The object-oriented programming paradigm has gained popularity in both industry and academia, and Java is becoming the language of choice. Yet, it can be a difficult language to learn, with many hurdles for novice programmers. This overview describes how Java was successfully introduced as the first programming language in an information technology master’s program at Bentley College. Careful consideration was given to a variety of factors, including when to introduce object-oriented concepts, which integrated development environment to use, and how to support students with minimal prior programming experience. The impact of these choices on the learning experience and the factors that led to the successful implementation of Java as a first programming language are described.