Sun Microsystems developed the Java language in the early 1990s as a pragmatic language that could be used for almost any purpose: from limited-resource embedded devices to highly scalable and efficient systems.
Look at the state of Java development today, and you’ll realize just how forward-thinking that vision turned out to be. The Java language and the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) run everywhere from data centers, to set-top boxes, to Raspberry Pi. As quite possibly the world’s most popular programming language, Java is the lingua franca for coding business systems—yet it’s also the principal language for building consumer-focused Android apps.
Whether you want to find tips and tricks, discover a new tool for your tool belt, or get inspired about what you can do on with Java today, you can learn a lot by following the community’s most influential and well-connected figures. And the following list, which now includes two dozen top Java practitioners and innovators (and more to come via regular updates), gives you a great starting point.
We curate this list to call out a diverse array of voices, opinions, and points of view from throughout the Java programming community. Our goal is to present you with a well-rounded resource for staying informed about all things Java—not to endorse a particular point of view or belief system.
Gail Anderson is the Director of Research and a founding member of the Anderson Software Group. Anderson specializes in creating course materials for training in Java and other programming tools, in addition to leading technical sessions and tutorials at events such as the CodeOne, Devoxx and NetBeans Day conferences. Anderson is a Java Champion and a member of the NetBeans Dream Team, and has co-authored eight textbooks on software programming.
Currently a professor of principles of software construction at Carnegie Mellon University. Former chief Java architect at Google and distinguished engineer at Sun Microsystems. Lead on the Java Collections Framework, java.math, and the assert mechanism. Author of Effective Java and co-author of Java Puzzlers and Java Concurrency in Practice.
Agnès, who works currently as a tech lead at telephony firm Fairphone, is the co-founder of the Ninja-Squad Java development team. She was also a long-time leader of the Lyon Java User Group, and today leads Duchess France, which provides networking opportunities and visibility to women in the IT industry. She’s the only French woman to date to be named a Java Champion.
Currently working at Oracle, managing the Java Core Libraries team, and is also the CodeOne Core Track Lead. Former engineering manager of the Swing and AWT teams at Sun Microsystems. Has been working on the SwinsdGUI Toolkit since its start in 1996.
Ben is currently Principal Engineer and Architect for JVM technologies at New Relic. He also co-founded the Adopt-a-JSR and AdoptOpenJDK initiatives. Prior to joining New Relic, Ben was Chief Architect for Listed Derivatives at Deutsche Bank. He has authored or co-authored The Well-Grounded Java Developer, Optimizing Java, the recently-updated Java in a Nutshell, 7th Edition, and Java: The Legend.
Trisha’s expertise is in Java high performance systems; she has developed Java apps for firms in a number of industries, including finance, manufacturing, and the non-profit sector. Trisha, who is a Java Champion, is also a developer advocate for JetBrains, a contributor to the Morphia library, and a MongoDB master.
Brian is a Java Language Architect at Oracle, where his job duties focus on setting the future direction for the Java language and Core JDK libraries. He was also the specification lead for Lambda Expressions for the Java Programming Language, and the lead author of Java Concurrency in Practice, as well as over 75 articles on Java development-related topics.
A distinguished engineer at Amazon Web Services (AWS), formerly the chief software architect at Liquid Robotics. Famously known for being the original developer of Java in 1994. Former CTO of Sun Microsystems’ Developer Products and Client Software Groups.
Arun is a principal open source technologist at AWS. He has been building and leading developer communities for 10+ years at Sun, Oracle, Red Hat, and Couchbase. He founded Devoxx4Kids USA, an organization to help children learn programming. His 10-year-old son, Aditya Gupta, demonstrated Java programming with Minecraft at JavaOne 2013.
Leads the Android UI toolkit team at Google, where he works on animations, graphics, and hardware acceleration for the Android platform. He works with all desktop Java technologies, including Swing and Java 2D. Co-author of Filthy Rich Clients: Developing Animated and Graphical Effects for Desktop Java Applications.
Currently the CEO of Atomist, a software delivery automation company for cloud-native applications. Creator of the Spring Framework, co-founder and former CEO of SpringSource. Author of Expert One-on-One J2EE Design and Development; co-author of Professional Java Development with the Spring Framework and Expert One-on-One J2EE Development without EJB.
Jessica Kerr is a lead engineer for Atomist, where she puts her knowledge of Java and other languages to work creating delivery automation applications. Jessica is an international speaker whose talks focus on helping Java developers stay ahead of emerging technologies, and a very active commentator on all things Java via her Twitter account.
Professor of computer science at SUNY Oswego. Author of Concurrent Programming in Java: Design Principles and Patterns, co-author of Java Concurrency in Practice. Formerly on the Executive Committee of the Java Community Process.
Tor Norbye is Google’s technical lead for Android Studio and a frequent conference speaker. He has more than 20 years of experience working on the development of several major Java IDEs including Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, and NetBeans.
Martin Oderskys is a computer scientist and professor of programming methods at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. Odersky specializes in code analysis and programming languages; he created the Scala programming language, and his compiler development work was the basis for javac, the Java compiler.
Ixchel Ruiz is currently a software engineer with Karakun AG. Her research interests include dynamic languages, testing and client-side technologies, systems administration, and data modeling and information architecture. She has participated in the Json-lib and EZMorph projects, as well as contributing to Apache Groovy, a Java syntax-compatible programming language.
Recently released a new book, Badass Users. Formerly a programming instructor, game developer, and a master trainer at Sun Microsystems. Kathy is the co-author of Head First Java and founder of the JavaRanch online community.
James is currently the Chief Architect at CloudBees, working on Jenkins X automated CI/CD for Kubernetes. Creator of the Groovy language, which is used with JVM-based frameworks such as Grails and Gradle. He is also a member of the Apache Software Foundation and co-founded projects such as Apache Camel, Apache ServiceMix, and ActiveMQ.
Martin Thompson is currently a high-performance and low-latency computing specialist at Real Logic. Formerly the CTO and co-founder of LMAX, which develops ultra low-latency, high-throughput applications for use in high-speed trading and financial services environments.
Heather leads the Java Community Process (JCP) Program at Oracle, as well as the global community-driven adoption and user group programs. She also organizes Hackergartens and Early Adopter areas, encouraging Java User Group leaders to collaborate with others on Adopt-a-JSR activities. Her volunteer time centers around getting more girls involved with technology with events such as Devoxx4Kids and working with TechBridge Girls.
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Note: Chris Hansen wrote the original version of this post.