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When to Certify?

 
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When should you get certification? Should you get certified right out of college or should you wait until you have some "real world" experience to get it? AND, once you have it, how long does it really help you in your career?
Thanks.
 
Greenhorn
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Hi Sam,
In my opinion, you should get certified in Java as soon as you feel you master the fundamental concepts enough to pass the exam. The Java Certification exam is not meant to replace "real world" experience, it is simply a recognition of your Java skills. It is a proof that you are prepared to take on real problems.
Being certified can become a competitive advantage. As somebody has put is, being certified might not get you a job, but will help you get a __better__ job.
Start as soon as you can, there are many certification exams ahead!
Good luck!
 
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Originally posted by Levente Szekrenyes:
In my opinion, you should get certified in Java as soon as you feel you master the fundamental concepts enough to pass the exam. The Java Certification exam is not meant to replace "real world" experience, it is simply a recognition of your Java skills. It is a proof that you are prepared to take on real problems.


I totally agree with Levente. I don't have to tell you that the job market is tough right now... and any competitive advantage you can get is a plus.
And of course... this forum is an excellent place to ask/answer questions -- you know you'll be ready for the exam when you can explain different topics to folks on this forum.
 
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I agree with Jessica and Levente. The certification can be a great help to an entry level software engineer.
Why wait until you're out of college? Why not start studying for the certification while your taking your first Java course. The material covered in the class is likely to be similar to that covered by the SCJP exam. I'm sure that the additional studies would greatly improve your score on your final exam for the class.
 
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Hi Sam.
I agree with Levente. I find that more companies are recognizing Certification today than in the past.
And in agreement with Jessica. Competitive advantage is on your side. Just be able to back it up.
I noticed this yesterday on the www.workopolis.ca site: IBM posting for a Java Developer position.
"A strong asset is Certification for VisualAge Java or Sun Java".
Keep in mind though that just memorizing what is needed for exam is not enough. It may be enough to pass the exam, but you also need to Understand the concepts and be able to utilize them.
Regards,
Angelo.
 
Greenhorn
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But how important is the percentage ?
if i succeed with 60% - who knows that ?
Is it written on the certificate ?
Michael
(Candidate for the 12th ;-) )
 
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Originally posted by Michael Taupitz:
But how important is the percentage ?
if i succeed with 60% - who knows that ?
Is it written on the certificate ?
Michael
(Candidate for the 12th ;-) )


Ahhhhh... I love this topic : )
No it definitely does NOT have your score on the certificate. So if you pass by even a single point, your certificate doesn't say, "Sun Certified Java Programmer, But Just Barely"
Nobody knows your score unless you choose to show it to them (it's on the paper you get when you complete your exam -- you find out instantly). I've said this before in other topics -- at Sun, nobody ever seemed to talk about or even care what anybody's score is. You're certified or you're not. Some of the difference in score has more to do with your test-taking skills rather than strict Java knowledge.
The fact that the highest scorers I've ever seen are pretty much ALL on javaranch can make it seem like passing doesn't mean a thing if you're not at least a 90%, but that's giving you a false sense of what's out there. I would not take the test until you're ready, but if you feel ready and you pass, I wouldn't lose one moment of sleep over a lower score.
Although some people here have had different experiences, I have personally never known anyone who has been asked for their score. And I know hundreds of SCJP'ers (to teach Sun's courses, that was of course the first prerequisite).
So relax and concentrate on understanding the things you consider the most important. If you forget a signature of one of the Wrapper methods, no big deal. You probably won't get 100%, but sometimes there's only so much stuff you can put into your head, so I'd focus on the ones that will make you a better Java programmer (i.e. anything that helps you understand the language at a deep level -- how it really works and why. But note that DOES mean you have to be able to recognize quite a few "picky" compiler issues
Cheers and good luck,
Kathy
 
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Sam -
It turns out that you posted this question during shameless self promotion week Kathy was too shy to tell you, but she has a wonderful and incredible (her words ) new certification book coming to Amazon and a bookstore near you in the next WEEK ! This week Kathy and I will be on Javaranch a lot - and the four most frequent posters to this forum will win a copy of this amazing (her words) new book. So post early and ofter, and don't be ashamed to put Kathy's name in the post - that way she'll know which posts to respond to!
regards,
- Bert
 
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If you have the time, jump right in. I work for a consultant company and also need to get certifications for other programming specializations and haven't found the time to sit and get going with Java. I do have a programming background but I am really just starting to learn Java. So far, I am reading my java book and doing the study exam questions on Dan Chisholm's website. These questions really test for your understanding. I am pleasantly surprised! I was lost with answering the integral primitives types' MIN and MAX values questions and found the tutorials for them. Now I understand! Dan, you did a wonderful job! Looking forward to more of your tutorials!
 
Sam Smoot
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Well, my situation is this... I've got 14 years experience as a programmer (mostly Mainframe assembler), the last 3 years also doing web applications (using Cold Fusion), and now having to learn java (and Struts) to build a new product for my company. I'm also going back to school to finish my degree (that I started 21 years ago) so this is why I ask the question. When do I "go for it" and how much will it help? Mind you I'm not in the market for a new job, but just want to be able to show that I am able to keep up.
("Certifiable" comes to mind, but that can be taken in more than just a Java way )
Thanks for the Info!
 
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Hi Sam

Originally posted by Sam Smoot:
[QB] When do I "go for it" and how much will it help?
QB]


I myself am a computer science student who's working on the SCJP exam. I am doing this because I want to dig deeper into the Java language and thereby becomming a more effective programmer (note: I delibertly did not say "better" because that's not what the exam is about).
When do you do it?
When you feel you have the time! If you do have Java lessions at uni then it would be easy to study for school AND the exam. It's importent that you take the time it takes. Read some pages and go test something out if you arn't sure you've understood it correct.
How much will it help?
The certification gives you are paper which states that you know the fundamentals of the Java language. It does not state, that your a good programmer. The certification states that you are interested in learning more.
Good luck
/Svend Rost
 
Sam Smoot
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Well, yeah, I am taking the java course(s) in school, but also working full time and raising 3 children (and trying to keep my marraige intact). I'm trying to figure out if I should get the cert now or wait (and according to the answers I'm seeing here, ( Certification Life ) I might want to wait..).
 
Dan Chisholm
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Originally posted by Sam Smoot:
...according to the answers I'm seeing here, I might want to wait..).


The most valuable asset gained from the certification process is knowledge. The value of the certificate is secondary. If you are currently studying Java in school, then the knowledge gained during your preparation for the exam will greatly enhance your ability to do well in school.
A person that is studying Java in school will probably be required to do the same sort of memorization necessary for the certification exam. Why not apply that same memorized information to the exam before you forget it?
I think that the best time to get certified is while you are still in school. I see no advantage in waiting.
 
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