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Avoid certification

 
Greenhorn
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Last year and a half  i cleared ocp java 8 certification. Oca score was 97%, ocp score was 92% or some high score, i cant remember. I really worked hard and learned Java well as a beginner. Despite what the internet say, Java certification have some seriously  bad reputation, i found that too late. My advice is to avoid it, not a single thing learned during certification cant help write simplest code as a  beginner. By the time you learn to use some framework or to make simple game like tetris most of the things are forgotten. I hate to say it now but certification is useless for beginners, don't do that.
 
Sheriff
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Welcome to the Ranch.

I decided (few years back) to become certified in order to get better understanding about the language and how it works. That didn't teach me how to write simplest possible code, and I didn't expect that, but helped me to avoid some of the pitfalls along the way.
Also I found it beneficial to know some of the things when I was asked during interviews. Probably template questions, but helped me to answer them without thinking for a second what that might be.

Reading certification forum on CodeRanch regularly, I get an impression that programmers new to the field are putting too much weight on certification, and perhaps set wrong expectations. That seemed to happen the same with yourself. Knowing how the car works and how to fix it, doesn't make you a good driver, equally true for the Oracle certifications about the Java language.

If you want to learn more about how to write cleaner code, start by reading book "Clean Code" by Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob). That book in my opinion can serve beginner really well.
 
Enthuware Software Support
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The power of the certification is not in the paper certificate but in the learning involved when you prepare for the certification exam.

Many students don’t know what all should they study and that is why even after spending efforts in cramming multiple books they fail interviews because they lack knowledge of the basics. This is where certification helps. While studying for Java certification, you learn important techniques that you may not have used before. You learn the logic behind a lot the things that you did earlier. This gives you confidence and that confidence translates into better career prospects.

The exam objectives are designed by experts at Oracle and include all the topics that one should master. Following a book that teaches all these objectives makes sure that you don’t miss out on important things that you will be required to know in interviews as well as on the job.

Nobody pays for mere degrees and certifications. But the Java Certification process provides a structured methodology to acquire useful skills, which is what the employers want.

Not everyone gets a personal guide or a mentor. Certifications, (or any other course, for that matter) is kinda like having someone who tells you where to start
 
Liutauras Vilda
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Paul Anilprem wrote:The power of the certification is not in the paper certificate


In academia quite a few students don't understand that too. I'm sure some of the moderators could explain that better.
 
Master Rancher
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I couldn't agree more with what Paul said. I am doing the Java 11 OCP currently, also as beginner. I'm not expecting it to teach me how to program but rather teach me how the Java language works. The studying has helped my learn the basics systematically and rapidly, because as Paul said, the exams give you targets to meet. I think that no matter what, systematically learning the basics will always stand you in good stead, and will allow you to more easily build your knowledge.

I think that there are immediate, tangible benefits that studying for the exams will give, such as:
• learning how to learn: you will be learning new technologies all the time, and studying Java is good practice
• learning to read unfamiliar code: you have to be able to read the pieces of code presented in the exams, which are sometimes complex.
• discipline: you have to have discipline in order to knuckle down and study, and it isn't always easy
• learning to use the API: I use the Java API a lot more when working on my own code than I used to, because I have to use it for study prep
• knowing the Java API: I have found that having to cover broad areas of the API for the exams has helped me to know what's there, when I need it.

I am sure there are others. What the benefits will look like long term, I have yet to find out  . I am sure that I won't regret it, though.
 
Marshal
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Paul Anilprem wrote:. . . not in the paper certificate but in the learning . . .

The same applies to a degree. It doesn't show how much you have learnt, but  how much you can learn.
 
Greenhorn
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osko adamov wrote:Last year and a half  i cleared ocp java 8 certification. Oca score was 97%, ocp score was 92% or some high score, i cant remember. I really worked hard and learned Java well as a beginner. Despite what the internet say, Java certification have some seriously  bad reputation, i found that too late. My advice is to avoid it, not a single thing learned during certification cant help write simplest code as a  beginner. By the time you learn to use some framework or to make simple game like tetris most of the things are forgotten. I hate to say it now but certification is useless for beginners, don't do that.



"osko adamov acclaim" returns nothing.
I guess you have to first _really_ become OCP or at least OCA to know that this badge is easy to verify through acclaim.
I guess anyone can register on this forums and claim anything they fancy.
 
Tahir Abdullayev
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osko adamov wrote:

Tahir Abdullayev wrote:

osko adamov wrote:Last year and a half  i cleared ocp java 8 certification. Oca score was 97%, ocp score was 92% or some high score, i cant remember. I really worked hard and learned Java well as a beginner. Despite what the internet say, Java certification have some seriously  bad reputation, i found that too late. My advice is to avoid it, not a single thing learned during certification cant help write simplest code as a  beginner. By the time you learn to use some framework or to make simple game like tetris most of the things are forgotten. I hate to say it now but certification is useless for beginners, don't do that.



"osko adamov acclaim" returns nothing.
I guess you have to first _really_ become OCP or at least OCA to know that this badge is easy to verify through acclaim.
I guess anyone can register on this forums and claim anything they fancy.


Boško Adamovic



Java is a general purpose language.
OCA and OCP give you knowledge of _core_ Java.
That's why the name Java in certification.
It wouldn't make you a game professional or middleware professional.
You want to write a game? Then you need domain specific knowledge.
I recommend reading "Game Programming Patterns" by Robert Nystrom _for starters_.
The same goes for any specific activity where Java is used.
You are absolutely right that you wouldn't be able to write any commercial program by just passing OCA and OCP exams.
The world of modern programming is more complex than that.
Does it make certification useless? Nope.
You have to know basics before you move to advanced tasks.
Programming in general is not some kind of conventional activity where you can learn something, pass exams and
then just receive cash for doing the same thing all your life.
The best piece which describes programming is one from the Alice Behind the Mirror:

""Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little,
"you'd generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we've been doing."
"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.
If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!" "

Check out Java OCP hall of fame on this site. Everyone who passed OCP test had set their next learning target.
That's the life of any programmer, we always learn something new, there is no way around it.

So OCP will make you a specialist in Java as a _language_.
But Java _ecosystem_ includes tens of thousands of different libraries.
No certification will teach you all of them.
 
Bartender
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As some of the folks already mentioned. Don't just target the paper certification but pay special attention towards what you have learnt during that phase. I have done a lot of IT Certifications including both SCJP1.2(Sun Certified Java Programmer) in 2001 and SCJA(Sun certified Java Architect) in 2011. Well they helps - it shows to the prospective employers that one is serious towards the technologies/skill sets and knows at least something if not everything.
 
Greenhorn
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The purpose of Java certifications is NOT to teach you how to program and it doesn’t advertise itself as that. You need to already know how to program at at least a basic level first.  If you’re a complete beginner, you’re right, it’s not the place to start. Learn from a more general beginning Java (or any language really) programming resource which will teach you about algorithm design, etc.

The purpose of the certifications is to help you learn the ins and outs of the Java language itself so that you can more effectively use it.  

For me, just a few of the benefits have been:

- Becoming more familiar with the APIs to know which are the best ones to use in various scenarios
- Having a clearer understanding of what’s going on under the hood
- Easier debugging as errors are easier to spot and to solve
- Avoiding errors in the first place by using the right tools for the right job in the right way, and using proper Java coding standards, etc.
 
Ranch Hand
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I have to disagree with Bosko(OP).
Certifications provide a foundation of what every programmer new to a language needs to know.
There are hundreds of books written about Java but not all of them may encompass all the basics of what every developer should know.
You should never forget the principles learned about Java when preparing for a certification.

On the other hand some of the code you see on the exams is something you should never use in real life.
Perhaps this is where the certification needs to improve.
 
Greenhorn
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Paul Anilprem wrote:The power of the certification is not in the paper certificate but in the learning involved when you prepare for the certification exam.


Maybe in the USA it is true, but not in Europe. Especially in German-speaking countries: without a paper HRs won't even consider you as a job candidate
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Maria Ind, welcome to the Ranch
 
Maria Ind
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Maria Ind, welcome to the Ranch


Thank you!
 
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I'm doing it for me, myself. As I get older there are fewer jobs available to me. Maybe it will help, maybe not, but just understanding the nuances of say promotion, casting, etc. is very valuable. I would think that the quest for a cert would have to be personal. There will always be better devs out there than me, because they have more actual experience, but I still personally value the certification.
 
Greenhorn
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Yes and no, times have changes

Back in the day I had 2 years of programming before i did 1.4 certification (associate cert didn't exist only programmer and developer certs)
Before certification , I programmed Java for years solid, JDBC, J2SE, NIO, you , graphics you name, but the Programmer cert put me on a totally new level.

Infact in 2012 I know a senior Java dev who did not get a Job (some banking company in NYC) because he did not know particular details on threads, RPC, and what not.) He would have absolutely gotten the job if he had been certified.

Last month I checked out the certifications for Java 8,

What has Oracle done with the fantastic certifications of Sun Microsystems? Complete garbage!! Lots of low level knowledge has been complete left out.

Now it can be because people use frameworks and what not anyways, but it is sad to see the quality of the OCP certifications to decline like that.

On the other hand Oracle (the database) certifications are (still) rock solid, so "less then good level" of certification not a common theme a see across the Oracle corp.

 
Greenhorn
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Maria Ind wrote:

Paul Anilprem wrote:The power of the certification is not in the paper certificate but in the learning involved when you prepare for the certification exam.


Maybe in the USA it is true, but not in Europe. Especially in German-speaking countries: without a paper HRs won't even consider you as a job candidate



I could not possibly agree more! As a professional project manager with 10 years of proven experience in my particular field, and on a pretty high level too, I still get questions about my formal "qualification" in Germany. It's not only here, albeit the Germans have driven it to absurdity, but also very much true for France and a lot of other EU countries. I worked with many US projects and it's most of the time refreshing that practical knowledge rather than titles count but I have also seen the other extreme of that - people that simply sell themselves well and are the loudest, getting positions they simply are not cut out for with their current knowledge levels. There are pros and cons to everything but getting a certificate in a field is definitely more than a paper and has really only advantages.

Oh and hi forum! Happy to have joined you guys! :-)
 
Liutauras Vilda
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Peter, welcome to the Ranch!
 
Peter Mankowski
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Liutauras Vilda wrote:Peter, welcome to the Ranch!



Thank you so much! :-) Looking forward to learn loads from you guys!!
 
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I remembered someone had said:
The exam is just a paper and what's really important is your knowledge gained while studying for the exam.

Since then, i followed the path of certification because gaining new knowledge is worth it after all. I have many certificates but it's never been a reason for my promotion. It's just that people see something valuable in me, they trust the time and effort i had spent to achieve something personally and give me a chance.
Being better is never about the certificate, it's about who you really are.
 
Liutauras Vilda
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Tuan Dinh, welcome to the Ranch!
 
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I agree with the OP. Most certifications are useless, whether Java or not. Very few actually teach any practically useful skills or test any practically useful knowledge.
The Java certification mostly tests your memory and ability to solve useless trivia or trick questions like this:



Why does this print 0 ? The answer is good to know, but it is unlikely that you'll use the post-increment operator like that. You'd mostly use j++ instead of j = j++; Even if you did, you could easily debug the issue and realize that you should not use j = j++ for the sake of your sanity. This is the kind of silly stuff I have seen in certification exams (mock and real). But, certifications are certainly good for those who make money from them

I think that the employers who demand certificates like OCA, OCP (not CEH, A+ etc.) are either not aware of the scope of such a cert, or are simply too lazy to do real training and interviews. They just want a certificate so that they can blindly hire or promote people.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Erran Morad wrote:. . . it is unlikely that you'll use the post-increment operator like that. . . .

What on earth makes you think that? We see that sort of code all the time.

. . . too lazy to do real training and interviews. . . .

Hahahahahahaha! That probably applies to some employers, but surely not all of them.
 
Liutauras Vilda
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Erran Morad wrote:Most certifications are useless, whether Java or not.


Well, you are wrong on few points.

Let's take as an example Cisco System's certificates. CSE (Cisco Sales Expert), CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate), CCDA (Cisco Certified Design Associate). Apart from the fact that they aren't easy to obtain without having solid knowledge about the networking, they also carry a fairly big benefit for the companies if they certain amount of employees certified with my mentioned certificates.

One of those benefits is, that it defines company's partnership level with vendor (Cisco Systems in this case), that has direct implications on the global price list company is getting when they order Cisco networking equipment, that of course puts companies in advantage when they participate in procurements.

So to say the certificates are useless, when they can put company in advantage and help to win a contract with some client, which can equate to few millions dollars, I think when you say useless it is not quite make sense what you saying.

Erran Morad wrote:I think that the employers who demand certificates like OCA, OCP (not CEH, A+ etc.) are either not aware of the scope of such a cert, or are simply too lazy to do real training and interviews. They just want a certificate so that they can blindly hire or promote people.


I haven't come across such company who'd require Java certificate for the candidate to be eligible for the position they offer. Do you have an example you could share to a job spec which require that? I did see some of the job adverts who mentioned "a certifacte is an advantage.." - that is of course different from requirement.

Erran Morad wrote:Very few actually teach any practically useful skills or test any practically useful knowledge.


What type of question you'd find particularly useful within Java certification?
 
Eran Morad
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Liutauras Vilda wrote:

Erran Morad wrote:Most certifications are useless, whether Java or not.


Well, you are wrong on few points.

Let's take as an example Cisco System's certificates. CSE (Cisco Sales Expert), CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate), CCDA (Cisco Certified Design Associate)........



1) Please notice that I used the word MOST certs are useless. I did NOT say all certifications. Towards the end, I have implicitly mentioned that some certs like CEH and A+ can have value.

2) Well, I don't have such a job spec handy. I have seen a few companies where they make it mandatory for junior employees, such as quality assurance to get a cert.

3) I don't find the Java cert useful because of its multiple choice question format. I would like an exam that also prepares and tests us on how to design small components and "apps" and test them. Preparing and doing that test should be like working as a intern in a real company. Is there any cert which like that? I'd be interested in it.
 
Eran Morad
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Maria Ind wrote:

Paul Anilprem wrote:The power of the certification is not in the paper certificate but in the learning involved when you prepare for the certification exam.


Maybe in the USA it is true, but not in Europe. Especially in German-speaking countries: without a paper HRs won't even consider you as a job candidate



Thanks. Which paper document are you referring to? Is it something like a CS degree or is it a Java cert? Do German job postings often explicitly mention that Java certifications are required, say at least for Junior positions?
 
Eran Morad
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:

Erran Morad wrote:. . . it is unlikely that you'll use the post-increment operator like that. . . .

What on earth makes you think that? We see that sort of code all the time.

. . . too lazy to do real training and interviews. . . .

Hahahahahahaha! That probably applies to some employers, but surely not all of them.



1) Yes, many people write bad code, including myself. But, I wish we would be teaching design principles and best practices (like uncle Bob's clean code) and testing people on that.

2) Yes, some employers give undue importance to such certs, not all of them. Perhaps, it says something about the value of those certs. Even before the "good" labor market spell in the US, many companies did not require/prefer certs like OCP.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Erran Morad wrote:. . . Yes, many people write bad code . . . I wish we would be teaching design principles . . . and testing people on that. . . .

The idea of the cert exam is to recognise bad code. It would be very difficult to write an automated exam (MCQ) that recognises good code. A good CS degree should teach students good design principles, however. The assignments have to be marked by hand.
 
Liutauras Vilda
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Erran Morad wrote:Please notice that I used the word MOST certs are useless.


When you say most are useless and don't mention in particular which, you leave me no choice just to choose whatever I want to take as an example to demonstrate you are not quite right possibly

Erran Morad wrote:I don't find the Java cert useful because of its multiple choice question format. I would like an exam that also prepares and tests us on how to design small components and "apps" and test them. Preparing and doing that test should be like working as a intern in a real company. Is there any cert which like that? I'd be interested in it.


https://education.oracle.com/oracle-certified-master-java-ee-6-enterprise-architect/trackp_212
https://education.oracle.com/oracle-certified-professional-java-ee-7-application-developer/trackp_900


 
Marshal
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Erran Morad wrote:Yes, some employers give undue importance to such certs, not all of them. Perhaps, it says something about the value of those certs.



From what I understand, there are parts of the world where getting a certification is absolutely essential to be even considered for a position. You could certainly say that constitutes giving undue importance to the certs. However it's probably a reasonable thing to do when you've got thousands of applications for the job you need done -- at least filter out people who know nothing but pretend otherwise.

And yeah, that then leads to people whose only knowledge of Java is what they learned in order to pass the certification test. I suppose that's why there is a whole range of certs.
 
Eran Morad
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Liutauras Vilda wrote:. . . https://education.oracle.com/oracle-certified-master-java-ee-6-enterprise-architect/trackp_212
https://education.oracle.com/oracle-certified-professional-java-ee-7-application-developer/trackp_900



Thanks. That looks interesting. But, I doubt if someone can choose those tracks just after OCA and OCP. So, how does one prepare for those EE certs? As an aside, is there any simple diagram (like mind map) which shows various certification tracks?

 
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I have the OCA Java 8 cert. I remember studying for it and really getting familiar with evaluating Java code in my head. About a week later I had a Java interview and got the job.

At that job there was a java enterprise app written by consultants with PhDs in math and CS who were not around to enhance the application. There was also no JavaDoc comments to speak of - no public classes or methods had documentation.

I was the only one on the team who had a Java cert so was given the task to enhance it with the new requirements. I did what I could and started reading. It was really challenging at times but after about 2 months, I was able to create enough of a mental model of the codebase, and how to use the classes and interfaces, to make the enhancement.

The OCA certainly made me familiar enough with Java such that syntax, and following along with code blocks was not a hurdle for me anymore. The main challenge was the semantics, the domain modeling, and design patterns which I had to really struggle to understand the how and why of it all. Those things the cert will not teach.
 
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Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop
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