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Need to get certified under pressure from boss (was Help me)

 
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Hi guys. I am brand new. Not only to javaranch, but to java. I have a BS in computer science and i got hired as an entry level systems engineer recently. I have to take the SCJP test in about 2 weeks or so, and if i dont pass, i cant work on any projects, therefore, I will lose the job. I have one class in Java back in 2003 during college. I have the K&B book. What are my chances? Do I even have a prayer? If you were in my position, would you panic? Because I am. Any help, ideas, comments, question, anything at this point would be grateful. I just dont know if it is possible to pass this difficult test with only 2 weeks of preperation. Thanks guys. I sure need help.
[ November 21, 2006: Message edited by: Barry Gaunt ]
 
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Given your circumstances I think what I would do is get as many mock exams and do them and read as much as I can from any book on SCJP I could get and try to score the minimum to pass the exam. Then I would keep studying after that because you'll certainly need to do that in order to be able to handle the projects you'll be working on.
 
Jason English
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Also, this is my first job. Is this normal of a job to hire you and THEN require you to get a cert before they allow you to work? I find it unusual and not to mention, pressuring.
 
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Hi Jason,

two months are enougn for preparing SCJP exam. You need better plan and practicing more mock exams. K&B book is sufficient for the preparation. You can see the Javaranch faqs to get more mock exams.
 
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The SCJP is meant for people having 6 months or more experience of Java. It says that somewhere in Sun's description. So go tell your boss and negotiate an extension. Or did you sell yourself as having Java experience beforehand?
 
Jason English
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No, he knew exactly what i had. No selling was going on here. Just doesn't seem fair to me. I think i made a mistake.
 
arch rival
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It is unusual to get a job and then be asked to get the SCJP, but I think you should see it as an opportunity rather than a problem. They are requiring you to demonstrate a very structured set of learning. So rather than having to demonstrate a diffuse set of knowledge i.e. "I know Java stuff", you only (OK the it may not seem very only at the moment) have to proove you know a limited narrow set of stuff for which there are very large amounts of good learning tools. Ooh yes and I have written some of them ...

Two months is not enough for most people, and I have been following this for 9 years and have read feedback from thousands of candidates. Get an extension. Feel free to refer your bosses to this posting, and if they are curious as to if I know what I am talking about, tell them to type the words
java programmer certification into google.

Good luck
[ November 21, 2006: Message edited by: Marcus Green ]
 
Jason English
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Thanks guys...At least I know I am not crazy. There is no way I am giving up though. If I fail the test and get fired, I will keep taking it until I pass or I run out of money. I won't give up.
 
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What country do you work in? It seems pretty crazy to me that your employer would demand that AFTER accepting you into the company. I could understand it being a condition of hiring you that you pass within a specified time frame however.

If they sack you for not passing it wouldnt sound like a company worth staying at anyway, so depending on the job market where you are you could be better off getting another grad job.

Also, you originally said 2 weeks and now other people's posts are stating 2 months, which is it? If it's 2 weeks I'd say you'd have a very low chance unless you've got the entire time off to study, maybe knew C++ and were a very quick learner!

Good luck all the same.
 
Jason English
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I am in the US. And it is 2 weeks not 2 months. I think other posters are referring to how long it should take me to pass the exam and what I am referring to is how long I have. Like I said, I am going to give it my all. I took the examulator, and I scored a 40% on it. I was surprised I even got that.
 
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Think of it this way... studying for SCJP will help prepare you for your next interview. I can't imagine an interviewer coming up with trickier questions than are on the SCJP. In fact I can't imagine any trickier programming questions than the SCJP questions.

Seriously, has your boss ever taken the SCJP? Is he a programmer? Challenge some of your co-workers to answer some of the mock exam questions. My guess is even experienced Java programmers will not be able to pass the exam without 2 weeks preparation. You have my sympathy. I guess I would go with the re-negotiation strategy described by others.

I do believe that studying for the SCJP has inherent value and will make you a better programmer. When you're done you will understand the language better and have more confidence in yourself.
 
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Two weeks, without having coded Java at all to begin with??? That is an ABSURD demand. Maybe if you had been coding Java for a while and then had two weeks off to study full time every day. The way you have described the scenario I think you'd be better off taking the two weeks to look for another place of employment.

Obviously your boss is pretty ignorant when it comes to understanding Java development and this expectation he/she had now is only going to lead to problems in the future (ie "How come you don't have that application done yet? You've had three weeks to code it? Isn't it just a bunch of servlets?").

If you were to pass it, be happy and start your quest looking for a new place to work
 
Jason English
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I took the test today and got a 38%. No surprise to me though. I only had 2 and a half weeks to study with no java background. The big quesiton is, should I get discouraged about this? I do not like to fail, and that was a big hit to me. Any advice? If I got a 38%, how much longer do you think it would take me to pass it? I don't want to walk into that test without being confident ever again, but they will not see the last of me. Thanks ranchers.
 
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I think if you poke around the ranch a little you can figure out how to use the various mocks that are available to estimate your strength. For instance the Dan Chisolm mocks are generally thought to be harder than the real exam. So if you practice on the well known mocks and get a sense of how they compare, you'll have a pretty good sense of when you're ready.
 
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I don't mean to discouraged you but 2 weeks without Java background is really hard
Because SCJP questions is really tricky, required you to have some experienced in java plus know the basic details (this is the tricky part)
I cannot give advice other than
- Negotiate with your boss for more time
- Study like crazy in 2 weeks (read mocks exam explaination all day)

Good luck
 
Jason English
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Well, as you can see, I got a 38% on the 1.5 exam. I am planning on taking the 1.4 in a couple weeks. Is that test easier than the 1.5? Is there anything I should focus on studying for it? I kinda think I might even pass it with minimal studying. What do you guys think? Thanks guys.
 
jimmy halim
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IMO from the mock exam SCJP 1.4 is much easier than SCJP 5
(I'm not certified yet, planning to take SCJP 5 exam this Dec 11)
I was preparing for 1.4 then I change my mind to take 5 instead 1.4, and I feel there're really alot new things to learn (not to mention trickier questions )

If you don't have enough time taking SCJP 1.4 instead SCJP 5 in my opinion is a wise decision

Read K&B book & try several mock exam for try out (there're alot free & commercial mock exams)
 
Jason English
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Hey guys, I just wanted to let you know that I did pass the 1.4 exam. It took me about a month to study for with no experience. Since I have taken them both now, I can easily say that the 1.4 is much easier than that 1.5 exam. I passed the 1.4 with a 70% in about 40 minutes. Again, thanks guys for your support and ideas.
 
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Congrats
 
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Congratulations!!!
 
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