ok thanks but I was also recommended to use SCJA - Sun Certified Java Associate Certification Study Guide for Java 5, J2EE and J2ME Technology from ExamScam.com - The Pre SCJP, Programmers Certification by Cameron McKenzie.
Are they both very similar? Which is better for someone who has programming experience in Perl and beginner experience in Java?
The book by Cameron had 6 reviews of which 1 was bad and that said:
This book was decent. It gives you a good high level view of Java basics as well as a good overview of J2SE, J2EE, and J2ME technologies. It doesn't bog you down in code, and it's easy to get through multiple chapters in a single sitting. What I didn't like about this book were the test questions. A good number of the questions you're asked in these little exam snippets are never covered in the chapter being tested over. It's frustraing seeing questions littered with acronyms that were never even mentioned in the chapter (or the rest of the book). This is especially evident in the J2EE sections. The fifteen question mock exam was also a HORRIBLE MESS! About half of the questions were never mentioned in the preceding chapters, and the answer key didn't even match up with the questions. Luckily I knew a good deal about Java before hand or I never would've passed the test. This book needs to be put through a more stringent editorial process. It's good for an overview of the various Java technologies, but I wouldn't rely on it to pass anything.
The only negative review on the SCJP book was this book is not for beginners as below:
This book is not for newcomers to the Java language. However, if you want to get the idea of just what to expect for the exams, what kind of questions you are likely to get asked and pitfalls to avoid, this is the right book. Each chapter got lots of exercises to review the subjects. Highly recommended if you are going to take the exam.
It depends which exam you intend to study for and take. If you are going for the SCJP then you should get the K&B book. A review that says it is not for beginners is not really a criticism, it is just a comment on the level it is aimed at. If you are a beginner the same authors have an excellent book called HeadFirst Java.
Be aware that SCJA is not a pre-requisite for SCJP, it is meant for a quite different audience. Buying a book for SCJA to study for SCJP is a waste of money, unless you have no idea of Java technology or programming.
Derek, Barry and Marcus bring up a good point. Which certification are you planning to take? The SCJP or SCJA? My recommendation was based on the assumption that you were studying for the SCJP (since we're in the SCJP forum.)
If you are trying for the SCJA, you may still find K&B useful, but I'm not familiar with that exam. You may want to post your question in the Associate Certification forum.
The SCJA requires a more well rounded knowledge of Java. You don't need to be a heavy programmer, as syntax is only about 40% of the exam. The rest is proving you know when to use various components, and how various components can be used, such as Midlets, Servlets, JSPs, EJBs, etc. The breath of knowledge for the SCJA certification is wide, but not nearly as deep as SCJP.
So far, the people who have purchased my book have had incredible success and great scores in passing the exam. You can get an idea of how I write from my website, www.scja.com.
Well to be honest I am a Unix Admin with a focus on the applcation support side and Perl / Perl CGI programming. I have been in the IT industry since college 8 years ago and now I am trying to make the transition to a Java developer. With that I think taking the SCJA would be best then the SCJP then move to a speciliaty then and architect...if I go that far.