JVM Advent

The JVM Programming Advent Calendar

How to Inspire the Next Generation of Java Developers?

A Java in Education initiative for global Java User Group (JUG) Leaders.

Java moves our world. Java helps you to stay safe, connected with your friends and family and grow every day. Think of any industry or technology and you’ll see Java – from banking, health, commerce, gaming, insurance, education to Quantum Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and many more. It is literally everywhere. As a trusted ecosystem, Java has adapted to changing developer and business needs and continues to be relevant and popular.

As we celebrate 25 years of Java technology, we look to the future – the next generation of Java developers. We are encouraging Java community leaders to participate in encouraging the next generation of developers to code using Java by engaging with your local educational communities. If you are an experienced Java developer or Java User Group (JUG) member/leader, this is a prime opportunity for you to pay it forward. 

As chairperson of the Java Community Process (JCP) program, I lead and chair the JCP Executive Committee (EC).  The EC oversee the development and evolution of Java technologies within the JCP. In 2020, some of our discussions focused on the topic of Java in Education.  This topic was suggested by one of our new JCP EC Members, Ken Fogel.  This prompted a working group to think about what we can do around Java in Education.

JCP EC Members and Java community leaders are in a unique position to inspire their local community of junior developers and students to learn and use Java technology.  The purpose and focus is to help bridge the gap between the educational environment and industry. Together we can provide opportunities for students, teachers and educational institutions in the form of networking, mentoring, knowledge and professional internships, open-source assignments and projects.  We can also educate developers around the myths about the capabilities of Modern Java technology . 

In starting this initiative, we believe this effort must be global, JUG led, and supported by the JCP program.

Our world. Moved by Java! Join us to continue to grow your local community to be #MovedbyJava

You can join our group.io list to participate in discussions with Java community leaders. This is where we develop materials for the community and share experiences. 


How to get started?

  • Host a workshop in your JUG – to encourage interest in members of your JUG to consider participating in this initiative.
  • Invite local teachers to attend or co-present with you – don’t make it overwhelming for them to attend or co-present. Check to see if your local institutions have joined Oracle Academy.
  • Partner with Local Educational Community and Leverage Resources
    • Leverage existing resources, such as Oracle Academy– they offer secondary schools, technical/vocational schools, two- and four-year colleges, universities, and their educators free resources which include:
      • Expert Java Fundamentals curriculum  in English, Chinese (Simplified), French, Indonesian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish, Arabic.
      • Teaching and learning resources.
      • World-class technology and software.
      • Professional development opportunities.
      • There are two types of Oracle Academy membership, Institutional and Individual membership. Institutional membership is best suited for institutions and educators who wish to take full advantage of Oracle Academy curriculum and teaching resources for the classroom, including world-class technology and software, professional development, Oracle professional certification resources, member recognition, and a wealth of teaching and learning resources. Oracle Academy membership is free!
    • As part of this initiative, JetBrains academy is offering a discounted trial for Java in Education.

Reaching out to Universities

  • Reach out to student associations, college professors, or assistants – try to figure out what they are looking for from the industry. 
  • Offer to host sessions by industry professionals (from your JUG) at their educational institutions. You can use existing presentations on modern Java features and Java for new or junior developers.
  • Offer to help or organize Java hack days.
  • Offer to be a guest speaker at computer science, object-oriented, or Java course.
  • Hold a JUG meeting (virtual or in-person) for students.
  • Encourage students and their professors to join your JUG or its mailing list.
  • Professors are actively looking out for internships for their students in good organizations. JUGs can help by sharing any open internships.
  • Encourage students to check out Oracle’s Java Programmer Certification exams. Recognized by the industry the world over, these certifications help students to know Java inside out and work with great projects and organizations.
  • Check to see if your local institutions have joined Oracle Academy. Help university (professors) to update their curriculum or advice on it.
  • Encourage students to enroll in the free Oracle University Java Explorer course – it offer 6 hours of Java programming basics. Offer to be available for discussion after course completion.

Reaching out to Secondary Schools

  • Reach out to schools at all levels, especially computer courses or after school programs.
  • Identify just one or two schools as targets to establish a relationship and get familiar with their facilities.
  • Offer to host a ‘Meet a Programmer’ day at a school as a way to start the relationship.
  • Prepare a 2 or 3 hour activity that your JUG members could lead with the assistance of the school’s teaching staff. There are devoxx4kids workshop materials in addition to the Oracle Academy workshop in a box materials available for community use . Share these links with the teachers, and offer to go over the lesson plans – you can modify and translate these materials in the Devoxx4Kids GitHub repo. Encourage the use of the tools you can find there for teaching Java: Scratch, Alice and BlueJ, Greenfoot etc.
  • Invite teachers or students from your local educational institutions to your meetups. Encourage them to attend, volunteer or deliver sessions.
  • Visit your local educational institutions and host a session or workshop.

The power of community

These are some of the best practices for starting activities in your local community. As a leader in the Java developer community for the past twenty years, I believe in the power of the Java community. Together we can bring Java to the next generation of Java developers.

Our world. Moved by Java! Join us to continue to grow your local community to be #MovedbyJava.


Author: Heather VanCura

Heather is Director and Chairperson of the Java Community Process (JCP) program. She is a leader of the global community driven Java adoption and user group programs. In this role she drives the efforts to transform the JCP program and broaden participation and diversity in the community. She is passionate about Java, women in technology and developer communities, serving as an International speaker and community organizer of developer hack days around the world. Heather enjoys speaking at conferences, such as OSCON, FOSDEM, Devoxx, Wonder Women Tech, and the JavaOne Conferences. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, California USA and enjoys trying new sports and fitness activities in her free time.

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