At JavaRanch and JavaBlackBelt, we frequently see questions from developers trying to get their first job or advance to a higher level job. They wonder if getting certified will help them advance.
Customer: Good morning, I'd like a certification please, it's for a gift.
Sales: Good morning Sir. Which brand please ?
Customer: I don't really know. May I see the menu ?
Sales: Certainly, Sir, here is it. We've a promotion today: for 2 WebLogic certifications, you've one Oracle for free.
Customer: Hum... I think I'll go for IBM today. How fresh are their certifications ?
Sales: The Rational ones are recent Sir. But I would not recommend the others. Are you sure it's for a gift ?
Customer: Hum, in fact no, it's for me. How did you guess ?
Sales: By experience, Sir. You are young and seems to have no years of experience to put on your resume.
Shortly after Java was released in 1995, Java developers had not much choice to get certified. You got the SCJP (Sun Certified Java Programmer) and you were “Java certified”.
Fast forwarding to the present, we frequently see questions at JavaRanch and JavaBlackBelt from developers trying to get their first job or advance to a higher level job. They wonder whether getting certified will help. And if so, where to start.
We started thinking about we would tell such a confused developer. We start this series of articles around the certifications in the Java world to help clear things up. In this first article we list and compare the existing certifications. The next article will cover the SCJP. The third one will open a more philosophical debate about certifications and how they fit the industry needs.
A few of the certifications below include an assignment to be done home within a few weeks, and an in-person exam in a testing center.
The most common approach we hear questions about is getting Sun certified. Most developers start with the SCJP exam. There is also the SCJA - Sun Certified Java Associate - exam for entry level programmers (or project managers). However, we see many entry level developers go straight for the SCJP which is more recognized by industry.
Note that the heart of the Java language is covered by these certifications. There are many areas of Java, developed by Sun, that are not covered by any of these certifications. Additionally, other companies have developed additional products in the Java world, some of them with the corresponding certifications.
IBM is a long time player in the Java industry. It proposes many multiple-choice questions based certifications related to the Rational and WebSphere products along with job roles. IBM also offers some technology neutral ones including exams on requirements, analysis and XML. A number of them are listed here: