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Currently, I enjoy my Java 101 class. I have some ideas for apps that I'd like to make and with time and work I think the process of developing an application from the ground up will work out fine. When I get my Java app(s) up and running - will it be easy to find a place where I can offer them for sale?

In the Enterprise labor marketplace, I see ads for developers with expertise with J2EE, WebSphere, Hibernate, Spring, etc. As a Java newbie, I'm aware that I can forget about ever qualifying for those jobs.

An alternative for me might be to make something that I can build a micro-business with. Is there a straightforward way of doing that?

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It costs money to sell an application you wrote. If you just want to publish the application and ask for donations, thats free, but getting other people's money is often not free – Ramhound Oct 7 '11 at 15:35
The simplest way to leverage your Java knowledge is to write Android apps. – user1249 Oct 8 '11 at 2:22

Marketing costs money. Most people will have to spend a ton in order to get going. There's those "hey I made an app and some guy found it and talked about it and now I'm rich" stories, but those are by FAR the exception. Don't believe those podcasts/bloggers/talking heads that say it's easy. Even if you get the app perfect, there's a tremendous amount of luck that goes into success. Odds are that if you make the best app you can, work hard, market hard, you may be able to scrape by with a decent living. :-)

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The easiest way to do that would be create a SaaS and then go from there. It will allow you to learn JEE and is an easier model for making money. However, the downside to that I'm not sure of any host that hosts JEE for cheap (aka something a student would be able to consistently afford) and like Brian Knoblauch said, it isn't free to market it. Let's say you do find an idea you can execute and start doing it. Well then you'll have to get bogged down in the details of running the site (such as payment processing, legal compliances, etc) which can take a chunk of your income as well.

My opinion, learn for the sake of learning and become good friends with GitHub. That plan won't cost you a dime!

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You should note that most consumers don't care whether the app is written in Java, C# or whatever. Marketing it as "written in Java" will only work for some techies. Marketing it as "cross-platform, works in Windows, Mac and Linux" is much better.

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