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Karen Jirak

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since Sep 13, 2005
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Recent posts by Karen Jirak

Hey Chris,

In your scriptlet code in result.jsp, when you declare the list styles you capitalize it, but in the next line it starts with a lowercase "s". I think maybe fixing that should fix your problem.
Hey Chris,

What compiler are you using, 5.0? You get those warnings when you use Lists and you don't specify types, because of the new generics in 5.0. It's nothing to worry about... they are most likely just warning you that you are inserting a raw object into a list and it wants you to parameterize it. It's no problem for the running of the application, though.
Hi Ice!

OK, I'm frustrated with not being able to express myself accurately . I have to quote myself and explain...

And I guess that making a certification easier to pass devalue a certification to some extent - I was reading the other day how some employers looked at certification with disdain since they had hired some certified and found that they didn't know as much as they had expected.

Devalue was a bad choice of words, I think. I honestly don't think that any Sun certification has been degraded, especially when you see a top notch employer such as SAS putting that in their list of desired qualities. When you pass SCJP, you know something. But ANY certification book will make passing the exam easier. Sure, it can even teach you enough to pass the exam with little OO experience if you study it hard enough, I think... and what employer would like a candidate like that? How often do you think that happens? I would argue that it doesn't happen very often. First of all, what employer would hire a person in who has no OO experience? All you have is a certification? They're not basing the hiring on just the certification. I don't think certification serves as much more than something to help get your foot in the door. What employer in his or her right mind would hire someone based on a certification alone? All that a certification implies is a certain level of knowledge in the subject, at least at the time the person took the test.

This book is writen by an author that was involved in the actual Sun exam. Therefore, it is logical to expect that you'll be told what you'll get on the exam

I think we're told what the exam will be like, and the sorts of things that will be on the exam. This is no different than any other cert book, except that they can do it for us more accurately than most. If they told us what we'd get on the exam, I am betting they would probably have some legal issues to deal with.

Nearly everyone that get her/his hands to this book gets certified with fantastic score(Yeah, what's up with that? It's kinda strange..)

I'm not sure how much basis you have for this... but let's assume that it's true for the sake of argument. You have to have a certain level of knowledge about servlets\jsp to pass the test... and people who read that book have that level of knowledge, and then some, since the book contains all sorts of extras that are not on the exam. I fail to see how this is a bad thing.

This book will create a warm, fuzzy efect on you after you read it-probably cause of the jokes and characters. You will be convinced that you actually learned something.

I think that a good score on the certification test is probably more convincing that you learned something than the warm, fuzzy effect. And if you passed the cert test, especially with a good score, then you have learned something... which is...

a firm, nice overview of the technology

Bingo! That is all that a certification implies, at least to anyone who understands it. What's wrong with a nice firm overview of the subject?

but won't know how to apply it

I think this is debatable. It depends if you have done any work on the computer of your own, trying out the jsps and servlets for yourself - which the books encourage, by the way. BUT, I think that the certification ONLY implies the very firm overview, I don't think that the certification implies that you have a seasoned jsp\servlet programmer's grasp on the subject. If that's what an employer is expecting when he sees SCWCD on a resume, I think he or she really doesn't understand what the certification is about. A blog I read it the other day put it best (sorry I can't credit it, I don't remember where!), this is all 'catalytic knowledge'. Seeds that have been planted in your brain that you CAN use on the job. It's all that people have, before they have been granted that first job and afforded a chance to get some real experience. That, and any practice they have done on their own. I don't think that most people would expect a SCWCD cert to be equivalent to years of experience.

If 1,2,3,4 are TRUE, than it is likely that HFSJ can degrade the value of the Sun's SCWCD certificate

Most of what you mentioned can be said about any certification book, not just about HFSJ. Are you against cert books, in general? Are you against certifications, in general? As long as people recognize them for what they are, I think they're great. I don't think that employers expect a SCWCD to be a seasoned jsp\servlet programmer. If they do, then the certification NEEDS to be devalued in their eyes, such that they see it as it is - something that implies a nice, firm overview of the subject.

Thanks again, Ice!


[ October 14, 2005: Message edited by: Karen Jirak ]
[ October 14, 2005: Message edited by: Karen Jirak ]
I'd like to send you a private message but your box is full!

Thanks, Karen
Hi Peer!

To address a few of your comments:

you do not address the "expectations" that the the "Head First" phenomenon is creating, i.e. that everything should be this "easy".

Gosh, does the head first phenomenon really expect it to be "easy"? I don't mean any sarcasm by this, it's just that I never got that feeling from it. I do think that they mean to imply that it should be easier then learning from "normal" textbooks, and with this much I agree.

As you have accurately pointed out, creating easy and interesting material is more time consuming and not always appropriate in a technical field that is evolving very quickly - in fact sometimes you have to be grateful that there is any documentation at all - which most likely had to be created in the most expedient fashion possible.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. I have used several technologies where the resources were incredibly scarce. But, when it comes to pervasive technologies, such as Java, I think that authors may be beginning to realize that there is a ginormous market for head first thinkers out there. Two of the top 25 best selling O'Reilly books are Head First books - neither of which were even created for certification, which means people only bought them to learn the technology and not pass an exam! Not to mention that Head First Servlets and JSP is #3 of the editor's picks at Amazon for 2004. I think that more authors will be reliazing that, not only is this a great way to teach people, but it's not a bad way to make money, either

While the "Head First" approach is beneficial from the learning perspective, it also seems to have created a significant group of people that will not venture into any new territory that hasn't been already explored by "Head First".

I can agree with you here. A lot of people may just use it to pass the test, do more than they have to, and that's that. Hopefully those people are the minority. I have a feeling those people will be weeded out by employers - a certification may help you get an interview, but many times it is what you do at the interview that gets you the job. Yes, this book does make it much easier to pass the exam, I will admit. And I guess that making a certification easier to pass devalue a certification to some extent - I was reading the other day how some employers looked at certification with disdain since they had hired some certified and found that they didn't know as much as they had expected. However, I think that a lot of employers see it as a good thing. The SAS institute frequently lists SCJP as desired qualities in their job listings, and they are one of the top employers in the country. And if you have done just enough to get by, I think you may find yourself in big trouble when you are at an interview or on the job, if you make your way to that point. You may not last long.

I'm sorry but as a professional in this field you have to be able to read and extract the facts from dry and convoluted specifications, white papers, articles - most of which are produced under extreme time pressure.

Again, I agree, and I have done so many times. But I do find that, if I don't make the material 'come alive' for myself, the retention of the material is more limited than if I do. On the other hand, if I have head first-like material I can retain the information for longer and learn it more quickly. But being able to process this dry material is definitely an essential skill, and hopefully most of us have that skill already.

Ultimately the only documents that you have any control over are you own

Again, this is a great point. Another thing that I do when I am learning a technology is to make MY OWN notes on the subject, kind of like MZ's notes. You can set things up how you like them and how you learn best, which is great. I personally like to hyperlink online notes to make a sort of "brain map" where I can follow tangents in my own thinking . I did this for SCJP and now I am doing it for SCWCD, as well.

Thanks for bringing up these points, Peer!


[ October 14, 2005: Message edited by: Karen Jirak ]
[ October 14, 2005: Message edited by: Karen Jirak ]
Hi everyone!

Good discussion here. I'd like to address this comment from Ice:

You should note that I approve the HF-theory about efficient learning. But, I think that that's the reader job--to know to 'put himself in efficient mode'. He should know best from his experience. Why don't you just publish a book, let's say, 'Head First Thinking' , and describe how you should learn. Then, make a recomendation to that book from your HF-series. Then I can use your HF-series without the things I find a bit irritating. This seems pretty OO to me, opposed to 'repeating the code' in every HF-book. BTW, I know that's impossible for many reasons.

Being that you don't seem to learn this way best, Ice, you don't seem, to me, to understand the mindset of someone who does. I have a master's degree in computer science (or, at least, I will by the end of the month). Do you know how much time I have put into doing the sort of thing that is done by the head first series? I definitely learn best by making the material 'come alive' - making little stories, quotes, or jokes to help me memorize and/or understand things. Doing this has gotten me a 3.88/4.0 GPA for my masters. But it takes A LOT more time while you are reading a book to make the material 'come alive' in this manner for yourself, so that you can more easily retain what you have read. I have to make up my own stories, quotes, jokes, etc. In head first, most of that is done FOR you. This is what makes it remarkably efficient for someone who learns best in this fashion. And in case you're wondering, no, making up the stories, quotes, etc., myself, does not help me to remember them better. Usually they don't help me remember as well, because my stories, jokes, and quotes are not as good . I can truly understand when Bert says that writing a Head First book is a lot more work than writing a 'normal' (normal.equals(boring)) book .

There are multiple ways of learning, sometimes there are multiple ways of 'learning best', even for a single person. My favorite methods are the 'head first' method - where you make the material come alive for yourself, and, in addition, putting the material to use, for myself. Taking what I have learned in books and immediately making a project where I can use it for myself, and test things out. If you JUST use the head first book to learn servlets and jsp and expect it to teach you everything, sure, you won't get half as much out of it. From reading the book, I really don't think that is even what Bert, Kathy, and Bryan intended. But the same thing can also be said about Core Java (I have the latest edition of this book and have read most of it, as well). And for Core Servlets and JavaServer Pages. And for ANY technology textbook.

I am INCREDIBLY grateful to have this type of book, it seriously gets into my head and allows me to spend less time in rote memorization. I am hoping and praying that books on more technologies will soon follow the same appraoch. I look in the bookstore and I see more books at least heading towards this trend, like the Just Java series.

All of that being said, I respect the way that you presented your views, Ice. Please just remember that if you don't learn the 'head first' way best, then maybe you can't accurately put yourself into the shoes of someone who does.

To Kathy, Bert, and Bryan,

More tigers, please .

[ October 14, 2005: Message edited by: Karen Jirak ]
Hey Santana and Agrah,

Santana, good to hear you are going for the SCWCD exam, as well! Yeah, I am on to chapter 3 of HF servlets and JSP, good so far! I am looking forward to seeing you both in the SCWCD forum !
16 years ago
Hi Agrah!

I've gotten through about 50 pages of HF jsp and servlets so far, it's great! I really don't think it will be necessary to get a whole network running, but I am not positive, yet. The thing that you need to do (and they walk you through this) is install a web server and a web server application - that would be apache tomcat. This is free software, and it is easy to install with the instructions given. Now I have it up and running - I did my first mini servlet yesterday . That's too bad you don't have enough money for the simulator - when I got my SCJP 5.0 simulator, they had a buy 2 get 1 free special, so I got the SCWCD and the SCBCD simulators at the same time, as well. In any case, if the difficulty of the SCWCD test is on par with the SCJP test, I would think that head first book in addition to the SCWCD study guide by MZ would be enough. And coming to java ranch, of course! I would bet we can probably find some other sources, as well. Sounds like your progress may be similar to mine... we'll get through it !
16 years ago
Hi Agrah,

Yes, you are correct, I do think that Java is the language of the future and I hope that it will be around for a long time. While I do like the .net platform and .net certainly has its niche, I do think that it is limited by lack of portability, among other things. Right now, Java use seems to be increasing around here, at least, and I think the more that we can learn of it and its related technologies, the better off we will be!
16 years ago
Thanks for the congrats Bert, I'm honored! Having read your 1.4 certification book and having started the head first servlets and JSP book, I just wanted to thank you and Kathy, both, for everything that you have done for the Java community - including running this place . Thanks to all others who have a hand in running java ranch and to Bryan Basham, as well... learning is seldom this fun .
16 years ago
Agrah, I'm sorry for misspelling your name!

Hi again Santana! Yes, I agree with you, it was a toss up for me in deciding which was next, the BCD or the WCD exam. In the end, I decided to go for the WCD because servlets and JSP seem to be in most of the lists of things that employers around here want, even a bit more than EJB. But, I do have the head first EJB book, as well, and you can be certain that that one will be next in line for me, too .

You are correct, I am in the state of North Carolina in the United States. I have a background in biology as well, having gotten a batchelors degree, as well, so I am looking into some of the biotech companies around here (although I am not limiting myself to that area by any means). Luckily, we have an area here called Research Triangle park that is between 3 of the biggest and most esteemed universities in the state, and many technology companies are in that area. Hopefully, it will not be all that long until I can find a job out there . Where are you located? And you, as well, Agrah?
16 years ago
Thanks again Agrah! And I am sorry for misspelling your name earlier!

Mikalai, thank you for the congratulations, and thank you even more for the study notes! Those are really an amazing resource, I was so glad to have them. You are doing an enormous favor to many of us to have them up, especially with so little material for the 5.0 exam currently available.

Thank you, as well, Marcus! One other thing I forgot to mention regarding the examulator is that while the whizlabs simulators were great for me during preparation, I thought that the examulator was the best tool to use to be sure you are ready for the exam. While the whizlabs simulator were harder than the real exam, I really felt that the level of questions in the examulator were just about the same level of difficulty as the real exam. If you do well on your questions, I feel that most would do well on the real exam, as well.

And thank you as well, Srinath! I appreciate it!
16 years ago
Thanks Argah! And congratulations Santana!

I have to say that I agree with Argah - I would definitely stick with one thing, Santana, be it either Java or .net. People in the industry (at least around here) seem to like specialists who are gurus in one thing (and its related associations) rather than people who know a little of everything and a lot of nothing. I had also thought about going the route of diversifying, but it seems that all the jobs around here seem to want one specialty, with related things, rather than something like both a lot of Java and .net knowledge. For this reason I am definitely going for the SCWCD exam, next (perhaps be seeing you in that forum next, Argah ). I started the book Head First Servlets and JSP by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates yesterday - I do enjoy the head first series very much. In addition, in the book Kathy and Bert say that even if you are brand new to servlets and JSP, studying should probably only take 6 to twelve weeks, depending on how much time you have to devote to it per day. I'm finishing up my masters degree in computer science right now (will be done next month) and trying to find a new job at the same time, so it may take me just a bit longer. I am thinking that the K&B SCWCD book in addition to the whizlabs SCWCD simulator that I bought will be enough to prepare for this test (in addition to coming to the SCWCD forum here, of course).

Good luck to you both, and congrats again!
[ October 02, 2005: Message edited by: Karen Jirak ]
16 years ago
Argah, congrats! I passed today, as well! Thanks again for your help !

16 years ago