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passed with 91%, a good start of a long journey

Tom Tang
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Joined: Dec 24, 2000
Posts: 133
Dear fellow ranchers:
Four months ago, I started my career change from Jounalism with almost no knowledge about programming. And yesterday I passed SCJP with 91%. Computers finally make sense and hard work did pay off.
For the first month, I read Deitel & Deitel's Java How to Program, because this book is supposed to be for non-programmers. However just typing some of its 500 plus lines codes made me feek sick (Boy, just check out its IO chapter), I thought about quitting. And thank God, I hung on.
The second month is important, I read Thinking in Java on-line and bought Java in a nutshell. These two books, especially the former, really opened Java's door for me. I like Bruce Eckel's style a lot, he seems to be a genius writer who knows how to convey complex idea in simple words. By the end of the second month, I think I might have a chance of passing SCJP exams.
I began working towards the the certification in the third month. It was around last Christmas when I began to participate actively in this forum. At that time I'm a real greenhorn, still having problem about setting the classpath. But I made tremendous progress while asking and answering questions in this forum. I read R&H and Exam Cram in that month. These two books helped me reach 80's in the mock exams. I might had gone for the exam without being in JavaRanch. But a lot of good examples here made me believe I should aim for the 90's. Bill Bozeman who scored 94% is good example for me, because he was alread a CPA before doing programming. I think I can at least emulate him.
So I bought Khalid book for the last month. I regretted immediately I had not bought it in the first place (I think the book's name intimidated me, because I have never been a programmer ). What a book! I really like its chapters on Inner class and IO. The authors just know how to crack a hard test like this one. One reminder, this book goes beyond the real test, but still worth reading once, twice or even more ( if I have time). Because I found too much bad mocks free on the Internet, I bought JQ+ for the last two weeks. I didn't waist my money. They compiled a very good set of questions ( I found very similar ones in the real test). I achieved consistently around 85% in its predefined tests. I got 93% in the last test just two days before the real one. Not only doing but also reading the explanation in the JQplus gave the most specific help in cracking the real one. I want to thank all the authors of the above books and many fellow ranchers in this forum for helping me pass the exam with a good score.
Sorry if you want to find some specific exam info in this posting, you haven't seen it so far. Now here it is: I had many questions on threading and IO. There are eight or even more on threading in the first 15 question in the exam. If you haven't prepared enough, you will get swamped. The valuable information in this forum convinced me to focus on threading and IO, which I got 100% in both. This strategy proves to be right. Because you got more questions in these two fields. But don't go light on the fundamentals, some of them are very tricky, and I lost score on them. The test put great emphasis on coding practise, you have to code and compile many, many small programs to find the traps in the questions. Without coding experience, you have no way of getting out of it.
Is it a long journey? No, it's just a good start. Remember I have only been aboard for four month and so far enjoying it(except the nightmarish first month). I found many innovative people here, Maha Anna's discussions are very good, I recommend every rancher read them.
Now, I'm going to read some C and VB(oh yes, I have no idea except knowing it is a Object-based language). At the same time, I will go deeper into Java and remain active at Javaranch. Hope to see you around.
Thank you for reading such a long posting.
Tom
[This message has been edited by Tom Tang (edited March 01, 2001).]


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