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News: Article on The Sun Certified Web Component Developer Exam Posted

  1. A new article by Pradeep Chopra, on preparing for the Sun Certified Web Component Developer (SCWCD) Exam has been posted on TSS. The SCWCD has become one of most popular and valuable certifications in the domain of J2EE. This article will help you understand the objectives, preparation requirements and resources available for this certification by Sun Microsystems.

    Read "The Sun Certified Web Component Developer (SCWCD) Exam"

    Threaded Messages (71)

  2. Hi,

    I do not believe in certifications.
    Most of the time, certification implies memorising a book or an API.

    Nothing, in my humble opinion, replaces experience and the way one thinks.

    Certification does not teach you: politics, team working, to think beyond what you have been certified for, ...;today, consultants, developers, ... must be technology agnostic.

    However, studying for a certification can be good as one becomes aware of threading issues, transactions, and so on.

    But still, when I interview people, I do not look for certification, but I ask people to think when facing a specific theoretical (or not) problem – without predefined answers.

    Regards,

    Thierry Janaudy
    Jyperion Ltd
  3. Of course, nothing can beat true experience but certification helps in gauging a person to atleast some extent. We atleast know where to start when interviewing a person. Like we don't have to ask a SCJP (Java Programmer) on multiple inheritance in java. So I consider certification only as a matter of gauging people on where could be and where to start. And then there are other good certifications like the java architect which one could use to learn a lot of stuff which even experienced architects might not know sometimes. Certifications do have their own importance but not as much as experience.

    Shiva.
    Talaris Inc.
  4. I disagree. Experience is good....but awareness of the inner workings of a new technology takes time.
    Learning for the exams gives deeper knowledge about specific important topics. For example in the J2EE exam one has to learn everything about servlets(its superclasses in detail, in detail about HttpRequest,HttpResponse,the ServletContext etc) . Experience in writing code may never give you a deeper understanding for along while. So a bit of experience + the certification is good. Well one could read a book...but human beings need an objective a goal and so they do the certification(hence have a purpose for reading a book:)

    The foundation is stronger by getting certified.
  5. Not asking a question based on a cert is a bad idea. I have worked with several people who were certified that did not know a lot of the fundamentals that the cert exam was supposed to cover. All you know about a certified person is that at one time they could regurgitate answerers to some questions that they had studied. The ability to answer a question and the ability to use and understand that knowledge are two totally different things. To make the assumption that someone who is certified knows about inheritance is a VERY poor assumption.

    John
  6. <quote>
    Certification does not teach you: politics, team working, to think beyond what you have been certified...
    </quote>

    True. But you have to have something to help get your foot in the door. Everybody can BS a resume with a flood of bloated experience. Certifications MAY at least appear to some employers that you have something concrete to verify your knowledge. Once you get the interview, THEN you can demonstate what a swell person you are to work with.

    That said, I don't think certifications amount to much either. If took and passed the Programmer examine just to see what it was like. Let me tell, just knowing that stuff does NOT make you a good developer. It means you can memorize Java operators and keywords and the like.

    But, in this economy, why not try it? It just might help land a job?

    <quote>
    Today, consultants, developers, ... must be technology agnostic.
    </quote>

    Don't know about that. When I see resumes like...

    Technologies: Java, JSP, Servlets, EJB, VB, C, C++, PASCAL, Perl, SQL, PL/SQL, Ruby, Python, SAP, PeopleSoft

    ... I just chuckle. It is good to have some experience in a variety of languages/disciplines, but one would do well to focus on a certain group of closely related technologies (e.g. Java/AIX/Oracle, .Net, SQLServler, NT).

    Ryan
  7. Yes, Ryan's point is well taken. Certification surely adds a value to your Resume. I too get frustrated seeing a resume listing technologies from A-Z.

    Some people have the view that its even less worth getting any certification in tough mkt conditions but I've seen the reverse of it.
  8. I tend to disagree. A couple of years ago I met a consultant, certified in PB to the highest level. He was allowed to touch the database and set a timestamp as primary key.One can easily imagine what happened next:-)). His resume, the oposite of your "frustrating" ones. Focused on just a couple of technologies.(Paul Valery had the definition of the expert: an individual that knows everything about nothing).

    I'm pleased to know that there are companies(I presume like yours) where technologies don't change every six months.

    DODO
  9. My 2 cents:

    1. About the quote:

    <quote>
    Today, consultants, developers, ... must be technology agnostic.
    </quote>

    perhaps it should be modified - it's better to leave 'developers' out of the quote:

    <quote>
    Today, useless consultants must be technology agnostic.
    </quote>

    2. About experience:

    Experience is a double edged sword: too much experience can hinder your own desire to experiment with new technologies, or new ways of doing things. Then, too less experience can make you feel not knowing where to start. Often, 'wrong' experience is even worse than not having any. I was once told my 'extensive' experience in C++ WILL negatively lead me to do C++ style programming in Java. I felt insulted at the time, but I quickly learned that it took some efforts to shake off old habits :-)

    The best combination may be some basic experience with a drive and intelligence to find solutions to problems.

    3. About certification:

    Again, too much or too little is not a good thing. If you just get started, you may want to prove to yourself and others that you can pass one or two certifications, for whatever they are worth. When you are already a seasoned developer and you are still expending weeks of your time taking certification exams, it seemed rather wasteful and silly. Perhaps it is better to have a habit to regularly scan the relevant materials (books, articles, postings, emails, news, etc etc) and to have the ability to find the 'right' ways for the job at hand.

    At the end of the day, people appreciate what you can DO than what you KNOW, unless you are a 'consultanting consultant'. And what people appreciate will lead you to the next job...
     

     
  10. I worked with a bunch of java managers and senior java developers,they are "experienced" and none is certified,
    since you are experiened,but they wrote code something like this:
     
     applet say app.destroy(){ super.destroy();} where
     app extends Applet,

    they do know pattern such as singleton , but don't
    know how to apply state pattern correctly, they don't
    have college degrees, since experience is everything,
    when talking about thread monitor, they think it is
    simple object that can be looked at in the netscape's
    memory and thread dump files, but they sounds like know
    very well about java, ....their salary is over 100K,
    I think real experiened java developer should pass
    the certification "easily" it will not cost you much
    time and money, in my opinion, certification can at least
    screen out those claimed experienced guy,so for those
    experienced one , why so negative about certification.
  11. Guowei Zhang,

    I am not "negative" about certification.

    The case that you describe is extreme.

    It happens from time to time, but they are easily spotted, and fired straight away; if not, well, ... at least people like that did not last long in my previous companies...

    t
  12. Certification will cost me a non-zero amount of time and money. It will bring me zero benefits (I have a job and have no worries about getting jobs in the future based on my skills and experience). I have *never* been asked about certification at a job interview. Because of that I don't consider it worthwhile.

    Yes, getting on a course or studying for an exam will focus your mind on fundamental understanding in a way that experience sometimes doesn't. But you can choose to focus your mind on these areas without certification or courses.

    To me, the really valuable developers are those that learn when they are not spoon-fed courses or certification opportunities. It shows motivation, initiative, independence and ability to think for yourself.

    If all developers became certified with a good score then certification would be useless as you wouldn't be able to use it to tell the good from the bad.

    You might think that it would at least guarantee a minimum ability. That's folly, it only guarantees an ability to pass the certification, not an ability in the real world.

    Being a good developer is *so* much more than remembering lists of facts or what the classes and methods in the servlet API are called.

    If your colleagues earn 100K without passing a certification, you'll have a hard time persuading them to take one :-) They may not know all the theory, but maybe they "get the job done" and sometimes that's what the employer values most.

    Getting it done is often more important to employers than getting it right.
  13. <quote>
    Getting it done is often more important to employers than getting it right.
    </quote>

    I basically agree with this statement, except for when the employer is yourself. Then you want to get it done and get it right, in that order.
  14. In a world where the only thing that matters is the quality of your code, certification would be extremely valuable. In a world where there was no time to learn anything, certification would be extremely valuable.

    Since neither of these things are true, the value of certifying yourself as a developer only makes sense to developers who:

    1) Cannot speak well enough to communicate efficiently to people and therefore rely 100% on their brain power to prove their worth.
    2) Feel that nobody will hire them unless they can fully understand every single Java API ever created, be able to give several examples of each, and never have to leave their cubicle.
    3) Have something to prove ( ie. new entry to the industry or has been taking the insults on this website too seriously ).

    I have never met any serious developer who, if s/he did not "know" something well enough to answer it on a test, could not find the time to learn it. I knew *ZERO* about all the J2EE APIs when I got my job a few years ago with a company that wanted to use EJBs and JMS. I had no certification or anything, but I guess I had the savvy to convince my employer that my previous experience and successes qualified me for the job. I went on to create a B2B system that would probably put most of these certifiable hacks to shame. I didn't waste my time memorizing specs and APIs -- I learned them when I had to, period.
    That's great that some of you feel that you can leverage the certification to get you more respect and $$$, but if that's the only way you can learn, I feel sorry for you. The secret of success is not having a bunch of paper that tells people what you know, it's having the intelligence to make those kinds of people look silly for promoting it.

    Basil.
  15. Here is what studying for certification exams did for me: it led me to learn things that slipped through the cracks while learning on the job. It helped me connect previously unconnected dots and make new connections between old dots.

    As a result, studying for certification is a nice supplement to the practical knowledge and experience.

    What is killing the recognition of the cert exams, both MSFT and SUNW ones, are the abysmally low passing scores -- 61-70% would even earn you a "C" in a typical college course! I would set it to 85-90%.
  16. I completely agree with Boris.
  17. Good for you. You clearly found it worth the time and expense to study for and take the certification. I don't.

    I think the pass rate is irrelevant. My argument is that certification doesn't tell you much about whether someone will be a good developer.

    I don't know about the specific exam in question, but many of the questions I have seen in others are never situations you encounter in real life. Instead they are often obscure syntactical posers, with "What will happen when this code is compiled?"-style choices.

    These are pointless premises. In reality, I'll always hit the compile button and see what happens, not stare at the code and solve it like a crossword puzzle.

    Other questions are often about remembering API calls and method names. Again, this is irrelevant. I'll always have the API Javadoc open ready to refer to instantly when doing a real development. Modern IDEs assist and auto-complete when writing code.

    Useful questions would be open-ended problem solvers - e.g. "write an application to do X using Y and X" involving live development. However, these require time-consuming human marking and don't fit into convenient multiple-choice automated systems.

    One of two things would be make me get certification:
    1) Employers start demanding it irrespective of experience
    2) The certification becomes a meaningful test of development ability


  18. Tom:

    I am certainly not defending "human compiler" questions. However, there are fewer and fewer of them as time goes by -- I have been taking cert exams on and off since 1997 and got to see most of their evolution.

    Also, in higher-tier certifications, such as SCEA (Sun Certified Enterprise Architect), you do not see such nonsense at all.

    The SCEA questions are set along much more practical lines, such as picking the best technology fit for a given situation, identifying strengths and weaknesses of a given design, etc.

    While exam does not *tell* an employer that you are a good developer, it does:
    a. *increase chances*, that you are.
    b. shows a drive to professional self-improvement.

    Just my $.02
  19. Yes for Boris

    :)
  20. No for Boris.

    Beleiving Boris's words on "no nonsense" SCEA:
     
    I would be happy to take Sun Certified Enterprise Architect.
    Why do have to go through all these prerequisite non sense?
    I have enough Java experience to take SCEA alone. Is this
    not a money making ploy to make people pay for mandatory
    pre requisites. I beleive industry experience should be
    counted towards exemptions.

    Before taking SCEA, I would consider the cost

    AND

    I would like to see job requirements mentioning SCEA.

    Soumen Sarkar.
  21. Soumen,

    1. SCEA has *no prerequisites* -- so there is no "all these prerequisite non sense" to go through and there is no need to request any "exemptions". For more details see http://suned.sun.com/US/certification/java/java_archj2ee.htm

    2. As far as the cost is concerned:
    a. Just as any for-profit business, SUNW is expected to charge for its services.
    b. The exam costs $550 for all three parts in the U.S. -- hardly an extrorbitant amount for someone working as a senior-level developer or an architect.
    c. By getting certified you are making an investment in yourself -- and when it is backed by actual skills and experience it would probably pay off.

    Boris
  22. ok Guys,
       Here's my 2 cents :
       An SCJP exam actually helped me get through an interview with little experience in Java. Howzzat ?
    Its my personal experience, that a certification will NOT harm anybody... but it "may" do you some good.
    Even if it u know it does not do you any good, take it, who knows, some dude sitting out there might think a certification is an advantage and will offer u the job.

  23. There's two ways of looking at this.

    1. Is certification good for getting a job?
    2. Does certification benefit employers?

    (1) may be true. It certainly sounds as if you got a job despite your lack of experience on the strength of your certification. I think for junior developers it could be worth it. For senior positions, I've found employers are much more interested in experience.

    (2) is probably untrue. Your employer probably thought he was getting someone experienced because you had the certification. You may or may not have turned out to be any good. He may have got lucky, but he would have lowered his risk if he'd depended on experience instead.

  24. My 2 cents.

    If you are just starting or a junior programmer, then certification will help you beef up your resume.

    If you have years of experience then certification tells me nothing.

    However, if you got years of experience and you have certification in something tangential from what you actually do, then that counts for something. Say, I'm a Java guy who does most of his stuff in IBM stuff, now if I got an Oracle certificate from DB admin (something I don't do for a job), well then that adds something.

    In short, if you got no experience or aren't being paid to explore a particular area, then get certified for it. Otherwise, you should already know it and no amount of certification is going to convince someone that you are better than the next experienced guy.
  25. Agree with Carlos on this one. I have years of experience in technologies not at all related to Java or J2EE, and the Sun Certification exams provided me with a methodical and goal-oriented guideline to becoming familiar with the nuts and bolts of the Java world. A successfully completed certification exam, if nothing else, allows me to feel that I have covered and understood the certification subject to an acceptable degree.
  26. Boris,

    I respect your knowledge and experience of SCEA.

    But to answer your points with my take:

    2a: I've no problem with Sun charging for certifications.

    2b: I'd rather spend $550 on some good books than on an exam, or maybe on a workshop session.

    2c: I have better ways (in my opinion) of making an investment in myself. It's interesting that you view certification as "backed by actual skills and experience". It makes it sound as if the certification is the most important thing. If certification has value, surely it should be: "actual skills and experience backed by certification"?

    Once again, it is not that I view the cost or time as excessive. Simply that I don't consider the benefits great enough to justify it. I've nothing against people who _do_ find certification valuable. Good for you. There is clearly a market for it.

    For the record, I've not taken any certifications myself but I have looked at study guides and considered the matter several times in the past.
  27. Tom,
      The only reasons why I see you against certification exams is :
    1. You must have failed miserably in all or them
    2. You must be scared that you may fail
    3. You must not be having the time and patience for reading the certification exam objectives. (and hence point No. 1)
    4. (This is hightly possible), you must be techinically inmcompetent , but good at copy paste.

    Dude, a good developer can always get things done without even knowing the fundas. For ex: u may not know RMI or EJB but still manage to write session beans and entity beans looking at the way your team mates write.
    But once you do a certification exam, you WILL have to learn the concepts.

    And anyway, a certification will not do ANYBODY ANY harm.
    But it may do a FEW, something good.

    Hope this helps
  28. This kind of personal attack does not help the discussion.

    I can launch a "personal attack" by accusing that you
    stand to benefit dirctly or indirectly by keeping the
    "certification hype" alive. You know Jack Grubman -- the
    famed Wall Street telecom analyst. Please study the reasons
    why he maintained the rating on WCOM positive till very
    few days of WCOM bankruptcy. The absence of "objective
    rating" in many areas of business causes trillions of
    dollar of shareholder wealth vanish overnight.

    Please substantiate by actual job posting requring Java
    certifications. Specially for beginners, fresh grads,
    others trying to break new grounds -- I will be very happy
    if they can testify that certification helped them. I
    would like to see entry level positions mentioning cert
    as a plus point.

    Just some hunch, hope -- not good enough for me. I beleive
    the following needs to happen:

    * No "human compiler" questions

    * Passmark 80%

    * Some descriptive questions like

      Explain the difference between Java interface and
      abastract class.

    * Solid marketing from SUN, IBM, ORACLE to employers
      regarding why requiring cert in job req is better. At
      present it looks like the marketing is good on the
      "certification consumer" side.

    Soumen Sarkar.
  29. hi Mr Sarkar,
       Nobody's making a personal attack. I am just trying to figure out why Mr Tom is against certifications. If he's so confident himself, why can't he just spend time and a little money to take exam ?
    I dont benefit a penny by keeping the "certificaion hype" alive. Your apparent analogy is pretty amusing, though it lacks substance and it pretty baseless and has taken a wild turn.
    I think someone is trying to suggest that Sun is gonna be bankrupt pretty soon . Now thats food for thought !

    There are actual job postings in newspapers which give preference to Java certified professionals. (Unless you read the newspaper how would you find out !)

    I've seen developers making complier question mistakes 'n' number of times. And then get a screenful of error messages on their console. Hence the "human complier " questions , to a certain extent, a must.

    Passmark 80% - explain why ?

    Descriptive questions ? who is gonna verify its validity ? are u free 24 hours to do it ?

    Certification does not need any marketing. It needs awareness which some of you don't have any.

    I'm surprised after so many "so-called" experienced professionals are actually "scared" of taking a certification exam. Alas !
    Soumen Sarkar.
  30. How odd! I thought I was pretty clear on the reasons why I am against certification?

    Please don't export your snap judgements to a public forum. I don't presume to judge you, so please do me the same courtesy in return.

    I'm afraid your comments didn't help me.
  31. I do agree with Deepak, in that Certifications do not harm you. It helps you learn some of the concepts that are not used in real life and are often asked in technical Interviews.

    So, certifications not only increases your chances to land an interview, but helps you fare well in the Interview as well.

    Obviously, nothing comes for free...and does need some effort!!!

    Krish
  32. Hi,
    I am not agreed with you. I think to give your thoughts a proper shape one needs to have basic knowledge of the topic or domain. Certification helps for that.
    As you might remember in your must have been forced to remember numbers , alphabates and number of other things without giving any thought why are you doing that. Lattter you are able to express your self because of that sound knowledge of numbers and alphabates . Similarly i be;lievecertification gives you a confidance level to speak and to speed up your thought process.

    Mohan Khilariwal
  33. The difficulty I have with the Thierry's (but commonly held) view that "I do not believe in certifications" is that at the end of the day a certification is just an academic qualification. Just like a high school certificate or a master's degree.

    So Thierry's view sounds very much like "I don't believe in academic qualifications" - whether this was intended or not. As a society, rightly or wrongly, the prevailing view is that academic qualifications do have value. The questions we should be asking are similar to those we should be asking when considering someone who has a degree: how much value does a certification have and in what context?

    I was told at the start of my first degree that the true purpose of the degree was to teach the student how to think. The subject matter would have very little direct relevance 40 years down the road. 20 years later I think that this was an excellent observation: I agree with Thierry on without reservation on the value of the thought process itself.

    Do certifications based upon recollection of an API measure that quality of one's thinking? I don't think so and agree with Thierry. But is this what such certifications are intended to show? No, I don't think so either - instead they are intended to indicate a depth of knowledge of the API and some understanding of how and why it should be used.

    On the other hand, certifiations based upon performing a practical project or exercise (SCJD/SCEA and the like) do require the candidate to demonstrate the thought process. Indeed the only thing that's really being measured *IS* the thought process. The end solution that's arrived at is really quite incidental: there are many ways to skin a cat, so to speak (because I don't have a lot of cat-skinning experience to fall back on, you understand!).

    In both the SCJD and SCEA exams Thierry will be pleased to know that there are no predefined answers or (and this is what makes them challenging) a completely defined problem. The deliberate ambiguities force the candidate to think a lot harder than in real life where one has the luxury of asking for clarification.

    The two types of certification (API-based and exercise-based) place emphasis on different skills: factual knowledge/recall and the thought process. Both are important. It is, IMHO, an error to believe that what's truly important is experience and the thought process while dismissing a thorough factual knowledge. And vice versa. Both are important.

    A great orator selects words from a substantial vocabulary (factual knowledge) and combines with skill (experience the thought process) to devastating effect. A great developer does likewise with a thorough knowledge of APIs and the skill and experience with which to apply them.

    To be fair to the SCEA qualification, Sun has tried to combine an assessment of factual knowledge and skill under the same banner. SCEA is either very easy (if you have bags of experience and a good factual knowledge) or very hard(if you haven't). As such, it's very useful.

    I disagree with "nothing...replaces experience". IMHO this is an urban myth that we frequently buy into. Experience can often be useless or poor as well as enlightening and valuable. The trouble is, we can't always be sure which until we know more and have contrasting experiences to show us how little or much we really understood without the benefit of hindsight.

    An objective of education is the acquisition of knowledge and understanding without necessarily getting it via the route of real-world experience. This is one of the principles on which design and analysis patterns are founded: the distillation of the experiences of *many* analysts and developers into *wisdom*.

    In summary, I find it difficult to be dismissive of certifications to the extent that Thierry seems to be. That would be hypocritical, too, because I have a bunch of 'em. Studying or doing the practical work for certifications has helped me enhance my skills so for me it has been a consistently positive experience. Was it worth paying for? On balance, I think so...the cost/benefit ratio in terms of skills was at least as good as my masters degree course.

    Finally...is the certification valuable to employers? Ah...now that's another story and is as much a function of the employer as it is the certification itself. If they understand the certification and what it measures then yes. If not then no. Certifications are just one part of a CV or resume that, like the rest of it, I would take account of without dismissing them or relying on them to the exclusion of all else.
  34. Hi,
    It is a nice and educated discussion. I just want to add my 5 cents here (everybody else were adding their 2 cents so far).

    Those who hate certifications, I do not want to side with them. I want to make my stand very clear here. Those who say certifications add little benefit to you, I also do not side with them.

    My reasons for not siding with the above people:

    1. In my view certifications give you a base to start from. It is like getting a graduation degree first and then haunting for a job.

    2. When asked to do certifications, the subject matter goes through a series of intensive revisions and you have an objective goal to grasp each and every minute concept. I am talking about people who target for 100% score. Not just passing any exam.

    3. The uncertified people will rely on a search engine (google, altavista etc.) for acquiring most of their so-called practical knowledge. The certified ones will be better in their googling skills. They will go to these less number of times and their effectiveness in searching will be far better than uncertifieds.

    4. After all how do experience comes to people? By doing so many things incorrectly first and then correcting it later. Certifieds do it more correctly at the first go and hence get a lesser chance of corrections later. Let's take an example. Just remember, how many times have you seen people doing an enterprise project and start tuning it in production? I have seen every project starts with a bunch of these experienced ones, and then at the end, when it comes to performance, a coding practice document is written. And then people start understanding the concepts of efficient collection classes, unnecessary object creation etc.

    5. Regarding the job market. The IT indusry is still in its infancy. There are not many qualified people (developers or managers). If there were good managers, the decision to whom to hire would be very matured. So far the trend has been if a project misfires, fire the manager (so-called responsible person for the project). No body has turned the heat on the developers yet. When that maturity wil be there in the market, you will see the compulsion to get certified not just to show it on your resume but to understand the concepts well.

    6. Why people are hired now irrespective of their incompetencies? Simple answer. There are not enough qualified people. When the situation will change with more talented people flowing into the industry from the academia every year (I am sure the trend has started), your jobs will no more be safe.

    7. So even if you argue here for not being certified so far, it is better to get certified in one of your favorite skillsets. So that we can have another good technical discussion 10 years down the line in some other tech forum.

    8. Take certification as somebody's opinion on your competency. Do not fight back.

    Thanks,
    Ardhendu
  35. Compiler Questions[ Go to top ]

    Tom,
    You had argued that the compiler questions are not required in SCJP exam. And Sun Micro System should change those kind of questions.

    And you had a smart answer to compiler problems also. Just by applying javac command you will know how many compiler problems are there in your code. If I will put a less experienced human compiler by your side and ask both of you to code a simple Java program, you will go back to your code repetitively (of course by applying javac) and still would not be sure whether the code you produced was better than the human compiler. The human compiler will know where to put a try catch, where to define a variable so that it is not out of scope else where etc and will have fewer compilation problems.

    For a given project (a project always is executed with definite resources, people, time and money), you will have the limitations of a end-date. You produce code in 10 minutes and say the same equivalent type of code is produced by a human compiler in 6 minutes (you loose 4 minutes for going back to code time and again and recompiling), who do you think should be picked up for the project? You or the human compiler?

    The above comparisons may not sound very convincing. Let's take the examples of other well-known exams. Take for example GMAT. It is supposed to screen candidates for management education. Have you seen the type of questions asked in GMAT?
    They ask about counting the number of prime numbers between 1 and 100.
    They ask about your vocabulary power.
    They ask about very small arithmetic problems, the ones you had done in your high school diploma days.

    Why do they ask those questions for identifying a potential MBA candidate?

    Do they want to identify a human calculator? Prime numbers can be generated by so many means. Why is is that a human being has to answer this kind of question in an exam?

    Or do they want to identify a human dictionary?

    And there are so many other prestigious examinations who share the same philosophy of asking so-called stupid questions.

    Thanks,
    Ardhendu
  36. pass mark of 61%? I'm sorry, but thats a joke....

    why is it, that someone can get 39% of the questions _wrong_ and still be "certified"? Is this to say that 39% of the time he/she will write bad code, make wrong assumptions, or just fail to do the job properly?

    I consider myself to be a professional, and expect other people I work with to be professional as well - and that means getting _everything_ right. Sure, there are bugs in programs - but look at the questions asked - if you dont know the answer to the questions, then you have a long way to go imho.

    my 2c
    dim.
  37. I just took SCJP and will eventually take SCWCD. I initially thought that 61% correct was a joke, but the tests are hard. From what I heard at the testing center over 90% of the people fail their first try. (I did.) I thought I knew the material well, and I was a good student in college, but it took one attempt just to understand the types of questions they were going to ask and to focus my studying. The practice exams I took misled me, they predicted I would pass pretty easily.
  38. I passed SCJP with 91% in first try,with just 8 months of Java experience and 15 days of prepratoion, but I dont think I became a developer by passing the exam. For being a good developer what is needed is hard earned experience. In one of the websites some one has rightly said certification only creates Paper Tiger.
  39. Some of you people are clueless, of course you don't become a developer by passing the Programmer exam. You need to pass the Developer exam to become a developer. :)

    Posted by Vikranth Vikranth 2002-08-13 23:52:02.0:
    I passed SCJP with 91% in first try,with just 8 months of Java experience and 15 days of prepratoion, but I dont think I became a developer by passing the exam.

  40. I have many, many certifications ... and what did they get me? Naaaddaaaa... 'Most' certifications are NOT worth the money or the paper they are printed on. IMHO , know your stuff, be able to backup what you say and certify if required.

    TK.
  41. One good thing about certification is that it forces you to study all the small details that you dont usually use on every day work. Thus, it gives you the familiarity on the API. If ever you need to implement something, you know where to look for it.

    In my opinion, the passing score for the certification should be higher, like 75%-80%. Because I know alot of people who passed the exam with just a barely passing score and when you interview them, you'd be disappointed because they know nothing. I think this is the reason why hiring manager are quite skeptical on certification because of these people. So to increase the value/worth of certification, Sun should make the passing score higher.
  42. Well,

    I guess that we all have our thoughts ;-)

    Someone said earlier in this thread that being certified for a product is more important that the technology itself.

    I must say that this is so true that now customers no longer ask “Do you know this technology?”, but more “Do you know this product?” (which – hopefully – implies that you know the technology).

    I work in the enterprise space with J2EE and .Net. .Net is easier obviously, because there is only one vendor. However, on the Java side, knowing J2EE 1.3 does not mean that you will be able to work as efficiently on a platform that you have never been working on before.

    I know WLS x, jBoss, Orion, Pramati, but would I be confident to apply my J2EE knowledge to IBM WebSphere?
    Yes, obviously on the design side. But coding/deploying/debugging? Not straight away. The use of Eclipse with WASD 4? Not straight away.

    But I will be able to.

    In order to achieve this, I see two solutions:

    - Working on my own and learn everything on the “new” product. No, I am sorry, I have a life after IT. Do not want to learn this until 10 p.m. each night.
    - Ask my company to pay me a 5 days course to be certified on this product. Yes.

    To come back to the J2EE or whatever certification, here is my secret: read the god damned specification :-)

    Personally, I had my “certification” when I did my MsCS. Do I need another one? Nope.
    I do not need to be certified on something that might become obsolete in the near future, or that might stick to you as a fly on a …

    Regards,

    Thierry
  43. Lu Huang wrote:

    =<quote>
    =Today, consultants, developers, ... must be technology agnostic.
    =</quote>

    ==perhaps it should be modified - it's better to leave 'developers' out of the quote:

    Point taken. However I’d like to think that developers are more than non-rechargeable batteries.

    Do not forget as well that I linked “experience” and “thinking”. You linked “experience” to technical stuff. I do as well, but not only.

    =At the end of the day, people appreciate what you can DO than what you =KNOW, unless you are a 'consultanting consultant'. And what people appreciate =will lead you to the next job...

    True. It has been working really well for me so far. I am not talking about “consulting consultant” of course ;-)

    Thierry


  44. I don't think so. If you really study the java for the purpose of certification, then it will give you the level of a 2 year experienced person. Of course , if you go for only some certification books and sample questions from nets , definitely you are correct. But if you really try to understand the java during your certification preparation , definitely I am correct.....
     
  45. Studying Java for certification will no doubt increase your understanding and knowledge (but no better than studying for its own sake). It may be that certification gives you the motivation that you lack otherwise to study Java.

    Study will _not_ give you 2 years experience (or the level of someone with 2 years experience). There's no shortcut to experience and judgement - it takes time and effort.

    Understanding examples in a study guide is long way away from experience putting them into practice. You can spend years reading books but there's no substitute for having done it.
  46. The article has useful info for those we are convinced that
    they need to take SCWCD or any other certification. However,
    it will be poor judgement to use this article to convince
    yourself about the need for certification. Please note that
    the author makes good claims about benefits of getting
    certified but alas! the author has vested interest in
    saying good things about certification. It can be compared
    to getting positive rating on stocks from an "independent"
    analyst who works for wall street banks. There has been
    so many analyst scandals lately on "conflict of interest
    issue".

    I beleive a better disclosure statement from author or
    TSS would have lent more credence to this article.
    My advice as a Java professional is to "totally disregard"
    author's advice about Java certification benefits and
    scour other sources for the same information. As I said
    earlier, this article is useful, if you have already
    convinced yourself.

    Soumen Sarkar
  47. Ms Sarkar,
      Have u managed to clear any certifications yet ?
    And please stop your anology with the "stocks".
    Certifications are NOT stock markets, for GOD'S sake.

    Deepak

     
  48. Mr. Deepak Mahbubani,

    Please understand that this is a forum. So I am entitled to my opinion on things of relevance. I would NOT launch any personal attacks or ask any personal question as you are doing. Please refrain from doing so. I am NOT obliged to answer any personal questions here. So I am ignoring you. If you have comments on the current thread, you are most welcome. Now coming back to the topic:

    I do not beleive certification improves one's chance of getting any jobs. As I said earlier, go for certification ONLY if you have nothing else to do. For fresh grads, I reluctantly recommend it, if they have no jobs.

    I beleive I can compare "positive hype" on certification
    to that of stocks (like WorldCom by a infamous Wall Street
    analyst). The comparison goes like this:

    1. Spread positive hype/hope on the benefits of
       certification (no hard data however).

    2. Companies/consultants benefit from the increased amount
       of "certification material consumer" activity. This
       could be buying books, test simulator, exam fee etc.

    So, dear readers, be aware before spending money/
    effort/time. I would not have sounded so CAUTIONARY
    regarding benefit of certification if anybody can furnish
    proof of job prospect improvement with certification.
    Something like job ad, hiring policy etc. I would be glad
    even if it is for fresh grads -- then at least they have some hope.

    Regards,
    Soumen Sarkar.
  49. <quote>
    From what I heard at the testing center over 90% of the people fail their first try
    </quote>

    You just made my day...but,

    My experience of the exam was that it's worth the weight of paper it was printed on. So many individuals who refuse to take any type of certification actually look down on those that have it listed on their resume. It's like a black mark to them.

    Subject wise some of the questions are just plain not adequate. I remember seeing one too many questions asking to find the error in a particualar code sniplet, and my favorite, if you did this and this error happened what would you do. I wish there was a choice: "I wouldn't do it again" listed.
  50. I think that certifations are a good thing. Sure, they do not substitute for experience, but they *do* increase your skillset.

    What I gained from certification (only SCJP so far):
    1. It filled in a lot of holes I missed in the workplace. These range from larger API issues such as better use of collections, to smaller syntactic knowledge. My code is now cleaner and I can spend more time thinking about the business model.
    2. Satisfaction in gaining a qualification and a piece of paper. Yes, it is only a piece of paper, but there is something rewarding in gaining it. It is something to aim for and a lot of fun along the way.

    If the certification itself does not greatly improve a developer, then at least it is a good indication that the employee is keen to improve their skillset. A positive attitude is a valuable skill in itself.

    Regards,
    Ben
  51. I did the SCJP and i can say, answering a couple of questions wrong will be a minor problem in "real programming". some of the questions or even the topics in the exams just want you to prove you understand everything, but often the questions are pretty irrelevant for daily coding

    greetings
    dan
  52. Hi,

    Firstly, I would like to thank TSS and Whizlabs for bringing out this valuable article.

    From my experience, I am really positive about the worth of any IT Certification. Surely, as said by others, certification alone is not sufficient to help you getting a job, especially in present market scenario. And also nothing can replace the worth of real time experience.

    But I must say that The Experience of Certification itself is worth it. I've been through this and gotta learn a lot. If you have experience, the worth is even more. It helps individuals commanding better work profile, salary and respect. For corporations, it helps them demand higher price for each consultant. I've seen both the benefits in last 2 of my organizations.

    I look forward to seeing more of such useful articles at this community.

    Thanks once again for a commendable job.

    Regs
    Christina
  53. Here are my views on certifications from Sun.

    I passed SCJP with a score of 92%, SCJWCD with 93% and SCEA Part 1 with 94%. I don't think the Sun certifications are valued a lot anymore. There are a lot of people who get it and they are quite easily achievable as I know people who have scraped though SCJP and still don't understand the basics of OO.

    So I am yet undecided on whether to spend 300 quid on SCEA part 2 and 3. I would rather do a Bea or IBM one that is valued more in the industry.
  54. I sat and passed this at beta stage where I had to sit through mountains of questions.

    I can assure you that it's not an easy exam hence the low pass rate.

    It is very hard to get a very high score - I think I got about 80%.

    What I'd like to see is grades within the certification, as brainbench do.

    If you achieve a certain level you are a master, another level is a straight pass.

  55. Experience? In a world where the technologies we use change drastically year to year, how do you define experience? If I was a carpenter, that argument might work. By the time you accumulate experience, the APIs/techniques you were using become out of date. For example, does your experience with architecting/developing an EJB 1.0 solution really hold much weight when dealing with EJB 2.0? It’s really a whole new ballgame.

    My experience has been that developers do the minimum learning required to get their job done. How many projects have you worked on where an organization has a shiny new J2EE 1.3 app server or new Servlet container but still implements solutions based on JSP 1.1 etc.? Surely these gentlemen are experienced, but they are not experienced with what is currently going on. Do you see where I am going with this?
  56. I do not agree with Thierry. Yes, of course Certification will not give everything you need to face the real world, but it does help you in getting the skills which you require.

    Also no certification has been built to teach politics, please don't mix those dirty things with certification. See the scope.
  57. The people who will value certification the most are new entrants to the IT market who have something to prove, or enthusiastic hiring staff who want to impress by having documented proof that they have researched the candidate.
    Naturally talented Java developers need not be concerned for obvious reasons.

    Basil.
  58. Probably for beginners doing "job serach" as well as
    "doing certification". Please do not get certified to
    increase your experience, rather, try to apply better
    algorithm, design pattern in your work. If you do not
    have work and want to break new grounds, may be you
    could take certification exam but DO NOT take any
    professional training -- big waste of money.

    Soumen Sarkar.
  59. experienced with what is currently going on. Do you see >where I am going with this?


    I can't figure out where you're going with this(I mean if you are pro or against certification) but you described the best scenario. I know somebody who took 2 years ago almost ALL Microsoft certifications and now he is going for Oracle ones. How does this help him? Microsoft's push is to replace all those technologies with .NET .
    You have to be certified almost every year just to stay in touch with technology,

    It's just a money machine

    DODO
  60. <Quote>
    I passed SCJP with a score of 92%, SCJWCD with 93% and SCEA Part 1 with 94%
    </Quote>

    Hum...Looks like your not only getting certifications but you getting better at taking them. Nice 1% improvement each time. :)
  61. Hi to everybody,

    Frankly speaking, I'm not really interested of taking any exam because I have to pay for it. I will take it only if it's free (company sponsored or not). How I wish we have a free certification exams, sponsored by www.freecertification.org?

    But anyway, I do believed that certification is a necessary evil (coz' it's not free!) for any company/organization. I do recommend certification for a company where employees are certified just to have a bottom line knowledge (minimum knowledge) for all employees involved in any java related projects.

    I'm also tired of people publicly boasting their exam results (90% and above). Does it make any difference? What is the significance of only one certified (in java) employee to a company? Compare this to most or all java developers are Sun certified? Which is more effective? If most java developers are certified, then the remaining will be force to be certified. If all are certified, then the employees are probably more productive and efficient. So they have more time to concentrate, to hone their development skills, and perhaps to become a professional developers in the future.

    Let's accept the reality. Not all people are talented!
    Now the question is how can you ensure that all java developers have a common base-line knowledge, like the level
    of knowledge on threading, exceptions, oo concepts?

    Let's just consider java certification as an entrance exam
    to our professional software development experience. Right?

    Below is a draft article I wrote for our internal training program. I decided to share it with you just to get some feedback. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. You
    can write to my private e-mail. Thanks.

    Best Regards,
    Daniel
    dscustodio at yahoo dot com

    Title: Training Plan (Not sure of the title)

    Introduction
    ============
    The primary purpose of a training plan is to develop the skills and knowledge of individual so they can perform their roles effectively and efficiently. We can't deny the fact that employees are the fuel of our service business and we should support employee's growth and advancement.

    The other purpose of a training plan is to help learners receive instructions with practical relevance to a workplace. This is not an easy task but we have to face the challenges.

    Training can be a significant investment and it has a long-term ROI(Return of Investment). We should identify the role, assess the skills, develop a comprehensive training road map, and perhaps store the training record of each employee.

    The goals of the training plan are the following:
      * To develop a custom training for each employee.
      * To provide an employee assessments like identifying its
        technical strengths.
      * To recommend a mix of instructor-led courses, online
        tutorials, and other training medium.
      * To identify the baseline knowledge for aspiring and
        existing distributed developers.
      * To identify the work force training strategies.
      * To know the tangible benefis of having certified
        employees.
      * To tap into vast store of knowledge employees possess.
      * To know the advantage of having an online knowledge
        base.

    What contents to include?
    =========================
    The best contents build on employee's current knowledge and skill levels that are relevant to work related activities.

    What is knowledge management?
    =============================
    We know that the primary assets of the company are the
    intellectuals. Intellectual assets (programming skills, best
    practices, etc. ) increases its value with use unlike physical assets (computers, books, etc.). Knowledge and intellect increases its value exponentially when it is shared. How do we share knowledge when valuable knowledge is stored on a few individual? Do we need knowledge sharing? Yes, of course. If not the impact could be significant. We have to organize our intellectual assets
    in such a way that are easier for the management to pick up what are useful and relevant. Do we need training? Yes, because without continuous training, people turnover will be higher and resulting to low morale. Who are involve? Definitely, it's the management team. Do we need to build the infrastructure for knowledge management and sharing? Yes.

    Goals of knowledge management:
      * To enable us to track employees progress.
      * To know the target competencies or target proficiencies.
      * To provide a standardized training for all employees.
      * To reorganized information that reflects our training
        needs for a job function.
      * To have foresight to manage our intellectual resources.


    How to strengthen the abilities of our IT teams
    ===============================================
       * Skills Assessment. It's the job of managers
         or human resources personnel to assess the skills of
         employees. There should be a standard format for
         assessing the skills of employees.
       * Individualized Training. This is very effective
         because the trainer can focus and pay more attention
         to a single trainee.
       * Team Training. Providing the team members with
         the base line knowledge relevant to its job function.
       * Mixed Training.


    Learning Management Systems
    ===========================
    There is a commercial software (maybe expensive) that can be used to manage diverse training medias.

    Training Methods
    ================
    There are varied preferences for every employee when it comes to training. In fact, several training methods are available. Here are the following.
       * Instructor-led training. This is the fastest and the
         most-effective way of training. The employee has an
         uninterrupted learning and can focus completely on the
         class.
       * Custom training. This is a training customized for a
         particular team or group of employees or for an
         individual.
       * Computer-based training (CBT). This is affordable and
         convenient to use. No time constraints, repeatable,
         and you can work with it in 24 x 7 mode.
       * Web-based training. This is also affordable and
         convenient. You can undergo training anywhere and
         anytime you want, you can schedule it, and you can
         even review it. It's also in 24x7 mode.
       * Personal training. A self-paced training for an
         individual.
       * Onsite coaching. It's more on mentoring. A
         talented team leader or a consultant can act as a
         mentor to team members.

    It's good for the company if we have a blended training curriculum where we don't rely alone with instructor-led training. We should utilized all forms of training methods such as web-based seminars, web casts, self-based distance learning, and so on, to attain the maximum benefit.

    The advantage of CBT and Web-based training is we avoid costly location-based instructor-led training like
    going to expensive training centers.

    Our ultimate goal is to have a fully-integrated training solution that allow the employees to take the necessary learning opportunity, carrier advancement, and that meet his training needs in order to be productive and effective. To achieve this goal, we should design and host a training portal so that everybody has a single point of access for all training services.

    Certification and Retention
    ===========================
    Proficiency of the companies are measured by the number of
    certified employees. Employees with high competency levels
    work productively and efficiently, and this results to higher employee retention, morale, and commitment.

    We should also remember that certified infrastructure, processes, and methodologies also increases the proficiency of the company. This can only be achieved if we adopt certified framework for software development like CMM (Comparative Maturity Model) or ISO certification.

    If we can achieve this and we distinguish by delivering
    outstanding service, then this will send a very strong message to the clients. Hopefully, we will get more big
    projects and the company will expand.

    Resource Allocation
    ===================
    How much resources to allocate for building an effective training solution or better yet the integrated training solution? Well, it's a management initiative/decision.

    Author
    ======
    Daniel S. Custodio
    dscustodio@yahoo.com
  62. I don't want to be "Certified" by Sun. Frankly, I think obsession with certification should be certifiable offence :-)

    Since I regularly started reading the JDK source code I've come to the conclusion that the people who need Sun certification the most are Sun employees.

    When they cease putting crap in the JDK I might consider Sun Certification worthwhile...
  63. Well i have a big collection of certifications with me including SCWCD with 84% (I appeared on 4th Aug 2001). But appearing in many interviews and applying for a good number of jobs, i am not able to get a good job. The thing is that most of the NON-Certifed people dont have a good understanding about the scope and goals of certification(s), I came across many of these who think that certified guys are this and that .... . Its the general feeling of the Industry that certification can easily be cleared by getting a good number of Mock Questions done etc etc.

  64. Visit www.operationbadar.edu.pk to look at HUGE Collection of Certified Pakistani's
  65. I'm considering studying for this exam. I've earned the SCJP 1.2 and SCJD 1.2 certs, but I'm not entirely sure that the value of this cert is worth the $150.

    I'm reading the prep book published by Manning:
    http://manning.com/deshmukh/index.html

    And it's excellent. I don't have a lot of experience w/JSP technology and this book not only covers the exam objectives but also gives you a very solid understanding of how the technology works under the hood.

    In my area (Washington DC / Baltimore) nobody seems to care about Java certifications whatsoever. IMHO, Sun does a poor job of marketing the program to employers and getting them to understand why certified people are more valuable than uncertified people.
  66. Hi All,

    Its really a nice piece of work by Whizlabs and TheServerSide. Very useful information for this not-so-easy exam.

    Not sure why but its very difficult swallowing so many negative remarks about certification. I always felt the benefit.. be it Java or Oracle. I've been helped by these certifications throughout my professional life.

    Neways everyone has their opinion and experiences and there is nothing like FACT.

    Expecting more such articles in future.
    Geff
  67. hi all,

    regarding the value of certifications, i think the discussion has overlooked one aspect.

    there is a signal value in educating yourself further, even if you do have a cosy wellpaid job.
    It is a good way of letting people know you are not stuck in a rut ( sun certifcations are not the only way of doing this of course).

    plus you get a nice little badge and a diploma ;-)

    sincerely
    morten wilken
  68. Strange how there is no objective in the exam about EJBs, I would expect a "Certified Web Component Developer" to at least have some knowledge about EJBs.
  69. I am a SCJP2 ,I believe taking this test will only make you aware of the basics of java programming language.
    For real thing prepare for Developer exam and later the architect ,they will make you a hardcore java guy.
    But thsi exam will let you know things that we ignore during normal course of learning,I feel one should not get frustrated if he does not gets a job he wants or work after getting certified.
    try for other certifications in the mean time.

    BTW :getting Micrsoft certifications is easier than this so of you are a looser take that.

    regards,
  70. "Eduardo Cobian's mock exam" is not so good. There are lots of type errors, questions are not clear and number of answers are not indicated, unnecessary details and some are not serious like this:

    ==================
    Question 29)
    Which statements are correct regarding the following jsp lines that use a tag library?

    <%! Vectot vector =new java.util.Vector();%>
    <% vector.addElement(&#8220;one&#8221;); vector.addElement(&#8220;two&#8221;); %>
    <prefix:suffix attr='vector' />

    1) A vector can't be assigned to a tag handler attribute
    2) The program will compile and assign the vector's content to the attribute attr.
    3) The program will assign the content of vector if assigment is: attr='<%= vector %>'
    4) Microsoft is the worst software company in history.
    =======================================================

    The author should not recommand it.

    JiRong
  71. Link to Sun tutorial on Tag Libraries points to old specification. I noticed at least one difference (EVAL_BODY_TAG) from new spec to this tutorial. If you are beginner be extra cautious when reading this tutorial. You should be referring API and Specs.
  72. thanks TSS, and every one else who replied to the article.. next month i am giving SCJWCD exam.