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my experience in passing part I with 100%

 
Alberto Dell'Era
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Hi folks,
I passed part I on Friday with an unexepected for (i'm a pessimist in nature ...) 100% mark.
Since I have got a lot from the javaranch community, here I am to share my experience with you, in the best tradition of this nice web place. I've just celebrated with a pint of beer and English is not my native language, so forgive any grammatical mistake and Italianism ;-)
First of all, I've noticed a lot of questions (perhaps 30% of the total) which were of the 'scenario' type, hence my first suggestion: don't study to just pass the certification, study to become an Architect, i.e. try to understand and not simply memorize things; scenario questions are easy (and fun) if you have deeply understood the matter, but they are a nightmare if you know things superficially.
Then, experiment as much as you can. This applies especially to applet/jar signing; I've noticed that that kind of stuff is remembered only if you 'put your hands on', otherwise it remains just a bunch of fuzzy concepts. In the Java Tutorial there's a section in which they guide you through an example of security; I recommend it:
http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/security1.2/toolsign/index.html
(A similar example is available in 'just java 2, by Van Der Linden').
There was at least one scenario-based question about applets.
Installing and running the j2ee sdk is another great move IMHO. It comes with a standalone db (cloudscape) which saves the hassle of installing a 'real' one, and the examples are really good.
Another suggestion: read the EJB Specifications (I read the 2.0 version) available on Sun's site.
Unlike other Specifications which are written in forensic language, the EJB specifications are clearly written, full of examples and rationales for almost everything, and explain things from the point of view of the Bean Provider, then from the point of view of the Client, then from the point of view of the Container ... a bit repetitive, but at the end the understanding is the best possible. Perhaps read them after the Monson Haefel's or the Ed Roman's book (I've read both two times) to get a more discorsive introduction, but definitely read them.
There are a bunch of pdf files available on the yahoo group scea_j2ee (the Author is a misterious
guy or girl named PJC) named 'SCEA in a nutshell' which are worth their weight in gold.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scea_j2ee/files/SCEA-Nutshell/
They are, as the name implies, a distilled and schematic view of our beloved certification topics,
but are invaluable as a refresher/introduction. They are written by an actual architect, and so
they add practical wisdom to everything.
Design Patterns. A lot of questions, my advice is to read the 'Design Patterns Explained by Shalloway' book which speaks about only some of them but which explains what Design Patterns are in the clearest possible way (the Authors are OOD instructors) and using Java language for examples.
Do you know that that book is considered the best book on DP along with the Gang of Four's ?
After having mastered the DP explained (pun intended) in the book, understanding the others is a breeze IMHO.
Then think about java technology examples: e.g. the Remote and Home object references are proxies,
the JDBC ResultSet is an Iterator, the Swing/AWT Listeners are Observers, the Home Interface is an Abstract Factory, the Session Beans are (may be considered) Facades, the AWT/Swing Containers are Composites, the java.io stream chained classes are Decorators, and so on. I can't tell you the exact questions of course, but as I expected, there were some questions that required that sort of knowledge.
Perhaps reading 'core j2ee patterns' may help, even if that's not a fundamental book for this certification (but interesting onetheless). Know what an ADO is anyway ...
About security, know all about applets/applications permissions, what they are not allowed to do (the PDF files are great about that) if signed or not, and before that, know by heart how public key cryptography works (what are the public and private key), what is a digest (aka hash) of a file, what is a signature (i.e. it is the hash of the message encrypted using the private key of the signer).
Online tests. The best IMHO is Ian's one:
http://www.ianswebpage.com/cert/
Which has a lot of thought-provoking questions that cover the majority of the exam topics. A 100% on this tests is a must for passing.
HTH

[ June 03, 2002: Message edited by: Alberto Dell'era ]
[ June 03, 2002: Message edited by: Alberto Dell'era ]
 
Ian B Anderson
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Hello Alberto,
Wow 100%! That is fantastic, well done and good luck with part 2.
I'm glad the online test's helped.
Ian
 
faiza athar
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Wow... congrats!!!
The toughest part for me is the ejb understanding...any shortcut... oreilly book first or the ejb specs...any suggesstions and tips?
thanx
faiza
 
Alberto Dell'Era
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Originally posted by faiza athar:
[QB]
The toughest part for me is the ejb understanding...any shortcut... oreilly book first or the ejb specs...any suggesstions and tips?
/QB]

The o'reilly book (Monson-Haefel) has a lot of nice Java examples and is more like a tutorial, while the EJB specification are much more condensed.
Why not reading them side-by-side, e.g. read the chapter about stateless session bean from O'Reilly's, and then the same chepter in the EJB specs ? It is probably the best approach IMHO.
By the way the Ed Roman book is roughly equivalent to the O'Reilly 's and downloadable from www.theserverside.com; I would try it. I've read both and I've liked both of them.
 
faiza athar
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Thanx
I already have the ed roman book and started with the rmi, jndi first, then to the actual beans.
Thanx for the suggesstion and tip.
how many hours did u put each day and did u do code practice too while reading?
faiza
 
Marianna Shapiro
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Congratulations Alberto!
Great achivement and great report!!!
Thank you very much.
 
Alberto Dell'Era
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Originally posted by faiza athar:
how many hours did u put each day and did u do code practice too while reading?


Since I 'm employed,I have studied mostly on week-ends, and probably it took me about 3-4 weekends to complete each book. Probably 3*8= 24 hours on average.
I didn't actually code, coding is not required for an Architect and since I was able to understand just by reading the code samples, I avoided it. Of course I would have been better to code (you understand amd memorize things much better if you get your hands dirty), but after 6+ years of experience in OOP design/programming for n-tier systems, probably the added value would have been minimal (probably).
Definitely, the time spent experimenting with applet jar signing and thing alike was a good investment, since that were things fairly new to me.
 
faiza athar
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hey thanx again,
i guess its more of dedication...thanx for the replies, and i have to set some target too...i read the 2nd chap of oreilly and it went over my head...ejb's are really hard???
whats tehe secret of learning fast?
take care
faiza
 
Alberto Dell'Era
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Originally posted by faiza athar:
i guess its mor of dedication...thanx for the replies, and i have to set some target too...i read the 2nd chap of oreilly and it went over my head...ejb's are really hard???

At first they are hard, but the mess get clear after a while (like any difficult subject - ever studied Oracle ?) as new informations clarify the early one. Yes, dedication is the answer - you must be motivated and put in the effort required (like any difficult subject).
Anyway please note that what's really hard is the problem that EJBs solve - having a scalable, secure, extensible, maintainable and TRANSACTIONAL system.
Given a complex problem, the solution is normally complex as well - you're lucky if it's not *overly* complex. Driving a Ferrari is difficult because it's difficult to win the F1 championship, not the other way around.

whats the secret of learning fast?

No secret. As your experience increase you get better in learning, but there's not such thing as a Secret Fast Lane - "genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration" (Albert Einstein, perhaps?)
[ June 05, 2002: Message edited by: Alberto Dell'Era ]
[ June 05, 2002: Message edited by: Alberto Dell'Era ]
 
faiza athar
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i guess u'r right...the first few days might be hard, and its most of the perspiration that counts. thanx for the support...but it still seems hard to get there...by the way can u coach me? only if u have time? so i can write u wht i studied today and if and only if u have time u answer, asking me any question???plz? might motivate me to get over the ejbs...just kidding.
anyway thanx for the tips, i'll surely post more questions after the 2nd 3rd chapters.
faiza
 
Alberto Dell'Era
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Originally posted by faiza athar:
by the way can u coach me? only if u have time? so i can write u wht i studied today and if and only if u have time u answer, asking me any question???

Of course - write me using the e-mail set in my account (I don't always follow javaranch forums).
I would anyway suggest to try to answer your question by yourself first thing, because that builds up in a better learning experience; I have myself used that strategy to excellent results. Sometimes, just letting the mind rest for a while it's enough to make the subconscious work out the problem ... I'm saying this because it seems to me (i may be wrong) that you are anxious about the whole thing of certification, which is good to a certain level (concentration matters) but may be counterproductive above
Also, by using the search engines (on javaranch, or groups.google.com) you can normally find out that your question has been already asked and answered previously, perhaps by real gurus (which I'm not), and so you can get it "in real time". I use google on a daily basis for my work and study, to the point that I normally don't even consult the products documentation. It's my "secret weapon" ...
And then, posting on javaranch (or google) is always a great thing to do - after having checked that your question is new or not already answered clearly enough, of course -.
Anyway, feel free to write to me (that counts for anyone else, of course). I will do my best to answer as much as I can, as I have always done in the past. Helping is the reason while I started this post.
 
Sandeep Lodhia
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Congrats Alberto !!!
And all ur suggestions are definitely helpful !!!
May be sometimes later....I'd mail u few questions.
Faiza,can I have ur email id???
Sandeep.
 
faiza athar
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sure
ejbstudy2002@yahoo.com
you can mail your questions or ask , either way.
faiza
 
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