I passed my Java certification exam!

Discussion in 'Community' started by macktheknife, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. macktheknife macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2002
    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.
  2. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    Congratulations, macktheknife on being a Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP)!!!
  3. Will Jones macrumors member

    Dec 18, 2002
  4. 3rdpath macrumors 68000


    Jan 7, 2002
    2nd star on the right and straight till morning
    congrats...hope this doesn't mean we'll be getting less of your insightful financial advice.

    this sites already chock-full of techgeekdom....:D
  5. macktheknife thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2002
    Thanks for the kind words, folks. :D I hope to deepen my programming knowledge by doing some freelancing. I hope to land several J2EE projects to get some development experience and build a portfolio of work. Eventually, I would like to integrate my technical and financial skills and become a tech consultant for firms like Accenture, EDS, etc.

    Anyhow, if anyone is ever considering taking the Java certification exam, I would be glad to help. My only regret is that I didn't do this sooner when I was in college (about two and a half years ago). I was certain that programming just wasn't me since I was a humanities major. Boy was I wrong. Programming isn't easy, but it is hardly impossible if one puts some effort into it.
  6. MacFan25 macrumors 68000


    Jan 5, 2003
  7. MrMacMan macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2001
    1 Block away from NYC.
    Congrades, but how many mac Java people are there?

    I can't expect many...
  8. scem0 macrumors 604


    Jul 16, 2002
    back in NYC!
  9. macktheknife thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2002
    Thanks. I hope many more Macusers learn Java--it's an important programming language that make multi-platform development feasible. I've been hearing how many developers are already defecting to .Net, so I just hope enough people will continue to learn Java to make it a viable alternative.
  10. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    congrats on entering the world of IT certs

    in this fast moving field, more often than not, a certification is usually more helpful than a degree in landing jobs and clients

    it also opens you up to other certified techies and clubs and that's a great resource, too
  11. ooartist macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2002
    Spring Hill, TN
    Java/Mac User

    I am a Mac user (Switched March 02). I am Software Engineer and program in Java every freakin day.

    Macktheknife, congrats on the cert. I have the same one (1.2). Have you programed any in J2EE yet? You should go to JavaOne this June it's a blast. I have been 3 times.

    Good luck!

    BTW, I am Java programmer for a financial software company.


    P.S. Check out NetBeans for a nice free Java IDE for Mac.


  12. macktheknife thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2002
    Re: Java/Mac User

    Thanks again. :) I do indeed use NetBeans, and I have done a little J2EE programming on my own. I've got Tomcat, JBoss, and even the developer version of JRun on my TiBook running simple JSP, Servlets, and EJBs I've created. Of course, they're largely simple "toy" programs, but one has to start somewhere, right? :D

    I've been combing through the job search sites looking for an entry-level programming job. Programming jobs are still definitely plentiful, but many companies are looking experienced senior programmers. I can't blame them: the economy is in tough shape, and companies don't want to take a chance on an unproven rookie. Thus, I'm caught in a Catch-22 of sorts: I can't get a job unless I've got experience, but I can't get experience until I get a job. :rolleyes: If I had gotten certified during the late 1990s, I would have easily landed an offer! Timing, indeed, is everything.

    Anyhow, if anyone can give me some advice on getting a programming job, I'd appreciate it. I'm currently fully employed at a real estate and economics research consulting firm, so I'm hardly desparate. I'm just looking to do something different while I'm still young.

    Thanks again for the kind words, everyone!
  13. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    Re: Re: Java/Mac User

    i am a techie now, for the past few years, but i got my degree in hr and worked the hr field for a time after college

    send me your resume...you don't have to use real name/places if you don't want to...and PM it to me here or put it on this thread and i could give you some pointers

    there is always someone who will take you because not everybody has the budget for a senior programmer and high tech in general has a ridiculously high turnover rate so there are always openings all the time

    and after this tech downturn ends...later this year, next year, or sometime later...there will be a push to get a lot of people back and many of those will have found other, more rewarding jobs outside of IT

    lots of people entered IT because of the perception of making more money (and dot.com startups and the like) and when they saw the real, tedious work of IT day in and day out, they bolted...especially programmers
  14. szark macrumors 68030


    May 14, 2002
    Re: Re: Java/Mac User

    I think a good way for you to keep in practice (and potentially gain experience) is to try and write programs that would help you at work. Make some small helper applications and/or try to duplicate some of the functionality of major programs you currently use. Even if you don't actually use them, it will give you experience in programming.

    When I was first learning programming in high school, I worked part-time at a movie theatre. I created programs to print out showtime lists for the employees, calculate the exact number of letters needed to change the external signs, and eventually created my own ticketing system (not completed, but it did work across multiple computers).

    It may not be "business" experience, but if you can show them examples of your ability to program, I'm sure it will help you land a job.
  15. macktheknife thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2002
    Thanks for the advice. I will try to get some programming in at my job. We are a small firm, so it is very easy for me to take on large responsibilites. Our company's website runs on JRun and uses Oracle 8i as the database to hold our real estate, economic, demographic, and financial data. I am trying to convince my CEO to let me take greater responsibility for our website, so this channel might yet bear fruit.

    In any case, I have attached my resume as a PDF file below. I removed my personal info on top just in case for security reasons. I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions.

    Attached Files:

  16. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    you have a strong set of skills, but since it is spread out over a few different fields...history, finance/economics, IT, languages...and what you want is the IT part (java), then it is wise that you put the java certification first on your resume

    good call

    to make the java part stand out more, reduce the non related portions of the resume to get the document printed to just one page...and reduce font to 11 point if necessary...some see 10 point as too small

    for someone just out of high school or college, it is usually best to put education first on a resume...for anyone else, put it at the end

    there are two exceptions:

    1) for applicants in the field of education
    2) for applicants changing their emphasis from one discipline to another...and are still relatively young

    if you want to change your field but have a lot of experience or are older, then put the education portion last on your resume

    most of the time, add dates for the time your graduated or studies a topic, unless you are brand new and just graduated and don't want to call attention to the fact that you are new

    i hope this helps

    for anyone with 5-10 years of adult work experience or more, your work record is your ticket to the next better job or promotion

    don't make the mistake of trying to think that hr officers will look at education over work experience

    only if you have very few years of work experience should you put down your education as the main emphasis of your resume...and that is to distinguish you from a young person with no experience and no education

    but in a chosen field that does not require a degree specifically for the job, and most jobs don't have to have degreed people in 100 percent of the cases, the resume with the experience and no education will almost always win out over a resume with education and little or no experience

    the first few years out of high school or college will be rough for most people and that is to be expected, but once you get a few years behind you, especially in your field, then the doors open up

    time and the gift of being able to be patient for delayed gratification are one's friend in the work world

    many people are hired on experience alone...even if they are not that good...and many are hired because of friendship and family connections and you have to wait those out, too

  17. macktheknife thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2002
    Thanks for the advice, jefhatfield. I plan to get more computer-related experience by volunteering for my local university's computer facility. I also hope to land some simple web-related contracting jobs to build my portfolio of work. Lastly, I'm considering putting up a website for new Mac programmers.

    Thanks again!
  18. jaykk macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2002

    Congrats from another java certified programmer. Well done..keep it up :)
  19. mymemory macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2001

    Now you can work at the Java Caffe down town here in Caracas:D
  20. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    as long as you have at least one degree or certification within the last three years, you will always be on the A list as far as credentials go

    many people in IT make the mistake that it is like other fields where a degree, like a BA/BS in some other field, or a certification or designation, like CPA or attorney, will stay with you for life

    any IT cert over 3 years old is worthless and any IT degree, except for ee/el/engineering technology, is pretty much kaput after five years...on the outside

    the high tech field has redefined the term "rat race" so in this field, it is literally one day at a time and IT is not a career, but a day to day set of tasks and problem solving

    and if you find this fun, it is your field

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