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Question to Jeanne and Scott

 
Kranti Sri
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Hi Jeanne & Scott,

I am working as Java, J2EE programmer / developer for some years now (9). I never took any certification yet or so far. I am thinking about taking OCAJP 8. How does OCAJP 8 certification make a difference in my career at this point ? or will it make a huge difference ? Please advice or share thoughts.

Thank you,
K
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Kranti,
The most obvious one is that it will motivate you to learn about lambdas. Only Predicates are covered on the OCAJP exam though. The rest of functional programming is on the (not yet released) OCPJP.

I don't think having the OCAJP cert will help on your resume/CV. Unless you live somewhere where HR would scan for certs to advance your resume/CV. A more advanced cert might help though to show you know web services or the like. And the OCAJP/OCPJP are pre-reqs for all the other certs except the architect one.

I don't think the cert will hurt, but I don't think it will make a huge difference either.
 
Scott Selikoff
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I find the certification helps when interviewing with other skilled/experienced Java developers, especially ones that have taken it themselves. While you will sometimes find people who've somehow managed to pass the exam who can't write a line of code (or are just lazy/irresponsible), I found studying for the exam to be a major improvement to my own coding skills. It's like studying English while already being a fluid speaker. It teaches you structure and finer points that you may have overlooked or never been taught.

For example, I used to have so much trouble understanding and applying access modifiers in my code (public/protected/package-level/private). Studying topics like encapsulation really helped me grasp why certain access modifiers were important for certain situations. After all, you shouldn't (but can) mark every variable public!

What I'm getting at is that even if it doesn't help you get a job (I find it almost useless with HR reps), it did add value to my coding skills and lead me to be a far more structured programmer.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Scott,
Interviewing others; that's a good one. In addition to deeper knowledge, it helps me identify a mismatch where someone has the cert on the resume but doesn't know the basics of Java. Asking how he/she studied for the exam is insightful!
 
Roel De Nijs
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I'm definitely with Scott on this one!

I took my first certification exam (SCJP 1.4) at the end of 2005 having almost 2 years Java experience. Although I had to prepare in just 10 days (late delivery of my study guide and not wanting to postpone the exam ) I learnt so much. A year later I took SCJP 5 and I even learnt much more: about new language features (generics, enums,...) but also about Java basics. Being one of the more active contributors on this forum, I still sometimes learn something (even with 10 years of Java experience).

Currently I'm self-employed as a Java developer. So for me it's important to keep your Java knowledge up-to-date, because otherwise you place yourself out of the market and you get no opportunities anymore. Getting certified is one of the means I use to achieve this goal. Another one is attending Devoxx (the European JavaOne) each year.

When you have a few junior programmers in your team, the certification is also helpful when you have a more technical coaching role. Or you can answer their questions more quickly without having to use google Also helps to spot (and explain) mistakes of people who don't know what's happening behind the scenes (e.g. the autoboxing feature). I once encountered code similar to:

Which I refactored to almost exactly the same:

My refactor was rollbacked by another developer and I asked why. His answer: because this solution is more performant because you have to make 1 object and I don't. I My reply: do you know with each iteraton your Integer object needs to be unboxed, and then a new tomprary object is created; if the array has 100 elements, your solution creates 101 objects and mine just 1. After my reply I was allowed to rollback the rollback
 
Kranti Sri
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Thank you very much everyone.
 
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