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A rant about cheating. (And oh yeah, I passed SCJP).

 
Rohit Kanwar
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I have more than 6 years' experience in Java, so I didn't need to prepare much. I wrote the SCJP 5 exam after studying K&B for just 2 days, and passed with 77%. I could have done better, certainly, but right now I only wanted to pass the exam. When I have more time, I would love to study in-depth and pass SCJP 6, hopefully with 95 - 100%. (I know I can do it.)

<rant>
I am quite happy to have finally become an SCJP. But, my happiness is tempered by the realization that many people attain this certification by cheating, and that means that the certification isn't really worth what I thought it would be.

Yesterday at the Prometric center, while waiting for my turn to write the exam, I saw many candidates studying from "[ illegally copied material ]." Apparently, they had access to the real examination questions, leaked and sold by some unscrupulous websites. I imagine those candidates were just cramming the questions and answers by rote. A couple of them approached me and asked whether I had the Drag-and-Drop questions! Apparently, their [ illegally copied material ] did not include those questions. So, I guess they did have to exercise their brains for *some* questions on the exam. (Oh, the inhumanity! )

Presently, a young lady finished her exam and walked out to the lobby (where we were waiting), and I overheard her telling someone that she had scored 97%. I was suitably impressed. Then I overheard her saying that "2 or 3 questions were different." What I understood was that she, too, had access to [ illegally copied material ], but 2 or 3 questions on the exam were not from the [ illegally copied material ], because of which the poor thing was not able to get a perfect score. (Oh, the injustice! )

I am proud of my 77%, because I earned every bit of it. I can't decide whether to feel angry at the unethical test-takers for diluting the value of my certification, or to feel sorry for them and their employers. I guess I will just shrug it off, like one of those things in life that you just have to live with.

*shrugs*

There. Done. Thanks for listening!
</rant>

Next, I will be preparing for SCWCD. My voucher expires in 6 days, though, so I really should get cracking! I'll be using HFSJ for my preparation.

And by the way, many thanks to Ms. Sierra and Mr. Bates (and the rest of their team) for writing such a great book for SCJP 5! I have no doubt I could have scored more than 90% had I studied the book more diligently.
 
Ashok Suthar
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Even i know many such instances...

Whats the solution?



 
Vishal Ashtaputre
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Yes that's quite true. There should be something done to stop this and maintain the heights of this wonderful series of Sun certifications.

Rohit - About SCWCD, i think you should go for Mikalai Zaikin's study notes. This is very short and to the point for getting the touch in small time. HFJS is nice book, but then 6 days would be less, i guess.

All the best

 
Rohit Kanwar
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Vishal,

Thanks for the suggestion. Mikalai Zaikin's study notes look useful; I'll try them!

As for what we can do about the problem of cheating:

(1) We can make it difficult for people to cheat. For example, when we discover a website selling or hosting [ illegally copied material ], we can inform Sun about them, and hope that Sun's lawyers get that operation shut down.

(2) We can find more ways to stand out from those people who just have certificates, but not the real knowledge / skills. For example, by:
- blogging on technical topics,
- writing tutorials or articles,
- creating freeware/shareware applications or free-to-use/freemium/commercial websites.
- contributing to open-source projects, etc.

It's easier said than done, though. As for myself, I plan to start blogging soon after writing the SCWCD exam.

Any other ideas or views?

Thanks,
Rohit
 
Ian Daluz
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Congratulations!!
 
Rohit Kanwar
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Thanks, Ian.
 
Jesper de Jong
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Rohit, congratulations with your SCJP exam, and thanks for not cheating!

I edited your posts, because we don't want to give people who care less ideas for how to find illegally copied material for SCJP. Unfortunately, some websites offer illegally copied material. Here on JavaRanch we cannot allow people to request or offer illegally copied material, not only because we hate to help people cheat, but also because it could bring JavaRanch in legal trouble.
 
Henry Wong
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I am quite happy to have finally become an SCJP. But, my happiness is tempered by the realization that many people attain this certification by cheating, and that means that the certification isn't really worth what I thought it would be.


First, congrats.

As for the cheaters... Think of it like this. Now that you are a SCJP, do you think people just going to throw jobs in your direction? Do you think they will take it easy on you during the interview? The piece of paper is only going to get you so far... at a certain point, the candidate actually have to answer programming questions...

Henry
 
arulk pillai
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Congratulations . Certifications are for your own good. If someone is cheating, then they are cheating themselves. No one is going to give them a job or promotion for just being certifeid. They need to get through the technical interviews, prove their competency at work, etc. So, I would not worry toomuch about the cheaters.
 
Rohit Kanwar
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Thanks, everyone, for your congratulations!

Jesper, thanks for editing my posts; it was the right thing to do.

Henry, arulk, thanks for your perspective. You're right; these candidates still need to prove themselves in interviews and on the job. However, I was hoping that being an SCJP would help my resume stand out a little bit from the hundreds of other resumes for the same position. The problem is, when there are many resume that mention that the applicant is an SCJP, and when, during an interview, many of those applicants are found to be lacking in real Java knowledge, the managers will learn to ignore the certification altogether.

But as far as I understand, we are already past that stage; those looking at a resume already know better than to give a lot of importance to certifications. One's professional experience is also very important. And, there are many applicants which fake their experience too, i.e., make false claims to have worked with some technology or framework. These false claims, too, can be found out during an interview. But, there is still the problem that such a candidate might have got shortlisted for the interview ahead of an honest candidate, thus denying the latter a chance to get interviewed.

I guess there is not much one can do in this situation, other than making one's resume the best it could be, and be really good in one's field of expertise, so that any interview call can be converted into a job offer.

This is life; sometimes it seems that those who adopt unfair means have an edge over us. We can rant and moan about it, but it doesn't get us anywhere. We can ourselves switch to the Dark Side, and that may benefit us in the short-term, but such success is rarely lasting. And even if it lasts a long time, I believe it never brings any satisfaction. In my experience, if I satisfied with the honest effort I made for something, I tend to feel satisfied with whatever the outcome is, no matter whether I originally wanted that outcome or not.

Since this is Javaranch, not Philosophyranch, I will stop now. Thanks for listening!

- Your friendly neighbourhood touchy-feely philosopher
 
Ashok Suthar
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I can see a book coming in my nearby book store soon named...

"Ethical Java" By Rohit.

no offence!!

Respect your views and completely agree with that....
 
Rohit Kanwar
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Ashok Suthar wrote:I can see a book coming in my nearby book store soon named...

"Ethical Java" By Rohit.


LOL.

Meanwhile, here is something that should go a long way towards solving the problem of devaluation of the certification:

New Sun Java Programmer Plus Certification

During the exam, you will be required to code solutions for typical programming problems rather than answering multiple choice questions.

...

Q: Will this exam replace the current Java Programmer exam?
A: Sun believes that performance based Java Programming certification provides both candidates and employers with greater assurance that their skills will meet the needs of the Java Programmer role. Sun will retire the prior versions of the Java Programmer certification in the near future. Sun will provide a public notification of at least 90 days in advance of any exam retirement.

...

Q: How does the Java Programmer Plus Performance exam work? Do I need to write specific syntax, comments, etc?
A: The exam evaluates your ability to write Java code that will successfully compile and return the results requested in the problem statement. The test leverages the Code Challenge engine presented previously at JavaOne. The engine evaluates the code by running a number of test harnesses against the code and comparing the results. Your code must compile properly, but is not checked for specific syntax, comments or style - it just has to meet the requirements of the problem statement.
 
Ashok Suthar
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Excellent....
 
arulk pillai
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Henry, arulk, thanks for your perspective. You're right; these candidates still need to prove themselves in interviews and on the job. However, I was hoping that being an SCJP would help my resume stand out a little bit from the hundreds of other resumes for the same position. The problem is, when there are many resume that mention that the applicant is an SCJP, and when, during an interview, many of those applicants are found to be lacking in real Java knowledge, the managers will learn to ignore the certification altogether.



There are so many other things you can do to stand-out on your resume. Certification is the least in my view.

-- Experience based quantifiable achievements
-- Blog
-- Networking
-- Job hunting skills
-- more creative ways. I have many examples in my resume book.

It is always better to take the path less travelled. Avoid short cuts (cheating ) or path travelled by the most.
 
Rohit Kanwar
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Thanks for your advice, Arul.
 
Deepak Giri
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Rohit Kanwar wrote:
Meanwhile, here is something that should go a long way towards solving the problem of devaluation of the certification:

New Sun Java Programmer Plus Certification



looks very good! thanks for the update
 
ali hashmi
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Ashok Suthar wrote:I can see a book coming in my nearby book store soon named...

"Ethical Java" By Rohit. :

i'll be the first one to get that book .

by the way,congrats on passing the exam and thanks for the update on new certification exam
 
Omar Al Kababji
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Yes cheating is something that you can't stop and that will never be stopped no matter what, we will always live with cheating. But we are missing something important having a certification doesn't mean you are an expert, even if you have a certification in your resume you may pass a recruiter filter and get an actual job interview, but once you are in a technical interview it will be noticed if you are what you claim to be or not.

I have read many excellent CVs but once they get to an interview they can't even answer a simple question like inverting an array. So you can lie and you can cheat but those lies can be discovered very easily.

Omar.
 
Monu Tripathi
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Hi Rohit,

Glad that you took the exam as it should be taken. Congratulations on your score! I am sure you know more that what your score says, given your experience.

Cheating and taking the exam is waste of money and does no good. Outcome is nothing, you just buy yourself a piece of paper which might get you a few interview calls but you will struggle in the interview for sure.
 
Vijitha Kumara
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Congrats
 
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