How was your 2nd JEE MAIN exam

What you need to know about becoming a Java 8 Programmer Certification

Is the certification as a Java 8 programmer worthwhile? What do you have to do and how do you prepare effectively for the exams? Oscar Centeno has been preparing for the OCA and OCP certifications over the past three months and reports here on his experiences.

A brief introduction to the Java Programmer Certification

The first two certificates for Java 8 are Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) and Oracle Certified Professional (OCP).

It starts with OCA: This certificate does not require any prerequisites and contains basic knowledge such as objects, statements, class design, interfaces, lambdas, core APIs and exceptions. To an experienced programmer, this content may seem very simple; however, this allows you to deepen your knowledge in the various subject areas and is trained in identifying errors. For the exam, 70 questions have to be answered within 2.5 hours - concentration and quick thinking are required. If you want, you can use the appropriate book for preparation, which has a little more than 300 pages.

The second certificate, OCP, is based on OCA. The length of the booklet of almost 600 pages alone suggests that this test is a lot tougher. In fact, it takes a lot more preparation - but I've also learned a lot from it. This time 85 questions have to be answered in the 2.5 hours. They contain more code that has to be read and understood, and you will become correspondingly nimble with it over time. The key to success is practice, practice, practice. The topics include Advanced Class Design, Design Patterns, Generics and Collections, Functional Programming, more about Java APIs, IO, NIO, Concurrency and JDBC.

Is it worth getting the certificate?

Definitely! Both exams help you dig deep into Java and learn its APIs. For the current Java 8 version, for example, I was able to deepen new topics, such as the new APIs or the NIO objects and streams. By preparing for the exams, you become a pro for APIs and also get a trained eye for common mistakes. And of course these certificates add value to your own résumé. Even for professional interviews, journalists and interview partners can use the contents of the certificates to get inspiration for new ideas. After passing the exam, you will receive a badge that can be published on LinkedIn via the page.

What is the best way to prepare for certification?

I prepared in three steps:

  1. Work through the book and solve exam questions

    Oracle has published a preparation book for each certificate:

    Each book includes exam requirements and tips on how to avoid common mistakes. I found the exam questions at the end of each chapter very helpful - especially for OCP, as many topics (e.g. NOK) were new to me here.

  2. Continue practicing with Enthuware's mock exams

    Enthuware has compiled a wealth of questions from current exams and provides a practice tool. This is how it looks:

    Many thanks to my colleague Raquel Rodríguez for this source.
    The Enthuware questionnaires contain more than 600 questions and answers and are inexpensive at $ 10 each. I think it's a great investment to better prepare and feel good about going into the real exam.

    Here are the links:

    Answer these questions like you would in a real exam:

    • Stay within the time frame. Focus on it and avoid distractions - no emails, no social networks, no phone.
    • Highlight questions that you don't understand immediately and then move on. Get in the habit of not getting stuck on one question, but rather answering the next one after 2 to 3 minutes.
    • Cross out any answers you think are wrong by right-clicking. That helped me a lot in avoiding distraction. It also helps to focus and save time if you highlight difficult questions and only come back to them later.
    • At the end, go back to the marked questions and complete them in the given time - even if you are not 100% sure. For example, at some point I noticed that questions were rated incorrectly because I had only selected two answer options instead of the three required. When I became aware of this reckless mistake, I was able to improve my results suddenly.

    As you go through various exams, you may find that you get too many questions wrong. Anyway, go ahead and learn one question at a time. You will get better over time!

    Surprisingly, I came across some special questions that weren't covered in the books. For example, in OCP Enthuware there is a question about “resolveSiblings”, a method in the NIO API that is not listed. See each of these questions as an opportunity to study in case such topics are included in the current exam.

    If you feel like your head is spinning with so much information and you get insecure - don't panic. Go ahead and schedule your exam. It was the same for me and other colleagues. However, if you continue to study in a disciplined manner, you will soon be ready for the exam. Enthuware statistics show that the result of the Oracle exam is usually better than that of the mock exams. It was the same with me. Important: The incorrectly answered questions should be followed up again.

  3. Pay exam fees and schedule an appointment

    You can register for the exams using the links below. Here you can choose an appointment and an examination center. Payment can be made online by credit card.

    My tip: Register for the exam when you will soon have completed all the mock exams. A week in advance would be a good time so that the last test exam is completed one or two days before the date. Do not let too much time pass afterwards, but try to have all the knowledge “fresh” in your head. In my opinion, you have to remember so many details that you run the risk of forgetting what you have learned over time.

So when you've worked through all the books and mock exams - dare to take the exam! Don't forget to read all of the instructions so that you know about the rules.

How long does the certification take?

I spent almost three months doing the following:

  1. to fix an appointentThe main reason that many Java programmers are not certified is that they fail to set an appointment. Excuses such as “I'll start next month” or “I'll keep doing the book one by one for the next 6 months” are your enemy. If you do not make a binding appointment, you will not achieve your goal. I studied for one month for the OCA and two months for the OCP. You can use this as a guide for personal planning. I can only encourage you to take the step!
  2. Schedule fixed learning timesIt is imperative to allow enough time to study. I spent 2 to 4 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week. This seems like a lot of time, but you have to read the book first and then do the exercises to be well prepared. Even if you use Java on a daily basis, the complexities and detailed questions make it necessary to learn beyond that. If you have set an exam date, this will automatically motivate you to reserve study time.
  3. Learn from wrong answersWhat I found most helpful about Enthuware is that if you get a question incorrectly, enough information is provided to really learn something from it. So don't let bad results demotivate you, see it as a learning experience. Go through each test and review each incorrect answer. In this way you learn sustainably. That also explains why it took me so much time to answer all of the tests.

If you've made it to this point, my guess is: you are seriously interested in getting certified. Congratulations in advance! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I'll try my best to help.