My Java Journey

A lot of people are posting about their Java Journey in honor of Java’s 25th birthday today. My turn! (My CV is at This blog post is about the journey and memories

1999: Getting started

As a high school junior (1997-1998), I took AP Computer Science A and learned Pascal. That was the last year Pascal was offered so the school let three of us take the class again as seniors (1998-1999) learning C++ if we self studied for AP Computer Science AB. (There were two exams back then),

I got a 5 (highest score) both exam so was able to get credit for a full year of computer science classes. However, the school used Java. I had two options:

  • Take intro to programming for a third time
  • Take a “challenge test” to show I knew Java.

Other than the name of the language, I didn’t know Java. So I read a book as a high school senior and gave the challenge test a shot. I was woefully unprepared. I didn’t have internet at home then. And I didn’t actually write any Java code. (Because I was focused on the AP exam which was in C++)

The challenge test looked like the CS 101 final. I think the professor lost the challenge test or didn’t bother grading it. I got the array question right because it was the same as the answer would have been in C++. A good amount of the test was about Swing which I didn’t know at all. So there’s no way I could have passed. Who knows. Maybe he figured it was my problem if I didn’t know Java in the advanced classes.

2001: First time using Java professionally

I did two internships in college. (I graduated in three years so there were two summers.) The first one used C++ and SQL. The second one (summer 2001) used Java. I learned more about JSP and XSLT at that internship

2002: Started Full time Java Developer

I’ve been a primarily full time Java developer since 2002. While I’ve also been a software quality engineer, architect and test lead, I’ve been coding in Java straight thru).

2003: Joined CodeRanch

I started answering questions on CodeRanch in 2003. Before that I was active on JGuru. CodeRanch has a great community and I’m still active there. It’s great to be part of a Java Community.

2003 (or 2004): Teaching new features – Java 1.4

Java 1.4 came out in 2002. My career has been in the financial industry so we weren’t the first to upgrade. When we started using Java 1.4, I fell in love with regular expressions. I liked that you could write concise powerful code. You can ever write them clearly. Really. See the blog post. (I like lambdas/streams for the same reason).

I learned that many people at work were afraid of regular expressions. So I taught them. That’s when I learned that teaching people about Java and sharing information about programming was a passion.

2008: First Java contribution to Open Source

My first Java contribution to open source was the ClassPath suite project for JUnit. I fixed a bug and added a feature I wanted.

2014: First Java book published

Scott and I have been working on Java certification books since 2014 covering Java 8 and Java 11.

2016: First time speaking about Java at a user group

I spoke in 2011 and 2015 about testing and agile. And I spoke about Java t my company. But 2016 was my first time doing so publicly.

2017: First time speaking at a Java Conference

In 2014-2015, I made a concerted effort to speak more about Java. (It took me a while to get up the nerve to do it and then to get accepted). I spoke at Spring One and JavaOne in 2017!

2019: Became a Java Champion

Last year, I became a Java champion. So proud!

2020: Celebrated Java’s 25th anniversary