Win a copy of The Little Book of Impediments (e-book only) this week in the Agile and Other Processes forum!
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

BrainBench?

 
Unnsse Khan
Ranch Hand
Posts: 511
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello, fellow ranchers... Can anyone tell me what they know about the BrainBench exams? Are they recognized as much as certs like the SCJP?
Are they worth pursuing?
 
v giri
Ranch Hand
Posts: 128
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Certificate recognition and usefulness is very interesting. There are extreme viewpoints. The longest threads anywhere is always on this topic.
About Brainbench, the exams are certainly good. The problems related to brainbench exams are (1) They are not proctored - hence it is impossible to be sure about the identity of the person taking the exam (2) They are open-book - they actually encourage you to look up documentation by giving 180 seconds per question.
Nevetheless it is an extremely useful tool to validate your knowledge if you are honest to yourself. Use them extensively as all exams are free when they are introduced.
Just my 2 cents.
Best wishes
 
Anonymous
Ranch Hand
Posts: 18944
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Have recently heard from two different and very qualified sources that BrainBench results are highly regarded, whereas Sun certifications are not. The key factor was the percentile scores that come with a BrainBench exam.
The open book-ness of BrainBench is not unreasonable. Anyone who knows all the tiny details by heart is a bit odd. Real life calls for look-ups in the API all the time. Knowing where to look reduces time per question and is therefor worthwhile to measure.
 
Anonymous
Ranch Hand
Posts: 18944
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
>> worth pursuing
couldn't hurt.
You cannot make everyone happy. So, my two sources pan Sun certifications... do I then burn more free time to get BrainBench papers just to make them happy or do I wait until I meet someone who realizes that scoring 94th percentile on BrainBench, or having all 5 Sun/Java papers are just side notes? I'll choose the latter. Having an interviewer obsess about certifications is a red flag...
 
Sumit Amar
Ranch Hand
Posts: 180
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Khan
IMHO Brainbench exams w.r.t. Java, are really competitive. When I first took BB Java 2 exam back in 2000,I was surprised on it's level.
As far as the recognition is concerned, I don't think BB exams are anyway close to Sun's exams. However, you can use BB exams to benchmark your skills and monitor your performance.
 
Jeff Bosch
Ranch Hand
Posts: 805
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My employer, a worldwide IT provider, uses BB to screen potential applicants. (I have about a dozen or so BB certs.)
Also, I had a tougher time passing BB Java 2 than I did with Sun, partially because the BB exam covered topics that I hadn't worked on, while Sun's SCJP for the most part didn't.
I have had recruiters remark that they know and accept BB certification, especially in fields not covered by other exams. For instance, I have C Programming, Embedded Concepts, stuff like that. (C is still the primary language in embedded systems.)
And, in my opinion, any real-world exam on a complex topic should permit or even require lookup in standard reference materials. For instance, when I took my video engineer exam from the Society of Broadcast Engineers, I was permitted and encouraged to bring and consult standard reference works, because that's what you have to know how to do in the real world -- to solve a problem by looking stuff up!
Hope that helps.
 
Dave Cronin
Ranch Hand
Posts: 114
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As far as recognition goes, a Sun certification in Java is bound to better known than a cert from another vendor like Brainbench. After all, Sun have the brand name and marketing for Java. However, the Brainbench certs are certainly worth doing. Their Java 2 cert covers a wider range than SCJP for example, and is therefore a further challenge to anyone with SCJP. Their JSP and EJB2 exams (but not the Fundamentals level) are also on a similar level to SCWCD and SCBCD, so Brainbench can be an alternative to Sun's exams. And then there are Brainbench certs in areas that Sun just does not do (yet?), such as Java XML and J2ME. Brainbench have lots of other subjects also, and it is a useful exercise to take various tests to assess your own knowledge.
I don't think that open book exams are a problem, if you don't know the subject area you just won't be able to answer the questions no matter what reference you have, and many of the questions are of a problem-solving type anyway. As for a person's identity - have you tried asking a colleague to spend 1 or 2 hours of their time only to help your career? I'd think it unlikely.
While they may not be as well known as Sun, there are still a large number of employers that use Brainbench tests for pre-employment screening, so for those employers, their tests are very important.
Personally, I found their tests very helpful in improving my knowledge of various IT and business subjects. I also had the opportunity to develop their EJB2 cert and practice exam, and my experience is that their test development methodology is very thorough. Overall I'd say they are very worthwhile, but Sun's own certs are more important.
 
norman richards
Author
Ranch Hand
Posts: 367
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As a disclaimer: I am not a Brainbench employee, but I have contracted with them to help produce several of their Java tests. (I've worked on three or four of them over the last year)
A few years ago, I took a large number of Brainbench tests. I scored very high on them, (which was part of they hired me) but I've never once shown any of my scores to a prospective employer nor have I ever taken any sun certifications. I used the Brainbench tests purely to measure my own proficiency in certain topics. That's the most useful aspect of the Brainbench certifications. (or any other certification) The Brainbench ones are really nice in that regard because they give very specific advise about which areas you are deficient in.
If I were hiring someone I wouldn't really put much weight on this, or any other certificaton. No hiring manager should ever make a decision to talk to or not talk to someone because of a certification. Any manager who does that is just plain lazy. I would. however, consider giving a Brainbench test as part of the interview process for junior level candidates. I think it would be a great tool to help get a feel for what areas to talk to a candidate about in the interview to make the time more productive.

Which is better? Sun or Brainbench? Well, it depends on the hiring manager. If someone is looking for a Sun certified Java guy, he'll laugh at your brainbench certifications. Someone who is looking for brainbench's more diverse in-depth certifications, won't think highly about Sun's certifications. Some managers want to see whatever you can show them and some will actually dismiss the resumes of people who waste their time getting certified. Yes, there are people of all types.
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic