Sunday, September 2, 2012

Do I need to take the SCJP / OCJP exam?

So you want to become a Certified Java Programmer, eh?
Before starting off with my boring lecture I would like to tell you I am a SCJP myself. I took the exam on July 6,2010 and became a SCJP with 98%. Hope that convinces you I have some authority to speak on this topic. Its been 2 years already, have the urge to take it again....

I have met a lot of people online and in person who have varied opinions about this certification exam. There are some who take the exam for cosmetic purposes of enhancing their resume. Just that. From my experience passing the exam isn't a big deal. So this group, takes a crash course for a week, browse some exam dumps on the net (posting exam questions on the internet is illegal!!) and pass. An ex-colleague of mine with over 11 years of experience now an architect would say -  " People come to the interview saying they are SCJPs but when I asked them some questions they fall flat on their face." Its sad that such a good exam loses its credibility because of a few. If you have this mindset for having SCJP on your resume so that its easy to show off., please drop it. Its not a wrong desire to have SCJP stamped on your resume but doing it just for aesthetic purposes doesn't work out well.

There's also  a group that says certification exams are just a fad , real expertise comes by practise and experience. Though the statement isn't entirely wrong, I wouldn't call it a fad. Expertise comes not only by experience but also by study. When a new joinee - software engineer or a student works on a project, the tools he can apply are limited to only what he studied in his college. What this exam gives you is a whole set of tools and arms in your arsenal to prevent you from falling into traps and getting the work done with a professional signature.

For any Java programmer who wants to improve his skill in OO concepts, I strongly recommend to take up this exam. The only book I used  to study for the exam was "SCJP Sun Certified Programmer for Java 6 Study Exam 310-065 Guide" by  Sierra and Bates. I don't want to appear like a marketing agent but this book,undoubtedly has the stuff to enlighten. I find myself referring to this book frequently to refresh myself with some topics.

This exam really drills you to know the nuts and bolts of  core Java. Everything else builds on these principles. So take up this exam to be proficient in the language. As an average smart person I would advise you to study the book for a whole month and give time to absorb the concepts. By the time I took the exam I had 2 years of work experience in Java/J2EE. So it gave me a lot of insight into the stuff I missed altogether. I really wished that I had taken this exam before.

So when are you becoming a SCJP?

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