SOLID Design Principles, which are the rules around writing the most reusable and clean code. The principles you’ll learn are single responsibility, open-closed, Liskov substitution, interface segregation, and dependency inversion – which all feed into design patterns.

Udemy's Java design patterns course

Then it moves on to a multitude of patterns and teaches you the kind of problems each pattern solves, the various roles in design patterns, how they are applied, how they vary, practice using them in Eclipse IDE, and where they’re each used in real life.

For a one-time payment of $59.99, you’ll receive the whole course, as well as lifetime access and a completion certificate.

All in all, this is an exemplary course for any experienced programmer out there looking to boost their productivity and become a more proficient Java developer.

6. Build Android Apps Java Programming Course

  • Skill level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Pros: Focused on career development
  • Cons: More expensive than other beginner options

Codecademy’s Build Basic Android Apps with Java skill path is similar to Coursera’s specialization in that it’s a multi-course program.

It’s made up of 6 courses that take around 10 weeks to complete, with a geared focus on android app development. In addition to learning Java basics, like loops and arrays, you’ll also learn XML, android studio, Wireframing, layout editor, material design, and IDE’s.

Codecademy's online Java course

While the first half of the skill path teaches the fundamentals, in the last two courses you’ll start getting hands-on practice in Android App development, pick up more intermediate Java skills, and complete a capstone project.

What’s great about this course is its targeted career development, so if you’re confident about wanting to work in Android app development, then this is the route to take.

This skill path is a part of Codecademy’s Pro subscription service, which you can either pay yearly or monthly. It costs $240 for a yearly subscription and around $40 for monthly.

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