If you're just starting out in Java, it might not be clear just how much J2SE 5 (JDK 5) has reshaped Java programming. (Especially if you are learning from a pre-J2SE 5 book.) Simply put, the impact of J2SE 5 is nothing short of revolutionary. The future belongs to those programmers who can master its many new features.
An overview of the new features in J2SE 5 can be found in my article The Tiger Awakes. As you will see, some of the new features of J2SE 5, such as generics, are quite advanced. Others, such as the "for-each" style for loop are quite easy to put into practice.
For my latest books on Java, including Introducing JavaFX 8 Programming, see HerbSchildt.com
I'm still working in the 1.4 world, though I know I'll need to upgrade my knowledge at some point soon. Luckily, some of the new features are familiar to me through Perl and C. I look forward to learning the new features once I get the time to crack a book!
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for one day. Teach a man to fish, he'll drink all your beer.
Cheers, Jeff (SCJP 1.4, SCJD in progress, if you can call that progress...)
I definitely agree. I'm just starting to learn J2SE 5.0 after programming in Java 1.4 basically since it was released. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to spend as much time on it as I would wish since my last semester in school keeps me busy. I hope that as I become more proficient with the new features, potential employers will look more favorably on hiring me.