Sunday, May 1, 2011

Web Component Developer Certification

Hi again, it's been a while since my last post. I just got certified as Oracle Certified Web Component Developer for J2EE 5 (OCPJWCD, also known as SCWCD), that's the reason why I've been away for the last month. I want to share some tips about passing the exam:

Exam Name: Oracle Certified Web Component Developer for J2EE 5
Exam Code: 310-083
Number of Questions: 69
Score to pass: 70%
Preparation Time: 4 months (about 6 hours/week)
Test Site: Prometric
Date: 5/11/2011

Why Certified?
There are many benefits about being certified, you can validate your knowledge, improve your work efficiency and even ask for a better income... I've been working with java for Web for about 3 years already and I thought this certification was going to be easy, but it wasn't. During my preparation I realized that there are several functionalities I wasn't aware of. Now that I'm certified I feel really good and confident about the technology and I'm even going to start studying for the web services certification. Anyway, the reason why I took the certification was to improve my knowledge about the java technology and aspire for a better income.

Why JEE 5 instead of JEE 6?
That was a really tough desicion, because a new version of the exam had arrived with the all new JEE 6... so I thought that taking the JEE 5 exam was like learning old technology. 
To make my decition I had to validate which technology my clients were using. I realized that none of my clients were using JEE 6, but they do have several inhouse web applications in JEE 5. It's not like they aren't getting in JEE 6 ever, but at short term JEE 5 would give me more job opportunities. Perhaps, next year I will update my certification to JEE 6, I think I'm going to let the market lead me.

I've had previous experience with Java for Web, therefore I thought that studying for this certification was piece of cake... but the truth is that many of the underlying processes and the servlet container's responsabilities were unknown to me. I used this really great book, if you are looking for a good book to take the exam and learn, I truly recommend this one:

It has a lot of pages, believe me I know... but the reading is so easy and it has so many graphics and good sense of humor that made my reading very pleasent. As a regular employee I had to study at nights and weekends that's why I used to study 6 hours per week and it took me about 3 months and a half to finish the reading and exercises. After reading the book I started to prepare myself with mock exams. I was able to find some for free (check the links at the end) but I decided to buy some. 

For my previous certifications exams I used "whizlabs", it has a nice web interface so you can access it everywhere if you have internet connection and it gives you 1 test exam and 5 mock exams to validate your knowledge, also the reporting tool is pretty good. During that week I googled some other mock exams and then I found "enthuware". Checking the forums I realized that enthuware was as good as whizlabs, it wasn't a Web interface but it gives you 8 mock exams,  so I decided to give it a chance, also because whizlabs was USD75 and enthuware was USD20 at that time... I'm not getting in the discussion about which one is better, I have used both and I like both, it's just that enthuware was at a better price at that moment.

During the exam
You have 180 minutes to finish the exam, it took me about 90 minutes to finish it. I think my preparation was really good, I'm glad I chose enthuware because the UI interface was very similar to the real exam and some of the questions were similar too. My score was 88% which is very good. Something I wasn't prepare for was JSTL, the exam had about 5-10 questions about it, fortunately my job experience helped me there.

Useful Links

I hope those of you who are thinking about taking the exam may find this post useful, from now on I will keep posting about JavaMe and I'm going to start posting about Java for Web too.