Dec 22, 2008

Sun Certification - Is it Worth ?



I wrote things below few years back - 
" I have three Java certificates: SCJP, SCWCD, and SCBCD. 
Apart from this I have a testing certificate CTFL from ISTQB.
I started my career in marketing, then sales boy, then Outbound Call center, then Inbound call Center, and then I joined a technical Inbound Customer Care process. Then I worked in HR deptt. of a s/w company, and then finally joined a s/w firm as a tester. I did testing certificate, and as soon as I completed certification I got a offer of java programming. I was comp. science graduate and I loved programming, So I accepted the offer, and a java programmer was born.
Within the first six months of my Java programming experience I did SCJP.  It was worth. I learned a lot from this exam, and applied lot of things in my live project. Still after more than two years that knowledge helps me whenever i am writing any java code. That certificate also helps me in clearing any interview. I would SCJP is worth, no matter how much experience you have, no matter how old you are. Take exam, clear it, remember it, and enjoy it.
I worked in Web Development for two  years. Using Servlet, JSP, HTML, Tomcat, web.xml, etc. When i started Web Development I came to know about SCWCD, and found it interesting. I gave exam, and cleared it. I became master of servelet and jsp. But then there is much more than this in Web development. Application server, Web Server, XML, etc. Even if we only talk about development part then only knowledge of servlet and jsp is like a beginner. If u don’t know struts, spring, hibernate, etc. you are nowhere in Web development. I think rather than investing time in clearing SCWCD, that time should be invested in learning different frameworks like struts, spring, and hibernate. Knowledge of different frameworks helps you understand architecture, designs and increases your vision. Expertise in writing servelet and jsp code is not of much help. It gives you foundation but that foundation can be build even after small exp. in web development. I mean to say that few months exp in servlet and jsp is better than SCWCD. 
Now lets talk about SCBCD. Is your company using EJB. This is the  first question you should ask before taking this exam. Working knowledge is more essential in case of development. In programming and designing, theoretical knowledge works, but in case of development practical exp only works, no certificate helps. SCBCD is like SCWCD, means if you have hands on exp on EJB that is better. Still, SCBCD exam is very much different than SCWCD. SCBCD exam involves architecture of EJB, and esp if you are taking exam on EJB 3.0 then you would learn whole persistence concept. If you have exp on EJB, then you should give SCBCD. Do You know how and why EJB changed with time? Do You know what are architecture differences between EJB 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0? Do You know what is factory design pattern and what is the best example of it? Do you know what is annotation and what is persistence? Do you have understanding of transaction management? Do you know ESQL? Do you knoe session, stateful session, stateless session? Do you know Entity? Do you know message driven bean? and there many more questions and if you dont know the answer then you lack SCBCD. If you have this certificate you know answers of all these questions. SCBCD is worth if you wish to know more about EJB, if you are working on EJB, or you are planning to work on ejb. But If are simply not interested in EJB then SCBCD is of no use. 
The SCEA certification, however, is a completely different story. I think SCEA is the most attractive certification for developers who are seriously thinking about becoming a software architect. Also till now I have not cleared it. I really dont know how I would feel after getting this certificate. 
It's been my experience that most employers will overlook your certifications unless your resume shows that you have hands-on experience working with a particular technology. 
Most IT pros take certification exams more for self-learning than for their employer."


March, 2012 - 

But Now I have more exp., and my views have changed a bit. -
First of all I must say, certifications are a personal choice, and your own choice to add few more lines to resume. But rarely they impress the recruiter. Because i often take interviews of guys having SCJP or SCWCD, and they dont know basic concepts, or any thing about designing. Below I would like to discuss each java certification and alternative -

SCJP - Intially SCJP only covered basic java and its old, and it is only good for guys having exp of a max of 2 years. I would never be impressed by someone with 4 years of exp. and SCJP, and he doesn't know complex Multithreading java programming. There are some really complex and complicated things which are not covered in SCJP, and thye can really impress any one. They are Executer framework, new collection and map classes, NIO, socket, etc.And all these are now covered in Oracle Certified Professional Java SE 7 Programmer.. I believe give time to Executer framework, and NIO, they would boost your career.
                                                   If you want to Java programming certification, you should only go for Oracle Certified Professional Java SE 7 Programmer, and esp. Java SE 7 Programmer II

SCWCD - Its if good for knowledge of Servlet annd JSP, but it doesn't covers some of the most common frameworks like Struts, Spring, JSF, and Portlets, which are very widely used, and at least one of them is used in any big project. Still I would say, if you are into web development, and you have time, then you should read "Head First Servlet and JSP". This certification can also help if you are new to Web Development. I would never expect a person with 5 years of exp and SCWCD. Oracle Certified Expert, Java EE 6 Web Component Developer added some new topics, but I must emphasis that it is only good for entry level web developers.

SCBCD - Its for EJB. If you dont use EJB, never do it. If you use EJB do it. they are alternatives of EJB, like Spring. If you are using Spring, then skip EJB, many places EJB is not used. SCBCD covers EJB and JPA. As such EJB is not much, apart from some transaction settings, MDB, and session beans. And a few month exp. is good enough. JPA is not so widely used. Because at many places we are already using Hibernate or Toplink.
Oracle divided this certificate into two parts, so double money(:)), And made it separate for EJB and JPA, this is not good. A exp. over EJB and JPA or any ORM framework is good. JPA certification covers lot of topics, which we really dont want in real, but I would suggest reading some good book and understanding the EntityManager in JPA.

SCDJWS - This is bit confusing. Most of the times, we just call web services, or create web services,and that also using some tools. And they are pretty easy, one time you would do it, next time you dont need any one's help. Its a small task. You might face some issues, but they are also not covered in SCDJWS. Also, these day in all big architectures, there is separate Integration team, or service layer team, and they are using some Integration products like WMB, WPS, or TIBCO.

SCEA - Oracle stopped me thinking of this certification, because they made it mandatory to attend a training session to clear this, and I don't want to spend 2000 USD to attend a training to clear this certification. Because at the end, I dont want to limit my self to J2EE components only, and many and most big architectures are not only use J2EE, one must have knowledge of several other frameworks, and products to become and architect. 
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4 comments

  1. Nice post that you clearly tell about what a certification can give you. Would like to know from you about SCEA (new JEE 5) preparation. Design Patterns, EJB are ok. What would they expect us about legacy integration? I have around 2.5 years of experience and i have cleared SCJP (100% - cherished after accomplishing like no other certification) and SCWCD. Planning to take SCBCD and IBM Portal by this month end. My aim is to become SCEA by this year. What would you say as a suggestion for me taking SCEA with just 2.5 yrs experience?

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  2. U should first aim for SCBCD(EJB 3.0). This is would be of great help in clearing SCEA. When u clear this, u have gd knowledge of business layer, and how to implement persistence concept, transaction management, etc.
    Already u have cleared SCWCD, so r gd in presentation layer, and underlying web development concepts. U have cleared SCJP(100% - great- congratulation fr that) so u are master in java programmming.
    But when u r preparing for SCEA, things go beyond java, jsp, and servlet.
    This time dont think of clearing certificate, but try to become master in each and every topic which is part of SCEA exam.
    Already u are familiar with java, jsp, and servlet.
    But u should also study many different frameworks(which I assume u already did) o that u can decide the pros and cons of all frameworks fr web development.
    After clearing the SCBCD u would get bigger picture of J2EE architecture.
    U also have to study Advanced java, at leats u understand benefits of applet and swings.
    Anther most important is Web Services, JAXP, JAXWS, JAAS, etc.
    And legacy integration - CORBA.
    See i worked in CORBA env for 14 months, so I have pretty clear picture of CORBA, but u need to understand where to use CORBA.
    Now, Web services are more common, we dont need to write CORBA code to cmmunicate between to systems. But i worked on a system where I was doing simultaneous development in servlet, EJB, and COBOL. Now there r different datatypes in COBOL, and different in java. And we have to perform only one transaction and execute java and cobol code. Now this was a different architecture, how to call COBOL code from EJB. This needed corba call. U study CORBA concept.

    I think u should not target clearing SCEA by this year end. But there is no harm in making sch target. But SCEA is very much different, b'cauz u know this is last level, so try to master every topic involved in SCEA exam, then only u can decide, which service should be implemented in which layer, which component need to be build in servlet, or EJB, or Web services, it should go in portal, or ESB, or message broker, etc.
    Means now question is not how to do, but to decide where to do.
    What would be better architecture, which would be better framework, etc.
    Something, only comes with experience, u can learn things faster, but whatever u learn u should remember it, n then all your learning should help while decision making. So, u have to move forward keeping all your previous achivements tightly coupled.
    All d best

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