I had decided to learn Java almost on a whim a few months ago, and after some intense studying, my work finally paid off. I passed the Java 1.4 certification exam today, and I am happy to report that I am now a Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP)!!! I am posting this thread with some advice for any future Macrumors members interested in learning Java and/or getting certified. It is very doable regardless of your background--I am a financial analyst who majored in History back in college. I also wanted to say that OS X is a great Java development platform, and I had a much better time coding on my TiBook than on my Wintel box at work. First, you need a good study guide. I recommend Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates' "Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 Study Guide" (you can find more info here). Both the authors were responsible for the Java certification exam's development, and the practice questions are very similar to the actual exam. The authors also cover exactly what will be on the 1.4 exam, so you will indeed be well prepared. Next, shell out an extra $75 to sign up for Sun's ePractice practice exams. You'll get three sample tests, and they will help you prepare for the exam by showing you how the questions will look and what type of questions they will ask. If you plan on taking the 1.2 exam, check out Khalid Mughal and Rolf Rasmussen's "A Programmer's Guide to Java Certification" (more info here). The book also has a dual purpose of teaching Java and sometimes goes beyond the actual scope of the exam, but it is nonetheless excellent. Avoid "Complete Java 2 Certification Study Guide (3rd Edition)." I don't know why so many people swear by it, but the book's coverage is quite weak, and the practice questions are not only a bit too easy, but they don't look very similiar to how it looks on the real test.