Michael Shields

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since Mar 17, 2001
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Recent posts by Michael Shields

Congratulations Fawad!
I took is as a little pride in one's own country, and even a gentle ribbing. One of the great things about JavaRanch is the international participation and I don't think JavaRanch would be anywhere near what it is without it. I wonder just how many countries are represented here? During my travels with the U.S. Navy I visited many countries and continents and I found the regular people are just that, regular people with surprisingly pretty much the same personal goals in life.
[This message has been edited by Michael Shields (edited May 30, 2001).]
[This message has been edited by Michael Shields (edited May 30, 2001).]
20 years ago
Yay!!! Cleared with an 81. A big thanks to JavaRanch, JQ+ team and Marcus Green. The exam did have a lot of code questions and thanks to Marcus's sage words I did RT?Q(Read The !#@$@ Question).
There was one ambigious question and that dealt with the proper formation of the "main" statement. The exam presented a malformed "main" statement and asked "What is the result." and listed the standard compile and run, compile error, run error answers. I'm not sure, but I think it would have compiled and caused a run error, but a more clear question would have been "What is the result of attempting to compile and run this code." Anyway that was one of the easier ones and anyone going for the SCJP had better know how to form a "main" statement.
An extra thanks to Marcus for his explanation of the GridBagLayout manager IS on the exam, despite printed material stating the opposite. As far as studying goes, first I hit the text books, starting with Java in 21 Days then Wrox Beginning Java 2 by Ivor Horton and then focusing on the SCJP specific books. After the books I went through every question in JQ+ and final preparations were all three Marcus exams.
To those receiving low scores on the practice exams, don't despair. I first recieved an average of 40 to 50 on the exams, but after repeating the same questions and looking for what the question is asking and then making sure I learned and understood what the question is asking really helped me. I was averaging in the 90's before I wrote the exam.
A really big help was taking the code from the questions in the mock exams and pasting it into a file and then playing what if. This really helped my understanding, especially at the end.
Contrasting the SCJP with the MCSD is not a fair comparison because SCJP is very language intensive whereas MCSD is both language intensive and solution oriented. I haven't gotten my SCJD yet(and I will someday), but I suspect it will deal much more than just language and more with solving a problem. The MCSD is a series of four exams, with 1 exam being mandatory for all. Two exams deal with a language track, such as VB or C++. One of the language track exams is a Desktop exam that deals with developing smaller programs primarily for the individual computers(Client Server paradigm) and the other is a Distributed that deals more with large scaling applications where one might have 10,000 users connected. The fourth exam is an elective such as Access, SQL Server or Interdev. The Microsoft exams are not easy if you don't know what is going on. For example there may be thirteen answers given and you have to select the correct ones, only they don't tell you how many correct ones there are. The questions can be longer also, some are 3 and 4 screenfuls of reading. However, I don't believe they delve as deeply into the language as the SCJP. The ability to see the objects from Object on down is truly something beautiful.
My general impressions of Java vs. VB is that they are two different animals. What VB has going for it is the Rapid Application Paradigm(RAD). This was a made decision by Microsoft and that is why VB has never had true inheritance. Fairly sophistated applications can be completely constructed in a day or two(or maybe a few more, but not really that long), however deploying that app can lead to some real dll hell because of all the different OS's(Win95, Win98, Win98SE, WinME, WinNT4, Win2000, WinXP). The really neat thing about java is the JVM. After the JVM is installed(a one time thing), just copy the program files to the machine and fire it up. This is a major advantage over VB. Also I love the exception handling and free threading available in Java, and the LayoutManagers do seem to be able to easily put some sparkle into the application.
My biggest concern about Java is that it is not "mature" as it could be. The underneath mechanics are very sound and the Layout Managers are neat, but the little things like the Common Dialog box is not as functional as I would like it to be. But all in all, I can easily see that Java is probably the closest thing to a perfect language that there is. It has a very lot going for it. With the .Net initiative going on at Microsoft it seems like Microsoft is finally trying to do it right, but the deep underlying system at Microsoft is still flawed due to its dependence on WinTel. Time will tell, but consider this: I can go purchase VS.Net, WinXP, etc. and accesories for how many thousands of dollars or I can go get Java and Linux for free.
Well enough rambling for now. Again a ongoing thanks and gratitude to JavaRanch for the best certification site I have ever run into. There really is something special here. Marcus your mocks are outstanding. JQ+ you're doing it right too. Thanks and I'll check back periodically. It's on to MCDBA for now. Let's not forget the data for our applications. It is sorta, kinda important.<Grin>
Michael D. Shields, MCSD, SCJP
(gee, thats the first time I've ever written that)
20 years ago
Why doesn't some JavaRancher.talented(true); create a way to automatically post once a week(or month or whatever) so a topic like this will bubble to the top?
20 years ago
Yay!!! Thank you for the policing of illegal activities to maintain the integrity(sp?) of our certifications. Every time somebody gets a cheap cert, it lessons the perception of the legit certs. For a case study research the history of MCSE.
20 years ago
If you want it, then keep taking the test. It's just a matter of time. If you don't stop trying then you will never fail.
Some evidence of this:
1.
When Edison was asked how he felt after he failed to create a light bulb after 10,000 failed attempts, he stated that he had not failed 10,000 times, but succeeded in finding 10,000 ways that would not create a light bulb. You have not failed but merely succeeded is finding out your knowledge level twice.
2.
The U.S.'s first attempts to launch a rocket into space were marked with spectacular ways on how not to launch rockets. They adjusted and succeeded.
3.
A story about the founding of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Harlan Saunders retired at 65 and was unhappy with his retirement income, but had a great fried chicken recipe which he thought would sell. After being rejected by literally 1,006 restaurants, he kept attempting and the 1,007th accepted and the rest is history. He never gave up because he wanted it. If you want it, then don't give up.
You have received result's and found out your knowledge level. Look to just receive a result and adjust accordingly based on that result. Look for different ways of learning. While repetition is the mother of learning, repetition of different methods will your increase knowledge the quickest. The actual questions in JQ+ are not the key, but the concepts covered are. When you run into a concept you do not know, find out why that concept is in java, code that concept, learn what others think of the concept, think of what would be lost if that concept were not available, find out if other concepts are related...
It's not where we begin, because we all started at the same level, it's where we go that matters. It's only a matter of time and direction. To borrow a phrase, "Where do you want to go today."
Keep going!
Michael
20 years ago
Sun has a practice exam with 75 questions(and answers) for $50(US). Does anyone have any opinions regarding this? In what situations would it be worth it to purchase the exam simulation? I am assuming the questions and explanations are quality because it was created by Sun. Is this a correct assumption? I don't mind the $50 if it will enhance my Java learning as this is my career, but I do insist on correct and interesting material when it comes to plunking down my hard earned dollars. Has anybody purchased and tried it out yet?
Link to simulation:
https://ebcentral3.sun.com/SES/USA/courses/WGS-PREX-J025.html
Thanks,
Michael
Don't think of yourself as "losing", but "winning" because the only way to fail is to quit trying. You have gained in your knowledge of Java and YOU WILL pass if you keep trying.
20 years ago
IMHO,
The way I always answer the question of what to do next is what does my employer need. Remember if your current employer has this need, chances are more empoyers have the same need. Oh, BTW CONGRATULATIONS!!! Also creating your own web page and then displaying sample programs is a good exercise that leads to a further understanding of the language. Thinking of yourself as an architect and carpenter and adding more tools to your toolbelts can also help clarify where you want to go.
Hope this helps some.
Michael
20 years ago
Thanks for the responses.
The results so far:
Section 1-6 � Fundamentals,
Section 6 � Overloading & Overriding
Section 7 � Threads
Section 8 � 2 on events, 2 on layout managers
Section 9 � Java.lang Package
Section 10 � 2 on collections
Section 11 � I/O
All areas were covered, but maybe less emphasis on GUI and Java.util package. Once I do successfully write the SCJP I will certainly provide a contrasting between the two certifications and will post my opinions in both here and the Certification Results Forum.
My goal in life is to get every letter in the alphabet behind my name. Just kidding. Seriously, I am a MCSD(VB track) looking to add more tools to use in solving problems. The Java tool is very interesting and seems very powerful. I have passed five Microsoft exams(including Interdev) and will gladly offer any advice to others looking to take them. However, I am looking for advice on writing the SCJP.
My reviews of previously presented material gives me the impression that the three most important things in preparation is code, code and code. I have extracted the code samples from Brogden's Java2 Exam Prep book and there are quite a few. In fact I am inundated by the volume. While preparing for the MS exams, certain areas were more important than others, for example in VB Desktop there are quite a few questions on ADO. In the VB Distributed there are quite a few questions on COM. In Interdev a main topic was ASP's.
Are there certain areas in SCJP that are more important than others? If so, what are the areas where an thorough understanding is necessary? Sun lists 11 sections and they all seem as important as the other. But, for example, are there more questions about Section 6 - Overloading, Overriding, Runtime Type, and Object Orientation than Section 3 - Garbage Collection? I understand that an exact enumeration of the sections is not useful or accurate, but a general listing of opinions would be very helpful.
Thank you to all and I have already made this my home page and intend to make this site my first stop when researching areas for the SCJP.
Michael D. Shields, MCSD www.michaelshields.com