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Where to start with certification, and with this site?  RSS feed

 
Paul Kennedy
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Hello all,

I've been directed to this site because I bought "Head First JSP" but it seems to be out of date already as it directs me to "javaranch" which brings me here, and talks about SCJP exams which now seem to have been superseded by many more!

This site seems massive, the kind where it is better to post a question on a thread than search for others, correct me if I'm wrong? (The book says its a friendly site, so am hoping asking this question is ok!)

I've been a part time java programmer for a few years, have to write basic java programs to integrate between another tool/language the company I work for uses and java modules, but now I am trying to turn myself into a pure java programmer in another division. I am doing ok-ish with the java, but struggling with Struts 2 and JSP. The internet opinion seems to be that JSP should be learned before Struts 2, so I bought Head First JSP and Struts 2 in action, as well as finding tutorials on both on Tutorials Point. First step was Head First JSP and hence I am here.

So my questions:

The JSP books says it prepares us for the Sun Certified Web Components Developer exam, but that we must complete the SJCP exam before that. My understanding was that after Oracle bought Sun, they split this exam into two, the OCA and the OCP, in order to get two lots of money from us rather than one. Is this still the case? Because the names of these certification forums make it look like they have split it into dozens including a junior one?

I want to take that Web Components Exam if it still exists, do I need to take the OCA and OCP exams first? Are there any others I should take? Which books should I use? I have the OCA book by Jeanne Boyarsky and Scott Selikoff. It seems good though I haven't gotten into it much yet. Then I see there is an exam guide one by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates, I imagine it is good based on the Head First JSP book which I am enjoying so far.

Are there any other recommended books and resources for learning Struts 2? PS I am aware people might say "Don't bother, learn Spring, Groovy or whatever" but the reality is the company I work for will be using struts for quite a while to come and it would be really beneficial for me to know it in my current role.

Ok thanks for listening.
 
Pete Letkeman
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I can help with some of the questions here.

OCA book by Jeanne Boyarsky and Scott Selikoff, very much recommended by many people on this site and both Jeanne and Scott actively participates in this site as seen here https://coderanch.com/wiki/659887/certification/OCJA-Wall-Fame.
You need to pass the OCA exam before you can pass the OCP exam. To see how people have prepared for the OCP exam check out this page https://coderanch.com/wiki/659980/Ocajp-Wall-Fame
Paul Kennedy wrote:Then I see there is an exam guide one by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates, I imagine it is good based on the Head First JSP book which I am enjoying so far.

The exam guide goes over the topics which you need to be familiar with which are on the exam and there is no talk about JSP in this book.
Paul Kennedy wrote:My understanding was that after Oracle bought Sun, they split this exam into two, the OCA and the OCP, in order to get two lots of money from us rather than one. Is this still the case?

Yes Oracle did purchase Sun and Java and yes they did split the exam into two OCA and the OCP. Sure money may be a factor for Oracle, but I can tell you that there is a lot of material to know for the OCA exam and even more the OCP exam.
I, for one am glad that they split up the exams. I'm just not too sure I'd want to spend more then two an a half hours taking a combined OCA and OCP exam.

I'm currently preparing for the OCA 1Z0-808 exam and I am using both OCA book by Jeanne Boyarsky and Scott Selikoff and exam guide one by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates along with other materials.
 
Paul Kennedy
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Thanks Pete, sounds like I am on the right track with the two OCA books I've mentioned in terms of the OCA.

Take your point about splitting it being nice so that there is less to cover each time (even though there is a still a lot to cover). My bugbear was is that I have always planned to save up, take a week off and do one of those week long bootcamp courses which prepare you for the SCJP exam, and I see the same companies are offering 1 week bootcamps each for the OCP. For me it is a lot of money as I would need to fly to where they have the bootcamp, and stay in a hotel for the week, as well as pay the bootcamp fee. So I was annoyed at the exam being split in two for that reason, and also because I think Sun Certified Java Programmer and Oracle Certified Java Programmer sound good, but Oracle Certified Associate sounds awful, and sounds like you need to do both to be able to call yourself an Oracle Certified Java Programmer?

I guess this sounds daft, but part of the reason to do this is to bolster the CV for my next job, however the main thing is to learn things to use in this job so it doesn't matter. Plus the more I look in, more people seem to know what OCA and OCP are and respect them both so I think it is ok. But I might try to do the OCA from the book alone, and only do the bootcamp as well for the OCP.

I liked the bootcamp idea because I have spent years working evenings and weekends and had no energy left to read books. However since a company reorganisation I have a bit more time and can actually go through books again.

And yes I know there is no JSP in the OCA and OCP materials, or I figured there would not be, the question is can I learn JSP separately (I have basic uncertified java skills already), and should I make it through the JSP book, can I do the JSP / web components exam or do Oracle operate the same policy as Sun did according to the book (its dated now) and do I have to have done the OCA and/or OCP first?
 
Pete Letkeman
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Paul, I'm not entirely certain that one can learn all of the material for the OCA 1Z0-808 exam by reading the book alone, which is not what you said you were going to do.
However you can learn all that you need to know for the OCA 1Z0-808 exam without a boot camp experience, so this would be less expensive for you.
I would definitely recommend spending more then a few weeks to prepare for the OCA 1Z0-808 exam. Using Enthuware or some other mock exam product along with reading Jeanne & Scott's book, maybe another book or two, and writing many programs.
The programs that you write need only be 10 to 50 lines. I would not recommend using a full featured IDE like Eclipse, or IntelliJ when preparing for the test. Instead I suggest that you use something like Notepad ++ or some other plain/basic editor.

As to the value of certification? That is up for debate. Not all companies treat certifications the same way.

I'm not too sure about the JSP/web material or exams as this is not something that interests me for the time being.
 
Paul Kennedy
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Hi Pete,

Sorry yes I said do it from the book alone, what I should have said is do it mainly from the book, rather than from a bootcamp. Yes I've taken your advice and will definitely use the other resources you have mentioned and that people in the "stories" section of the hall of fame have mentioned, particularly Enthuware. I will probably try to go through Jeanne and Scott's book and take Enthuware tests as a minimum, see what kind of score I get, if its bad will look to boost that with other resources too.

I have to write rudimentary java programs for work anyway, so I should get some practise that way, if I learn funkier things on this journey there is nothing to stop me practising some of it in my work code where appropriate.

Regarding the JSP, and this applies to Struts as well, neither of them interest me either, I would prefer to use HTML, CSS, JS, Angular etc for front end stuff, and a more modern framework than Struts, but it isn't what we do at work for the foreseeable future.

Thanks,
Paul
 
Paul Kennedy
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Again I apologise if this is in the wrong place, as I am finding this forum overwhelming in volume, but is there a place I can ask questions about the "Head First JSP and Servlets" book? I am stuck on an exercise in chapter 1 where the instructions are unclear about where to build the directory structure.

In general, is there help on this book / this topic on this forum? Everything, even the links in the jsp, are about sun, ie sun certified java programmer, links in the web.xml are given as java.sun/blah and are probably defunct etc?
 
Pete Letkeman
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Yes, post all of your concerns regarding that resource. However you may want to make a new thread with an appropriate subject/tile just to be on the safe side and to get as many eyes seeing it as possible.
 
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