If you are an experienced Java developer and you want to know how to get ahead in these unprecedented times, then adding digital transformation skills to your resume will give you the boost you want.
In this article, I will define digital transformation and discuss how to leverage your Java expertise to gain an advantage in this high demand area. To know more join the Mule Integration for Java professionals meetup (also in Spanish) where I discuss this exciting topic together with a chance to receive free professional training and certification.
According to Gartner it’s “the process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a robust new digital business model”. This is about making it easy for businesses to connect data from any system, no matter where it resides, in order to create connected experiences, faster.
The challenges that businesses face is that their data is fragmented. It’s drawn from multiple sources and is frustratingly difficult to process which, for companies that rely on timely and accurate data to operate competitively, is far from optimal.
So by connecting systems and the unifying data, businesses can easily compose connected experiences while maintaining security and control. This enables them to unlock capabilities to build solutions that deliver exponentially increasing value and innovate at scale.
Digital Transformation Under Covid-19
Businesses care a great deal about digital transformation and have been implementing methods to achieve it for many years. However, in these challenging times, the need for business transformation is even more urgent and has been made so by the demand to provide services and products online. The current covid-19 pandemic has accelerated organisations’ efforts to adapt quickly to changing consumer behaviour and those businesses that succeed will continue to flourish while those that fail to adapt quickly enough will fall behind and risk failure.
Java Professionals and Digital Transformation
The demand for Java professionals with digital transformation expertise has skyrocketed during the last few months. As businesses rapidly shift their efforts to adapt to the new normal they have a greater need to unlock and unify their data. They know by doing so that it empowers their business to create connected data experiences faster and in a more scalable way that satisfies their customers. The enabler of this digital transformation is the modern API.
Modern APIs as Enablers
As Java developers we know what an API is and how to create one. When we refer to modern APIs though, we have a specific incarnation in mind. It’s a RESTful API that encompasses features above and beyond the representation of data. It is discoverable, reusable and self-serviceable. It is easy to govern and designed in accordance with a solid architectural approach that promotes innovation at scale. It’s more than just a simple RESTful API; it’s a modern API supported by an API platform.
Java Plays a Central Role
There are many platforms available that provide the Java professional with the capabilities to build APIs and integration solutions. Many of you may have used Camel or Spring integration. You may have built microservices and SOAP services. These are all solid approaches to integration that have been used for many years by businesses to access and unify data. However, none of these solutions provide the governance, scalability, reuse and rapid development required by a business looking to transform quickly. This is where the API-led connectivity approach comes in.
API-led connectivity is an architectural approach that emphasises reuse, discoverability, self-service and governance for every API created as part of an application network. It’s the modern approach used by companies who want to liberate and unify data stored in siloed systems. It relies on a three-tiers of APIs that abstract over data systems and provide a ubiquitous way to access and aggregate data.
Leverage my Java Experience
APIs developed as part of an API-led connectivity architecture rely on the Java-based runtime named the Mule runtime. They are designed and built to execute on the runtime and are deployed to isolated containers or virtual machines.
As a Java developer your knowledge of software development best practices, JVM concepts such as multithreading and the experience you gained while architecting and building SOAP web services and microservices is invaluable. It gives you an enormous head start over those without that background.
All APIs built to run on the Mule runtime are Java applications under the hood. They are built from smaller building blocks of Java libraries that collaborate to form the logic required to provide the service of the API itself. Mule APIs are always RESTful APIs.
Developing those RESTful APIs is achieved via a graphical interface consisting of visual representations of the execution flows that represent the collaboration of building blocks. These flows incorporate the integration logic that unify data and orchestrate calls to other APIs in the API-led connectivity architecture.
Interesting Challenges for Java Professionals
Considering that the typical business that adopts the API-led connectivity approach is a large international entity, which has millions of customers, the challenge for the Java professional when building Mule APIs is focused on a number of key areas, they include, but are not limited to:
- The Java developer
- the challenge is developing non-trivial and highly performant APIs that are capable of serving 10,000’s (or more) requests per second
- for these non-trivial applications the challenge is troubleshooting issues with multi-threading, performance, garbage collection and the typical issues that Java developers face while developing high performance Java applications.
- The Java architect
- the challenge is interpreting enterprise integrations patterns in terms of API-led connectivity’s three-tiered structure such that a business process is translated into system, process and experience APIs.
- the challenge is to design an API-led connectivity architecture that respects its fundamental principles such that APIs are sufficiently granular to be reusable while ensuring that resources are efficiently utilised.
- The Java data expert
- the challenge is transforming data using a functional programming language (DataWeave) that is designed and optimised for the task of data manipulation.
There are many more interesting challenges and opportunities waiting for the Java professional who has Mule integration skills.
What are my Next Steps?
If you are interested in learning more please consider attending my meetup Mule Integration for Java professionals (also in Spanish), in which I will be discussing opportunities for Java professionals in digital transformation using MuleSoft’s API-led connectivity approach and how you can receive free professional training and certification to really give your career a boost in the exciting world of digital transformation.