Fellow ranchers: I cleared my SCEA part 1 exam with a score of 93%. I wanted to share my experiences and encouragement with all of you.
I have about 14 years experience in IT but have not really been in the thick of technology since 2003. My last "hard core" experience with EJB was back in 2002 as a senior developer. When I started out for the SCEA exam, I had a lot to prove, especially to myself, that I can still rumble with the tech guys :-)
I had been debating taking the exam for many a year now, but kept pushing it off because I never had a problem in interviews. I was able to BS my way through most interviews on J2EE so I felt that I didn't have any reason to study. Also, looking at the syllabus I was put off by seeing that the exam was EJB 1.1 based and had references to CORBA. I really did not want to rehash all the old skill sets simply because of this exam... but I took the plunge none the less..
When I first took some mock exams, I went from "this should be easy" to "what the ....." in a matter of 1 hour. I thought I knew EJB and design patterns well, but when I failed the first mock test I had a battle on my hands. I bruised my ego pretty badly and that was what spurned me to seriously attempt the test.
I spent about 250 hours in total studying for the Part 1 exam. There is a ton of information on the net so sorting through the junk took me a while. I referred to the following books: - Mark cade's book (didn't find it extremely helpful, but use only for pointers) - Paul allen's book (Uuugh what a load of crap) - Mastering EJB 2 (Awesome, awesome book) - GoF book - Head first design patterns (Recommend this more that GoF)
I invested in Whizlabs mock exam and consider it money well spent. (Just ignore the occasional bizzaro answers and the EJB 2.0 stuff).
All the mock exams have the similar set of questions so don't bother looking for anything more than these above (Intellectual property is nonexistent). Also keep in mind that the mock exams are useful only for the questions they ask and not for the answers that they give. Don't study for the part 1 exam using only these mock tests, that defeats the entire purpose.
Now that I have completed part 1, I really appreciate the breadth of questioning in the syllabus. I did not take the exam for a certificate, but to learn, so I am very happy so far. I wish the syllabus was atleast J2EE 1.4 based, but why complain when the new version is just around the corner.
I fantasized about the SCEA 5 exam but know that my technical skills on anything other than EJB portion of JEE5 is almost none.. I can give myself the new SCEA exam challenge for 2008!
For all those who are aspiring to take the SCEA exam, remember: it is not the exam itself but the journey. Put in the due effort and you will be ok. Don't try to take shortcuts. You might pass the exam, but would not have learned anything. Most importantly, the SCEA makes an architect not !!
Chris [ September 22, 2007: Message edited by: chris zielinski ]