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Value of the SCJD?

 
George Lawniczak
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I need some feedback from you all about the value of the SCJD. I am not talking in terms of job offers; I understand that in almost all cases experience is valued over certs only. But I am talking more in terms of the things learned from doing the assignment. I have actually been a PowerBuilder developer who is trying to make the transition to Java. What I have learned so far is Swing, Threads, Design Patterns, and RMI. Are these things widely used in the Java community? I mean it doesn't seem to me that there are a plethora of Swing projects out there, and I don't see it becoming widely used due to its complexity. Most Java development from what I gather is server-side. Do the skills learned doing this really come into play in server-side development? I am just a bit afraid that while I have learned a lot from doing this project, it may not help out in the "real world." and that there are other skills that are needed that aren't necessarily covered by this project. What do y'all think?
 
BJ Grau
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I think this project is intended to demonstrate your skllls in interpreting and satisfying specific, vague, and ambiguous requirements, and writing an application in general. When I say writing an application in general I mean organizing code, applying suitable patterns to problems, documentation, exception handling, readability, etc. In my opinion the technical skills you learn such as Swing and RMI are not necessarily the main points of this assignment.
 
Mark Spritzler
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It also teaches you how to learn things you haven't learned yet, being able to look things up and start using the classes immediately.
I cannot also over-emphasis on the OOP skills that you will learn and finally understand. This assignment, when completed correctly will open your eyes to things you probably haven't fully understood about the value of OOP and also Design Patterns.
Mark
 
Tybon Wu
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The SCJD project is just like the 3rd and 4th year projects I did in school. So for me I don't really learn anything important. What I do get is more designing and coding practice, and hopefully a certification!
 
George Lawniczak
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I cannot also over-emphasis on the OOP skills that you will learn and finally understand. This assignment, when completed correctly will open your eyes to things you probably haven't fully understood about the value of OOP and also Design Patterns.

I agree with you there, I have tried to go through the GoF book several times, but it never really clicked until I started this project.
What I really would like to know is that armed with the knowledge gained, and assuming that one has never coded Java in a production environment, could they just walk in a be immediately productive on a project, or even in a position to advise more experienced Java coders who haven't passed the certification? Or is your experience that even a SCJD with little real-world experience is still pretty green, and if so, what areas are those individuals the weakest at, and which this project doesn't address adequately?
 
BJ Grau
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George -
In general, I would say no.
Your question is wide open though. It would depend on the complexity of, and technology used in the project you mention, and also the skill levels of yourself and the other programmers. You might have a better grasp of some OO concepts than a junior programmer with 1 year of experience, but that depends on the person.
In general, I feel that experience is more valuable than a cert. Don't get me wrong, you will gain something from studying and passing a cert, but I wouldn't expect it to put you ahead of a strong developer with more experience.
Also, keep in mind that this project is very simplified and is only meant to be symbolic of a real world project. It is not a literal example of a real project.
 
Dale Mitchell
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I worked for three years doing web and server-side java projects (traditional enterprise sysytems). However, for the last year, I have worked in a completely different realm (instrument control) including developing swing guis connecting to various servers via rmi and corba that has nothing to do with the web. Being diversified with sound OO experience is never a drawback. I think that the Sun developer's exam is closer than the other tests to making you think how to solve a problem.
 
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