Solving the Issue of Null @Autowired Field in Spring


In the world of Java development, Spring Framework has become one of the most popular choices for building enterprise applications. It provides a wide range of features and capabilities that make development faster and easier. One of the key features of Spring is its dependency injection mechanism, which allows for loose coupling and easier testing.

However, sometimes developers may face issues when using the @Autowired annotation to inject dependencies into their classes. One common problem is when an @Autowired field is null, even though it should have been autowired by the Spring container. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this issue and discuss how to solve it.

Understanding the Problem

Let's start by looking at an example that demonstrates the issue. Suppose we have a Spring application with a MileageFeeCalculator service class, which has an @Autowired field called rateService. The goal is to calculate the mileage fee based on the rate provided by the rateService. But, when the mileageCharge method is called, a NullPointerException is thrown because the rateService field is null.

                Controller class:
                public class MileageFeeController {    
                    public float mileageFee(@PathVariable int miles) {
                        MileageFeeCalculator calc = new MileageFeeCalculator();
                        return calc.mileageCharge(miles);

                Service class:
                public class MileageFeeCalculator {

                    private MileageRateService rateService; // <--- should be autowired, is null

                    public float mileageCharge(final int miles) {
                        return (miles * rateService.ratePerMile()); // <--- throws NPE

                Service bean that should be autowired in MileageFeeCalculator but it isn't:
                public class MileageRateService {
                    public float ratePerMile() {
                        return 0.565f;

The rateService field in the MileageFeeCalculator class should have been autowired by Spring, but it is null. This results in a NullPointerException when trying to access the ratePerMile method of the rateService.

Possible Causes

There are several possible causes for the @Autowired field being null:

  • Component not scanned: Spring may not be scanning the package where the component is located, leading to the bean not being instantiated.
  • Missing annotation: The component may be missing the necessary annotation, such as @Component or @Service, for Spring to recognize and instantiate it.
  • Incorrect package: The component may be located in a different package than the one scanned by Spring, causing it to be missed during the instantiation process.
  • Multiple instances: If there are multiple instances of the same type, Spring may not be able to determine which instance to autowire.
  • Bean not created: Spring may not be creating the bean for the component due to incorrect configuration or missing dependencies.


Now that we know the possible causes of the issue, let's discuss the solutions:

1. Check Component Scanning Configuration

One reason for the @Autowired field being null is that the component is not being scanned by Spring. To fix this, make sure that the package containing the component is being scanned by Spring.

You can configure component scanning in your Spring configuration file, such as applicationContext.xml, by adding the following line:

                <context:component-scan base-package="com.example.package" />

Replace com.example.package with the actual package name where the component is located.

2. Add Component Annotations

If the component is missing the necessary annotation, such as @Component, @Service, or @Repository, Spring will not be able to recognize and instantiate it. Make sure to add the appropriate annotation to the component class.

3. Check Component Package

Verify that the component is located in the correct package that is being scanned by Spring. It is possible that the component is in a different package and, as a result, is not being instantiated by Spring.

4. Use @Qualifier Annotation

If there are multiple instances of the same type, Spring may not be able to determine which instance to autowire. In such cases, you can use the @Qualifier annotation to specify a bean name or qualifier value.

                private SomeBean someBean;

Replace beanName with the name of the bean that you want to autowire.

5. Check Bean Configuration

Ensure that the bean for the component is being created correctly. Check the Spring configuration files, such as applicationContext.xml or Java-based configuration classes, to make sure that all the necessary dependencies are present and correctly wired.


In this article, we explored the reasons behind the @Autowired field being null in a Spring application. We discussed possible causes, such as missing component scanning, incorrect package, missing annotations, multiple instances, and bean configuration issues. We also provided solutions for each of these causes to help you resolve the problem and ensure that the @Autowired field is properly injected.