Greetings everyone. Tonight is my first visit to the ranch. Looks like a great place. My question is: How soon is TOO soon to start preparing for the SCJP certification? I've just recently started dabbling around with some beginning JAVA courses and books over the past few months. I have no prior programming experience besides 2 years of web application development with PHP. I feel as if I've mastered PHP, and I'm looking for something new, so I've decided to dive into Java. Is getting extensive hands-on experience with the language first a necessity before starting to study for the exam, or is preparing for the exam straight from the start going to help me with my experience and growth in the language? Does either approach have an advantage over the other? What advice do you have for a JAVA newbie? Thanks in advance, -Brock
I recommend you to browse the book Thinking in Java It's free and a great book. If you are able to cram that book, buy a certificatio specific one, visit this Ranch and go for it. If you don't understand it, read first The Java Tutorial No matter the path you choose, you are right, this is a great place Also it's of vital importance that you write many little programs to see how things work. [ May 19, 2002: Message edited by: Jose Botella ] [ May 19, 2002: Message edited by: Jose Botella ]
Hi Brock, welcome to JavaRanch. great choice on new skill. I, like you, came from the Web Development field before entering Java. I had been designing sites for about two years. Programming experience was limited to a month of trying Visual Basic (I hated it) I wanted to start studying for the exam right off the bat too, but before studying you have to learn it. I recommend picking up Thinking in Java like Jose said, but don't limit yourself to just one book. Heck no. Go get Sams Java in 21 days, Beginning Java 2, and the Complete Guide to Java 2 Certification(which on this site we refer to it as the RHE) This should take you from two months, to however long you want to learn it. It can be quite facsinating. Then move on to a more advanced book like A Programmer's guide to Java Certification (Mughal's Book) After you get you hands dirty with that, then start studying for the test. Pick up an Exam Cram by Bill Brogden.(if you can find one. The company that makes them went out of business) Also, invest about $18 i think in a JQ+ mock test software. I haven't used one, because lack of funds (ok im dirt poor) but I hear they are the way to go. I wish I had one. Most people here will sing its praises. Don't forget the mock exams in all of the books you pick up. Then just take free mock tests up the ying yang until you take the real exam. Free mock tests that I personally recommend is Jxam, Mughal's mock, the 3 Marcus Green mocks, and of course, Val's Mock. (don't be mad if you do bad on JQ+ or Val's mock. JQ+ is harder than real exam, and Val is like a human compiler. Much Respect Val) Anyways, to make a long story longer, the road to the SCJP cert can be very tough. But if you can stick with it, and don't give up, you'll make it. Oh, and of course your road will go much more smoothly if you use this site. You won't find another site anywhere like it. The people are helpful, we are all looking to know more, and Java Ranchers stick together! (applaud now!) Hope my babbling helped, Travis B. P.S.> JavaRanch! Pray to the Java Gods! I take SCJP test tuesday the 21st! Burn some Microsoft book to appease the Sun Java Gods! lol
Thanks so much for the responses Jose & Travis. I agree with you, this looks like a site like no other. I shall stick around. Starting from scratch, I may need all the help I can get. Well, God Bless, and best of luck on your exam. -Brock
Maybe we will be asking you questions. PHP is OOP and has some similarities with Java, in that sense. I feel with that background, it won't take you too long to understand Java. Thinking in Java is always the best first read. and the Tutorial will get you up and running real fast. After that get a Certification Book. I suggest Java Certification by RHE Roberts Heller and Ernest I didn't have that book when I first ook the exam. I used a different book, but a couple of weekends ago I took the 1.4 Beta test and used this book to study, and found it to really explain things very well. Mark
Well, three people responded right off the bat, and all three suggest reading the same book. I went out and purchased "Thinking in Java" tonight at BN. Only 45 pages into it, and I can already see where it attacks topics that other Java books don't. Thanks for the advice. I've got another question in regards to the whole "Which came first, chicken or egg?" experience or cert: I've read so many times that certs really have no weight compared to hands-on experience. I can understand and respect that, but my question is, how do people starting out in the language get that experience? I know where I work, I'm stuck in the web-dev shop, and can't even think about going over to the soft-dev shop because I don't have the Java experience. It is kinda like that part in "Coyote Ugly" where she is trying to get her demo tape passed around, and she says to the publisher, "Let me get this straight, I can't give my demo to a publisher without an agent? But I can't get an agent without being published?" How do I get that proverbial foot in the door to get that experience so many companies are looking for?
well if you have no experience to show for it, then which would you think would be better chance at getting foot in door. Saying you've studied java for some odd months and you are looking for your first job, or a certification that says you KNOW java enough to be an elite member in the IT field, and you are looking for your first job. Experience is a great thing to have, and possibly better than a cert. But if you have neither, best chance is to get the cert, to get the experience. Hope this helps, Travis B.