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To the authors of SCWCD exam/HFSJ book...

 
Claudio Lande
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Dear authors,

I bought 3 of your books (and planning to buy a new one) and taken 2 of the exams made by you so I feel I'm entitled to give a few comment/suggestion about them.

HFSJ is OK, it's amusing, entertaining and very focused on (almost everything) is on the exam.

The contents of the SCWCD exam are at least in part, well, disappointing:

1) too much old stuff: scriptlet, declarations, standard actions, classic custom tags, to name a few

2) the exam is made artificially difficult because of all the API details, DD features, default values, etc. one has to learn by heart. People taking exams are IT professionals striving to improve their jobs that often have to study before and after work, not 6 years old kids having to learn a poem for tomorrow's school test. Just how much do you think people can remember about DD tags a week after the exam? It is a worthless effort which is made still more painful by the fact that often there are naming inconcistencies (as you point out in your book). If Sun software architectures couldn't come up with better and easier to remember names, why should one try to remember them by heart?

3) The exam tests the basic knowledge of the JSP/Servlet technology but there is very little about the issues one finds in the real world: load balancing, distributed apps, robustness, fault tolerance, etc.

4) last but most important, one can pass the exam with a high score and not be able to design a decent middle-sized web app because there is almost nothing in the exam that pushes people to think what they should do to address a use case requirement.

Why am I writing this? I hope that giving you a few feedbacks might help you in the future to improve the contents of Sun exams (like SCBCD!). I was willing to start studying for SCBCD but I don't feel like it (even if I bought HS EJB!) because I don't want to spend a lot of time memorizing EJB 2.0 crazy specs and DD!

Best regards,

Claudio

Ah, I almost forgot, yesterday I cleared SCWCD with 89%. The exam was tougher than I expected. I studied HFSJ (a few times), taken free tests available on the web, scored 75% in HFSJ test and read the posts in Javaranch (great site!). I regret not having read Mikalai notes and the specs. Next cert, probably IBM 486 (OOAD).
 
vidya sagar
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Hi Claudio Lande

What you said is excatly correct.Exam just focus on what the things are in the subject.It fails to come with testing our knowledge for requirement.
 
Mikalai Zaikin
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Originally posted by Claudio Lande:
yesterday I cleared SCWCD with 89%.


Congratz !!!

 
Niranjan Deshpande
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B]4) last but most important, one can pass the exam with a high score and not be able to design a decent middle-sized web app because there is almost nothing in the exam that pushes people to think what they should do to address a use case requirement.[/B]

i definitely agree with you.
Do you have anything on your side that will help us to do what you expect in the above point ?

i m also into j2ee and a frsher, please let me know if you have any books that have lots of TO DO code examples that will make us confident to design mid sized we sites

i m working in an It company sine ja'06. so far i have had a good exposure, but "developing mid-sized web-sites on own" is wht i want to see myself doing


please reply
niranjan_8712@yahoo.com
 
Christophe Verré
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2) not 6 years old kids having to learn a poem for tomorrow's school test.


Haha, I like the poem thing It sounds like that afterall. Ask those who post things like "I passed in 10 days".
 
Shivani Chandna
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Learning API's is definitely there. :roll:
To take for example:


Does it really,really matter ?
Hmm.....
 
Bert Bates
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First off Claudio, Congrats!

Okay, I think you make some good points, but I'd like to bring up a couple of counterpoints and everyone's opinions:

- first off, the exam creation team felt that it was important to cover a lot of the "legacy" stuff, even though it's not officially "current" because so many companies are slow in moving to new technologies. Also because developers are likely to encounter a lot of legacy code. So we thought it would be bad, for instance, for a programmer to be certified, but not know about scriptlets if they encountered them.

- second: Sun is really in a bind in terms of these tests because they have to be administered equally all across the world. That limits the test engine to a "lowest common denominator" tool, which frankly, is pretty limited.

- third: Sun is constrained by the amount of money they can charge for these exams. They get a lot of compliants about the exam costing $150, and more complex exams like the ones you're suggesting tend to be more expensive to administer. (Like the SCJD, for instance.)

I'm not saying that these concerns can't be overcome, but I'd like to hear feedback that takes these constriants into account...

Thanks!

Bert
 
Marc Peabody
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If you're frustrated about memorization and old technology, I'm surprised you ever considered SCBCD.

In SCWCD's defense, there isn't nearly as much senseless memorization as there used to be. We used to have to know the ORDER that the web.xml tags had to be in! And you call that material old technology?! A great number of businesses are still using it. I'll even go so far as to say that the old stuff might be getting used more than the new.

While your issue #4 is a great suggestion, I don't think it could be done well with multiple-choice questions. The 486 test tries to create questions like that but anyone with a common-sense level of deductive reasoning can widdle many answers down to a 50/50 chance without even knowing the material. Despite that, I think the 486 will be a good fit for you'd like, Claudio. Best of luck and congrats on getting SCWCD!
 
cheenu Dev
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congrats!
 
Claudio Lande
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Dear Bert, all,

thank you for your answers and for understanding that I didn't mean to be polemical but rather "constructive".

- first off, the exam creation team felt that it was important to cover a lot of the "legacy" stuff, even though it's not officially "current" because so many companies are slow in moving to new technologies. Also because developers are likely to encounter a lot of legacy code. So we thought it would be bad, for instance, for a programmer to be certified, but not know about scriptlets if they encountered them.


I see your point. Still I disagree for the following reasons:

1) it is very frustrating to have to learn things and then be told not to use them because they are discouraged (evil, bad practice, deprecated, etc.)!

2) as time goes by Sun comes up with better ways to do things. This means that sometimes there are 3 or 4 different ways to do rougly the same thing (like including jsp/html fragments) with different techniques. This leads to confusion.

3) Certification exams have a (Java) version number so people should be expected to know what is current for a given version and not what was specified in the old days of the J2EE spec

If you are going to work with Sun for a revision of SCBCD, please strip off the old stuff and stick only to EJB 3.0 spec!

- second: Sun is really in a bind in terms of these tests because they have to be administered equally all across the world. That limits the test engine to a "lowest common denominator" tool, which frankly, is pretty limited.


I'm not sure I understand this. Changing the test doesn't mean providing a new test software to Prometric centers?

- third: Sun is constrained by the amount of money they can charge for these exams. They get a lot of compliants about the exam costing $150, and more complex exams like the ones you're suggesting tend to be more expensive to administer. (Like the SCJD, for instance.)



I see. But the test could contain questions like the ones related to patterns where a sketched "real world" situation is described and the candidate has to select the correct pattern to tackle the problem.

Just for the record, regarding the cost of the exam, I had to pay 252euros VAT included (rougly 327 USD) for the taking the test. I am really curious and would like to know more about the pricing policy adopted by Sun! Why is in Italy the price twice as much as in the States while the cost of living is higher in the US (of course I'm not complaining with you about it)?

If you're frustrated about memorization and old technology, I'm surprised you ever considered SCBCD.


I bought HFSJ and HF EJB in a bundle from Amazon but after reading a few comments in SCBCD forums I decided to spend time on something else (IBM 486 - OOAD) on my way to SCEA I'll just study it without taking the exam.

Regards,
Claudio
 
Bert Bates
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No worries Claudio, the more feedback the better.

Let's try to clarify things a bit:


I see your point. Still I disagree for the following reasons:

1) it is very frustrating to have to learn things and then be told not to use them because they are discouraged (evil, bad practice, deprecated, etc.)!


But again, the point is that many people will encounter legacy code that contains old stuff. Our thought was that it would be pretty lame for an SCWCD to say "well yes, I'm an SCWCD, but I can't deal with that old stuff".


2) as time goes by Sun comes up with better ways to do things. This means that sometimes there are 3 or 4 different ways to do rougly the same thing (like including jsp/html fragments) with different techniques. This leads to confusion.


I couldn't agree more. I think Sun did a pretty horrible job designing these technologies, but alas, the exam creation team is stuck developing tests for the technology that exists - so for the purposes of this discussion we have to take the technology as a given. However, you'd probably generate a lively discussion on a separate thread if you want to bash Servlets


3) Certification exams have a (Java) version number so people should be expected to know what is current for a given version and not what was specified in the old days of the J2EE spec


We'll take this under consideration. I suspect we'll stick with our current philosophy (stated above) because otherwise people might feel compelled to have to take several different exams just to cover all the versions of a given spec they might have to work on - and we alredy feel a lot of justified cost pressure.


If you are going to work with Sun for a revision of SCBCD, please strip off the old stuff and stick only to EJB 3.0 spec!


see above


quote:
- second: Sun is really in a bind in terms of these tests because they have to be administered equally all across the world. That limits the test engine to a "lowest common denominator" tool, which frankly, is pretty limited.


I'm not sure I understand this. Changing the test doesn't mean providing a new test software to Prometric centers?


The centers all use the same test engine across the world and for all of the different Java exams. When a new test is created, it's just new data for the engine to process - so no, it's not new software, it's new data for old, lowest common denominator, software.


I see. But the test could contain questions like the ones related to patterns where a sketched "real world" situation is described and the candidate has to select the correct pattern to tackle the problem.

Just for the record, regarding the cost of the exam, I had to pay 252euros VAT included (rougly 327 USD) for the taking the test. I am really curious and would like to know more about the pricing policy adopted by Sun! Why is in Italy the price twice as much as in the States while the cost of living is higher in the US (of course I'm not complaining with you about it)?


I think this is a good suggestion - the patterns part of the exam was a step in that direction.

As far as pricing goes, that's out of my area, you'll have to write to Sun about that - I was under the impression that this exam was about 150 USD everywhere - but again, this isn't really in my area.

hth,

Bert
 
Claudio Lande
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Dear Bert,

thank you for your answers. They helped me a lot in understanding what kind of problems (legacy, pressures, etc.) you guys have to deal with.

I still believe that a few aspects of the exam could be improved but that's true for almost everything under the sun!

Thank you again and best regards,

Claudio
 
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