Bert Bates

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since Oct 14, 2002
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Recent posts by Bert Bates

congrats to the winners, and thanks to everyone for your questions.

And good luck to you all on your certifications!
personally i would want to be scoring a bit higher. i'd feel less stress if i had a bigger margin of error.

some practice exams are harder than others though - you might ask on the OCA forums which exams are harder and which are easier.
I don't have any statistics. From what we hear on JavaRanch and by reading Amazon reviews, some people do just fine with a single, good exam guide. And then a lot of people report that they like to add some practice exams along with a guide or two. It also depends on your goal. Some people are fine to simply pass. Others are hoping to get 100% or close to 100%.

good luck!
There is no way to know how long it will take to prepare. But there are many good practice exams you can use and they are a fine indicator of your progress and how far you have to go in your studies. So you could take a practice exam right now to get a sense of what you already know well enough now, and what areas you need to study.
I'm on thin ice a bit here but...

I think we can learn some good lessons from FP while at the same time not having to be purely FP. One such lesson is to remove state from as many classes as possible, and to corral (hey, a rancher term!), state into specific parts of your app. To that end, I think empowering interfaces as Java 8 did can help with such redesign. I would agree however that it's harder to talk about things like inheritance now. 
Depending on your background, two months might not be enough. I would say that for each exam, you ought to study until you're doing well on practice exams - however long that takes.

I would use an exam study guide to be the core of my study materials. These guides are focused on exactly the topics that are on the exam. So you can use other resources to find out more about specific topics, but the exam guide itself gives you a sort of blueprint for studying.

good luck!
The OCA 7 part of  K&B 7 covers "most" of the objectives of the OCA 8 exam, but Oracle added a few new things like simple lambdas, ArrayList and some of the new Date / Time API. You might still pass with the OCA 7 book, but it doesn't cover those topics. You can go to Oracle's website and compare the objectives between the OCA 7 and the OCA 8.

As for using other resources, it seems like a lot of candidates do use other resources, I'll kick that question out the the JavaRanchers 
We're glad you like HF Java, thanks!

We can't be quite as creative with this certification book, but we do our best to make it fun.
No need to take all the exams - just the current Java 8 exams would be plenty to bring you up to date. The current exams still test on features introduced in Java 5, 6, and 7.
Of course a LOT has changed in Java since 1.4. Even if you don't officially *need* to get certified, it's a great way to prove to yourself that you're really up to speed on all the new features.
We thought we'd update HFJ for Java 8. Then we started hearing about Java 9 and thought we would wait. Now we're thinking we're going to see what happens with Java 9 and jigsaw and all that stuff and then decide what to do. But someday, we'll update HF Java.

As for the certification book. We don't have the same open ended environment for this book, but we still do everything we can - given the format - to make the book as easy to learn from. I think that you would still recognize our writing style if you got the cert. book. And I have to say, McGraw Hill has a nice format for a cert. book.
thanks, i hope you're happy with it.

But be aware - a lot of what's in this book came from the Java 7 book. Oracle left MOST of the exam objectives the same between the OCA 7 and the OCA 8. If the objectives didn't change, we didn't change the book much.
I think people will use them more broadly than Oracle would suggest, and that new best practices will emerge. And of course you're correct, they will undoubtably be used in unfortunate ways as well. 
Hi Satya,

That's a tough question to answer! There are many reasons why a person might want to learn FP. If your goal is to see how FP is different and what it has to offer and how to think in FP (all good goals), I think I'd recommend Clojure before I'd recommend Scala.

If you want to learn more about FP for your job, then I'd say that I'd find out what your employer or potential employers are thinking. If everyone you want to work for is using Scala, then it makes sense to learn Scala.

I wouldn't call Java 8 a functional language however. It's still an OO language that now has a few popular FP features.
These exams are surprisingly difficult, even for experienced Java programmers. Your plan might work, but the end of chapter mock exams don't cover EVERY topic in the chapter. If you can really do honest self-assessment (which is also hard), you might also review the "two minute drill" bullet points and honestly assess whether you know all of the details.

Also, the book comes with two complete mock exams, so you could also take one of those early in your studies, see how you do, and focus your studies on the areas where you don't do well.

good luck!