Earlier this past summer I purchased the PK-CSPJ-W02B (Java Programmer Certification Package) from Sun. I don't recommend this course, because I found that this was a very poor preparation for the SCJP6 exam. I was able to easily absorb the concepts and move through the entire course within about three weeks, but I learned far more from the SCJP6 Study Guide from K. Sierra and B. Bates than I did from Sun's course.
However, the ONE thing I DID enjoy about the course were the labs. Actually working with the code to produce something was very rewarding, and I liked having the validation of my nascent understanding. Since I don't actually program for a living, I'd like to find sources of 'You-Build Projects' that will give me opportunity to work with the language and confirm that my solutions are valid. I'd particularly like to find something that will guide my OO design approach, since OO programming is about more than the technical requirements of any particular language. Is there something like this available without participating in a protracted instructor-led course? I like the freedom of self-paced learning.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions. I passed the SCJA two days ago, since I wanted to have something to show for my efforts the last six months!
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