What is Java?

Having worked with Java technology for almost twenty years I just assume people know what it is and understand it. So let’s get the definition from source Java.com.

Java is a programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995. There are lots of applications and websites that will not work unless you have Java installed, and more are created every day. Java is fast, secure, and reliable. From laptops to datacenters, game consoles to scientific supercomputers, cell phones to the Internet, Java is everywhere!

That is concise and a bit “markety” but, what would you expect from Oracle?


Originally James Gosling and a few others created Java for interactive television in the early 90s. It was originally called Oak for the tree that Gosling could see from his office. Although the language was too advanced for the cable industry at the time they found a use for it other places. When Sun originally released Java in 1996 they promised it was a “Write Once Run Everywhere” language. This created a lot of hype and competitors moved to stop this. Fast forward to today where Java has matured and built major footholds in many industries.


Many industries use Java to enable solutions. For instance, the Android platform is based on Java. Numerous mobile devices use them to find your dinner or tell you where the traffic is slow. After you get home you want to chill out and binge watch some episodes from your favorite show. Netflix also uses Java too. “Java’s innate scalability has played a key role in enabling Netflix to expand its service to more than 57 million members in 50 countries.” So whether you are on the go or at home your probably using Java in some fashion. This doesn’t include financial services, scientific research, and Big Data uses. We could say it is almost everywhere!


To say Java is just a programming language is quite an understatement. There is a lot more to it. The Java Virtual Machine(JVM) is the heart of all this. Java is simple to use and portable to run on many devices. It is also a secure, dynamic, and distributed platform. Along with the JVM there is also the Java Runtime Environment(JRE) which executes the Java bytecode. For the developers, they can use the Java Development Kit(JDK) to compile, document, and package the code. Java does not create native executables like C and C++. The bytecode is used as an intermediary so the code can be interpreted by the JRE. The Java Enterprise Edition(JEE) is used for medium to large businesses. This is a collection of tools to support larger systems.

Java is a powerful tool for technology teams to use. It is a mature platform that many organizations leverage. Even though Java has been around for a while it is continuing to grow and expand the API offerings. I believe it will be around for a long time and have a well-established community and support.

Originally published on MyITCareerCoach.com