Hello Jeanne & Scott!
I'm curious whether many employers would view the OCA certification as enough for an entry-level job or whether it is more accurately seen as a stepping stone toward the OCP which would actually hold some weight with employers.
It's completely subjective but (to me) any certification would be good for an entry level job. Most entry level applicants can't tie their own shoes, so being able to demonstrate any knowledge in the language is a plus. As many people have said on this forum, applying for a job is about a complete package. No one thing will get you a job. It's about offering employers a lot of different qualities.
That said, the most valuable thing you can have for an entry level job is experience.. which is counter intuitive if you think about it since entry level means no experience. But experience is the #1 thing they will care about so internships can be a big help here.
Thanks. Your reply brings up another question. I'm completely open to the idea of an internship or apprentice position but, as an older "entry-level" candidate, I've struggled to find any internships that aren't explicitly aimed at new grads. Almost every one of them says "recent graduate" in the requirements.
Any thoughts on that?
That's a tough one. To me, entry level = recent grad, but that is definitely not always the case. For those further along in their career, I would try to make that case that the previous work they accomplished, even if not directly involved in programming, was applicable to job. For example, customer service reps have a lot of experience dealing with people and a good chunk of being a developer is working with people. Something like that. This is true of any career, though, not just software development. Switching professions can be difficult and requires some additional work.
"Experience" can be volunteer like building an app or a website or contributing to open source. If you just show up with an OCA and nothing else, I don't think you are going to compete well for a job.
Dave Junta wrote:I'm curious whether many employers would view the OCA certification as enough for an entry-level job or whether it is more accurately seen as a stepping stone toward the OCP which would actually hold some weight with employers.
Here is my personal opinion (from my own experiences).
The real value probably depends on your current Java knowledge and level. If you are a Java greenhorn, you'll definitely benefit from preparing for this certification. Your Java knowledge will definitely increase and you'll get a solid understanding of Java and OO basics. If you already have (some) Java experience, you might learn a few new things but the biggest value will be taking the OCPJP certification exam and becoming Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 8 Programmer. And this certification lets you take any other Java certification (from Oracle).
One of my former colleagues was an experienced developer (+15 years as a VB6 and .Net developer) but had very limited Java experience. So after she prepared and passed the OCAJP7 certification exam, her Java knowledge had drastically improved.
Regarding a possible job position: a certification could definitely be useful if you are looking for a Java developer position, but it's certainly not a guarantee. Even with an OCPJP8 certification under your belt, it's still not a guarantee. But it might make the difference between some equivalent candidates. It shows different positive aspects for a programmer: eager to learn, want to study and improve your knowledge (in your own time), you are up for a challenge, you have an eye for detail,... But you probably not get a job just because you are certified. So a certification is never a guarantee for a job, but it may help turn the scale in your favor. In this thread and this one you'll find some advice to increase your chances to get an entry-level job as a Java developer.
All my certifications are on my resume (without passing scores), but I rarely get questions about them. And not even a technical question to verify if I really passed that certification. That might be because there are a bunch on that list (and/or because I've been a technical reviewer for some study guides which are also listed on my resume). Or maybe because the employer finds experience much more important. But the main reason why I take/took the certifications is to improve my Java knowledge and to keep up-to-date with the latest improvements of the Java language and syntax, not to have some eyecandy on my resume.