Consider this the biggest change in the realm of Java
certification since the SCJP (Sun Certified
Java Programmer) designation was first introduced over ten years ago.
Big Changes in the Java Certification World
So what’s changing? Well, at the most fundamental level, the JDK version being tested has been
updated. The latest incarnation of the Java Professional designation from Oracle will be testing
candidates on version 1.7 of the JDK, not Java 5 or Java 6, as the previous examinations did.
Secondly, the name of the designation is changing. There is no longer a Sun Certified Java
Professional (SCJP) designation. Instead, the new vernacular is OCP, standing for Oracle
Certified Professional. Of course, Oracle
started with this re-branding of the designation once the Sun takeover was completed. However, the
old SCJP name has managed to stick around, largely owing to the fact that the actual exam never
really changed, either in content or format. This time though, the change is significant, so you
can kiss the old SCJP name goodbye.
Thirdly, you can no longer simply walk into a Prometric testing center (Pearson
VUE is the new exam proctor), correctly answer
the majority of the sixty or so question, multiple-choice exam, and walk out with your Java
Professional designation. Obtaining the Professional designation
is now a two step process, which starts first with passing the Oracle
Certified Associate exam, or as it’s referred
to on Oracle’s certification site, the Java SE 7 Programmer I test. Once you pass the new Associate exam, you are then qualified to write the Java SE
7 Programmer II exam, and if you pass that, you’ll have gained your Java
The Cost of the Java Professional Certification
And finally, the last major change is the cost. In years past, writing a Java certification exam
meant your wallet would be lighter by $150 or $200. In recent times though, the price to sit an
Oracle certification exam has been raised to $300. The cost of taking the OCP exam will likely
remain at the $300 rate. However, since the $300 OCA exam is a prerequisite, you will now have to
pass two exams to obtain your OCP designation, which means people who aren’t fortunate enough to
simply write an upgrade exam are looking at a whopping $600 price tag in order to become a
certified Java 7 professional.
A More Affordable Option?
One way around the cost is to write the beta exams while Oracle tweaks the final product. You can
currently write the Java
SE 7 Programmer I test while it is in beta for only $50, although the
opportunity expires on December 17th, so you better book now. The Java SE 7 Programmer II test has not gone to beta yet, but that will
likely be announced within the next couple of months, giving early worms a chance to pass both
exams for the low, low price of only $100.
Of course, if you miss out on the beta, you better start saving. A $300 Java Professional
certification will soon become a thing of the past.
By the way, the old SCJP/OCP 6 exam won't be retired for a while, so another angle on getting your
Java Professional certification in one
fell swoop is to pass the prior exam. There are
some great resources on the market that will help you pass the exam quickly, including the
Java SE 6 Programmer Practice Exams (Exam 310-065) (Certification Press)
Java SE 7 Programmer Study Guide (Certification Press)
Sun Certified Programmer for Java 6 Exam 310-065
Programmer's Guide to Java SCJP Certification: A Comprehensive Primer (3rd Edition)
Sun Certified Java Associate Study Guide for Test CX-310-019, 2nd Edition
Check out these other tutorials from TheServerSide's Sal Pece and Cameron
McKenzie covering the new Java 7 features:
Java 7 Features: Binary Notation and Literal Variable Initialization
Java 7 Features: Numeric Underscores with Literals Tutorial
Java 7 Features: Using String in the Switch Statement Tutorial
Java 7 Features: The Try-with-resources Language Enhancement Tutorial
Java 7 Features: Automatic Resource Management (ARM) and the AutoCloseable Interfact Tutorial
Java 7 Features: Suppressed Exceptions and Try-with-resources Tutorial
7 Mock Certification Exam: A Tricky OCPJP Question about ARM and Try-with-Resources
Exam to Debuts in March 2010. OCPJP Released in June?
& OCAJP Java 7 Exams: Oracle Drops the Training Requirement