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Become a Java Architect: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Find out how to become a Java architect. Research the training requirements and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in Java architecture.

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Do I Want to Be a Java Architect?

Java architects design and implement software system solutions for companies. They may communicate with senior management and oversee technical development teams.

Java architects, like other types of computer network architects, work full-time, although a quarter reported working more than 40 hours per week in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The work in office settings, with little physical activity associated with the job.

Job Requirements

Java architect positions generally require a high degree of experience with Java products and Web application development. Most Java architect positions require a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field plus work experience, but some employers may hire people who have extensive experience and no formal education. The following table lists the main requirements for Java architects according to multiple job ads posted in August 2012:

Common Requirements
Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Computer science or information science
Certification Certification is not required, but Oracle offers a number of options that could benefit Java architects
Experience Anywhere from 2-10 years of experience, depending on the position
Key Skills Problem-solving and analytical skills
Computer Skills Knowledge of various Oracle and Windows products, Javascript, HTML/CSS, XML, .NET and jQuery; strong programming skills

Step 1: Complete a Bachelor's Degree Program

A bachelor's degree in a related field, such as computer science or information science is usually necessary for most Java architect positions. These programs typically cover programming languages, data management, systems and software architecture, networks and security. Upon graduation, individuals should have a thorough understanding of computers and application development.

Success Tip:

  • Take courses that teach skills employers are looking for. Some schools offer courses that pertain directly to Java, such as Java application development, Java data structures and programming with Java. Students may want to explore what Java courses are offered by a school before enrolling in a bachelor's program.

Step 2: Obtain Work Experience

Employers typically require Java architects to have extensive experience (up to 10 years) in Web application development and Java products. Individuals can begin with an entry-level Web application development position. Some students create their own programs using Java, which they can use to show their Java programming skills to potential employers.

Success Tips:

  • Consider completing a Java programming certificate program. Some schools provide Java programming certificate programs for IT professionals who want to increase their knowledge of Java products. These programs may enhance an individual's application development skills and increase their worth to employers. A certificate program can be especially beneficial to any students who already have a bachelor's degree but are lacking Java-specific training.
  • Get familiar with common development tools. Java architects can start learning how to use industry-standard development tools as soon as they start obtaining work experience. Even if the job doesn't require the use of products like Maven or Eclipse, individuals can start learning about these programs outside of work.

Step 3: Get Certified

Though it's not usually an employment requirement, professional certification may help individuals stand out to employers. Oracle offers the Oracle Certified Master, Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect credential, which validates an architect's knowledge and experience. The certification process consists of an exam, an essay and an assignment to design a solution for a hypothetical business system. Oracle also has other certifications for Java products, so aspiring Java architects may want to look into all of the options currently available before pursuing a professional designation.

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