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My SCJP Adventure

Adam Altmann
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 15, 2003
Posts: 21
So...
My first post here. Brief introduction:
I'm 29, married, working, and living in Wisconsin. My wife is from here (Madison area) while I am from a small town some thirty minutes or so south of Buffalo, New York. Was in the Army, got out in 2000 (Honorable Discharge, thankyouverymuch)and went back to school. Got an Associate's in CIS and finished my Bachelor's in CIS with a 3.58 a few weeks ago (could have been better, could have been worse). I'd choose programming over networking any day, and so I'm shooting for that as a career. I feel most "at home" with Java, though I know Visual Basic and C++. I also like it the most out of those three. The last year or so of my classes has been entirely networking, so I'm a bit rusty. Working full time + wife + school full time + all else, left little time for staying on-top of Java or anything else but networking, really.
At any rate...
Tomorrow I begin studying in earnest for the SCJP Exam. I'm armed with several books, the most notable being:
Core Java Fundamentals (Horstmann, Cornell)
Core Java Advanced Features (Horstmann, Cornell)
A Programmer's Guide to Java Certification (Mughal, Rasmussen)
Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 (Sierra, Bates)
I also posess a certain, burning desire to start a programming career. So I guess I've got that going for me...not to mention wit, charm, and a healthy dose of nerdishness.
My hope is to continue posting to this thread as some sort of wierd progress report, in the hopes that it will somehow keep me motivated enough to persevere. I guess we'll see if it works, eh?
Any tips for someone just starting down the path to certfication? I've already browsed through most of the info on this site before posting. There's a lot of great information here. Anything I should be wary of? Comments on the books I'll be using? (I've read the reviews over at Amazon for most, if not all of them).
Any help/insight would be greatly appreciated. I'm sure I'll have more questions as time goes on, I'll do my best to append them here.
Thanks!


SCJP 1.4
Jessica Sant
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 17, 2001
Posts: 4313

A Programmer's Guide to Java Certification (Mughal, Rasmussen)
Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 (Sierra, Bates)

Both are EXCELLENT books. I'd suggest starting with the Sierra/Bates book -- in my opinion it reads a little easier (you'll see what I mean once you start -- the writing style is much more conversational and relaxed)
Read some, code some, read some more, try some questions, ask yourself some questions, post some questions here, rinse, wash and repeat.
Good luck!
Harwinder Bhatia
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 17, 2003
Posts: 150
Originally posted by Jessica Sant:
rinse, wash and repeat.

I thought you wash before your rinse
[ November 16, 2003: Message edited by: Harwinder Bhatia ]
karolos ignatiadis
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 15, 2003
Posts: 25
Amazing, I am in almost in the same situation as Adam!
I come from Greece, I am 27 years old and after completing my Masters degree I worked for one year in a UK IT services company. Then I quit my job to fulfil my national service in the Greek Armed Forces, as we Greeks have to do that by law by a certain age.
After the army (14 months of service) I found it very difficult to land a new job as my skills in C++ and Java became obsolete. Now I am studying for the SCJP certification and I am starting with "Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2" by Sierra & Bates. I don't know which exam simulator to choose from, the word on the street is that JCertify, MeasureUp(recommended by Prometric), Whizlabs, and epractice(recommended by Sun) are the best. I am probably somewhere between Whizlabs(recommended by many online users) and MeasureUp (recommended by Prometric).
I am not married though or have any kids, just engaged and this is by itself a full time job, Adam you must be a hero!

Good to know that there are other people with me sharing the same experiences after the army!!
All the best
Kathy Sierra
Cowgirl and Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 10, 2002
Posts: 1572
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm just thinking it's kind of cool that Adam posted a little info about himself, and then Karalos did as well. We all talk so much on these forums and often never know anything at all about the people we sometimes even think of as friends.
Or then again... maybe I just think it's cool that they both mentioned the K & B book...
Just kidding. More or less. I just personally would not mind if more newbies and regulars occasionally said a bit more about themselves.
OK, I'll start...
I live in Boulder Colorado, and it's frickin' cold here compared to where I came from in southern California (I moved here to work for Sun Ed). I couldn't get my co-author Bert to do any *real* work unless I agreed to live with him, so we got married two years ago, and now he is much, much more productive
Especially when I chain him to the desk...
I used to have a little tiny ranch, when I first learned Java, and my friends named it the javaranch, so that's where the name came from. I've had sheep, llamas, a horse, and miniature donkey. Now the biggest thing I have is a dog (Clover, who some of you know from the campfire story).
I had a HORRIBLE score the very first time I took SCJP (1998), and just barely passed, so if you don't score a 95%, for gosh sakes, don't fret. I didn't even make it to the 70's. That's why I now work for Sun *creating* exams... so that I no longer have to take them.
OK, that's it for now... next up, JESS?? Come on, reveal those secrets Jess... or I will.
And what about the rest of you?


Co-Author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596007124/ref=jranch-20" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">"Head First Design Patterns"</a><br /> <br />Just a Jini girl living in a J2EE world.
karolos ignatiadis
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 15, 2003
Posts: 25
Thanks Kathy, it's great to know that the JavaRanch queen and a true legend in Java is among us and not just a name behind a book.
I read the first 2 chapters of your book and I think it's great, I wish all books were like that when I was a student, maybe I would have earned a better grade for my first degree. I will invest 100% of my studying effort in your book and then I will skim through some Internet material as extra references.
To be honest, I have a little prior experience in Java and this was in my first(and only) job. I was assigned a GUI application in Java that used JDBC to query an Oracle database and then based upon the results the application initiated a certain API of another application (sorry for any inconsistencies this was a long time ago!). It took me about two months to learn Java from scratch, build this lightweight application and perfect my code. Unfortunately this was the last time I got to play with Java and now I am starting from scratch again. So, I think anything is possible when you are committed to something and this goes to all newcomers in Java. Be brave!!
Simon Klaiber
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 13, 2003
Posts: 9
Ok when we have a greet and meet here in the Saloon I will intoduce myself too:
I'm 28 Years Old and a freelance IT-Consultant for 5 Years now. I live in Frankfurt Germany where I live together with my girlfriend. I did VB, C++ and Java Projects in the past. I got into first contact with Java When it was first Announced but didn't really start to use it until after I heard Gosling Keynote at the W3C2 '97 in Paris. At the moment I'm in a project where I do mostly architectural and project managment task and much to less coding.
Unfortunaly I didn't heard of the Sun Certification until some weeks ago, when a co-worker had a SCEA book with him. I'm now starting to read K&B and I'm pretty happy with it (BTW Kathy: the "Boxter" is a Porsche not a BMW, you probably mean the Z3 or Z8). I'm really amazed how much details I didn't knew. especially about the finer details of arrays, because I don't use them very often.
I'm planning to do the SCJP at the beginnig of next year and do the complete cert curriculum over the next 1-2 years.
Simon
Mishra Anshu
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 16, 2003
Posts: 224

Posted by Kathy Sierra
I couldn't get my co-author Bert to do any *real* work unless I agreed to live with him, so we got married two years ago, and now he is much, much more productive
Especially when I chain him to the desk...


, So Bert any comments..........


"Ignorance is bliss"
Bert Bates
author
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8815
    
    5
I actually prefer to work *under* the desk, thank you very much. I've been developing software since 1976 (I was very young ), and have been working with Java for three years. When we write our books, we try to remember what it was like when we were learning, and we ask ourselves over and over "What book would I have really wanted when I was learning this stuff?".
Kathy taught me the word "metacognitive", and she is getting me back into horses. I taught Kathy to play Go, and she's getting back into skiing, hiking and camping. (So basically, we're always making each other do stuff ).
p.s. I didn't "quite* get a 95% on my SCJP either, but I think, after writing the book with Kathy, that I'd do much better now
p.p.s My favorite questions are about garbage collection!
[ November 19, 2003: Message edited by: Bert Bates ]
[ November 19, 2003: Message edited by: Bert Bates ]

Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
Sabrina Stewart
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 19, 2003
Posts: 1
I would like to thank Adam Altman very much for his posting. It is encouraging to know there are others in similar situations.
Brief Intro
I am a 29 year old single mother of a beautiful six-month old baby boy living in Atlanta, Georgia. I graduated Magna Cum Laude in October, 2002 with a Bachelor Degree in CIS. Before that I was in the Army for 4 years.
I just finished K&B's MARVELOUS study guide and plan on taking the SCJP exam early in December. I'm excited about taking the exam, but even more excited about landing a position that actually uses this knowledge.
I have every intention of taking the SCBCD, but I am wondering if I should wait until I am employed as a programmer or not.
Thanx,
jojavamama
Lalitha Chandran
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 03, 2003
Posts: 92
Hi all,
This has been one of the best posts I have read on javaranch. Thanks to Adam Altmann for the idea and Kathy for supporting it. When I was preparing for SCJP I always was curious about the people I was interacting with in javaranch.
Well about me, I am a Masters student in University of Louisiana, Lafayette. I am from India. I am already a SCJP 1.4 and am currently preparing for SCWCD.
Few words for Kathy and Bert. I think they are doing a marvellous job. Their ability to think from the perspective of a person who is reading the book is amazing. I think this is the most difficult part of writing a book( also in teaching). To not know what you know and write as if you are trying to know the unknown. Hats off to them.
I hope a lot more people introduce and talk about themselves.

Regards,
Lalitha Chandran
Rafael Lee
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 06, 2003
Posts: 23
To not know what you know and write as if you are trying to know the unknown.

whew! that's awesome Lalita!
Kathy Sierra
Cowgirl and Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 10, 2002
Posts: 1572
Geez... are Bert and I the ONLY people here over the age of 30? Well, all you youngsters will keep us on our toes.
Sabrina, you blew it with this line: "a beautiful six-month old baby boy", because now I'm going to have to insist on seeing a picture. If you don't have a way to post it (you just have to put it somewhere on the web and then post a link to it here), and you're willing, you can email a picture to me and I can put one in a post. If you don't HAVE a digital photo of that beautiful baby boy then we'll just keep harassing you until you do...
And wow, Simon, you've been around Java since the beginning! But, um, thanks a lot for 'outing' me about the whole Boxter thing
Karalos -- thanks for the "be brave" statement!
And Lalitha, I'm fascinated to hear how you find Louisiana compared to India
Let's see, Adam, I reckon I shouldn't be whining about Boulder when you're in Buffalo, which, as I know, is going to be a whoooooole lot snowier than it is here
OK, so I know this is technically off-topic, but hey, if we're going to help each other study, we might as well introduce ourselves. Especially for those who are just beginning the journey...
good luck to all, nice to meet you!
(Sabrina -- I'm looking for that picture! Anyone else who wants to send me a picture, I'll be happy to put a link. kathy@wickedlysmart.com)
cheers,
Kathy
Social Director
Adam Altmann
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 15, 2003
Posts: 21
Thanks for the replies everyone! I was thinking that perhaps I wouldn't get a single reply. How wrong I was! I'm glad to know there's plenty of people out there in situations similar to mine.
As far as the studying goes, it's been a real eye-opener thus far... I've gone through the first chapter of the "Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2" book, and it has been great. It's far, far less dry than the "A Programmer's Guide to Java Certification" book, though I've been reading the same material in both. The humor helps a ton.
I've been keeping plenty of notes in a notebook, and have made a pile of 3x5 flashcards already (My hand hurts from writing!). I now know more about arrays than anyone should have to. I fooled around with a bunch of code trying to determine what causes runtime exceptions as opposed to failure to compile. That's about it...it's been fun in a torturous sort of way.
I'm sure I put more time in than was necessary, but I'd rather do that than get further in the book and have to look back.
Geez... are Bert and I the ONLY people here over the age of 30?

I'll be 30 soon enough! Don't remind me! Perhaps I'll put a picture up of my ugly mug if I can get my feeble, old-man-hands to operate my camera!
Vad Fogel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 25, 2003
Posts: 504

I'm sure I put more time in than was necessary...

You can never dedicate enough time to that kind of stuff.
As I went through the chapters the very first time and finished K&B with a lot of memorizations, I was thinking "Wow! My knowledge is so extensive!"
When I made the second pass, it taught me to be more humble: "OK, there might be some problems that I don't really know." :roll:
Now, when the exam left behind and I keep on reading JLS, I'm thinking: , "I dunno nothing!"
Xara Mithra
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 17, 2003
Posts: 12
Hi
I am Xara, 28 married ..no kids. It was last year when I decided I must have Java Certification. I graduated in 99 with BSc Computer Science. Been working with Java for a short while but cant saw I know tha language. Just write some code, compile and cross your finger that it works.
I guess the real motivation behind doing Java Programmer Certification is that I dont have a good working knowledge in any language. I am kinda slow and not efficient in C or C++ but so ...I guess it was a natural feeling to be good in one language. And what a better way to do that than Certification
I am using this book : Compelte Java 2 Certification Study Guide by Simon Roberts, Phillip Heller, Michael Ernest -Sybex. This is a great book..simple and straightforward
The second book I am using is Java Rules ebook Volume 2 : Mastering the Fundamentals. Although the language is very prescise and consice but I feel tha jargon is too complicated and it takes long time to register something and understand the concepts
Nice to meet all of you here
Xara Mithra
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 17, 2003
Posts: 12
Originally posted by Xara Mithra:
Hi
I am Xara, 28 married ..no kids. It was last year when I decided that I must do Java Certification. I graduated in 99 with BSc Computer Science. Been working with Java for a short while but cant saw I know the language well. Just write some code, compile and cross your fingers hopes that it works.
The real motivation behind doing Java Programmer Certification is that I dont have a good working knowledge of any language. I am kinda slow and not very efficient coding C or C++ and...I guess it was a natural to be good in one language. What a better way to do that than Certification?
I am using this book : Compelte Java 2 Certification Study Guide by Simon Roberts, Phillip Heller, Michael Ernest -Sybex. This is a great book..simple and straightforward
The second book I am using is Java Rules ebook Volume 2 : Mastering the Fundamentals. Although the language is very prescise and consice but I feel tha jargon is too complicated and it takes long time to register something and understand the concepts
Nice to meet all of you here
Xara Mithra
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 17, 2003
Posts: 12
Originally posted by Xara Mithra:
Hi
I am Xara, 28 married ..no kids. It was last year when I decided that I must do Java Certification. I graduated in 99 with BSc Computer Science. Been working with Java for a short while but cant saw I know the language well. Just write some code, compile and cross your fingers hopes that it works.
The real motivation behind doing Java Programmer Certification is that I dont have a good working knowledge of any language. I am kinda slow and not very efficient coding C or C++ and...I guess it was a natural to be good in one language. What a better way to do that than Certification?
I am using this book : Compelte Java 2 Certification Study Guide by Simon Roberts, Phillip Heller, Michael Ernest -Sybex. This is a great book..simple and straightforward
The second book I am using is Java Rules ebook Volume 2 : Mastering the Fundamentals. Although the language is very prescise and consice but I feel tha jargon is too complicated and it takes long time to register something and understand the concepts
Nice to meet all of you here
Harwinder Bhatia
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 17, 2003
Posts: 150
Originally posted by Kathy Sierra:
Geez... are Bert and I the ONLY people here over the age of 30?

Reminds me of something funny:
This was just a couple days before my fiancee's last birthday. I asked her how old would she be on her coming b'day and she said "a woman's age stops at 16". So, I asked "how long have you been at 16 then" and she spoke out, "it's been 8 yrs", before she realized what she said. I still tease her for that ...
Cheers
Harwinder
M Bala
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 31, 2003
Posts: 10
I was silent listener to this forum for the past few weeks, unfortunately all my questions are questioned by Cathy Song (Thanks Cathy). At last got an opportunity to post in this thread.
Interestingly unlike others I got to know about this web site from K&B book, I found this book in B&N shop and got some time to go through that, I liked a lot, and bought the book for (~ $52), in spite of some deals in the net for (~ $25) and already having two Java Certification books. I couldn't able to resist. I have read every word of the SCJP part in the book. I was kind of happy that I got a popular book.
Anyhow tomorrow is my judgment day, I want to take this exam very badly for a long time, my work never gave me a chance to take that. Finally I decided to spend some time on this and hopefully I'll be clearing this happily.
[ November 20, 2003: Message edited by: M Bala ]
Cathy Song
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 24, 2003
Posts: 270
Hi All,
A little about me..I am working on a PhD in Computer Science. So why did I decide to get certified? I am a lab instructor for Java and I decided that if I am teaching Java, I just better know it well...very well.
My friends tell me that I am wasting my time, and that I should be working on my research etc.etc..And they are probably right. But I really feel that now that I have studied for SCJP I know Java MUCH MUCH more. Now I can answer almost all the questions my students have ....
So there. I am appearing for the exam on Nov 25th. And how I do on the exam does not matter, because I have learned so much.
[ November 20, 2003: Message edited by: Cathy Song ]
Cathy Song
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 24, 2003
Posts: 270
Hi Bala,
I am so happy that the questions I asked helped you. And I am sorry that you never got a chance to post.
Jeff Bosch
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 30, 2003
Posts: 804
Geez... are Bert and I the ONLY people here over the age of 30?

I can ask the same thing about 40! I'm 43.
I wrote my first program on a PDP-8 in 1978, and earned my first computer cert in 1985 on DEC PDP-11/34 systems. (Some of these beasts, called "minicomputers" because they were smaller than a refrigerator, have recently been unearthed in south America by archaeologists.)
Then I took a break from computers to work as a broadcast video engineer for about thirteen years. (I'm still a certified video engineer.)
While working in video, which uses computers extensively, I became hooked on embedded computers (which are everywhere in video and in life in general nowadays). I spend three years working on embedded systems for controlling telescopes in observatories and adding digital video to high-power scopes. More recently, I've been working as a programmer adapting POS terminals for public healthcare mainframe systems. (I used Java to write a test case generator.) I'm also writing a book to teach inventor wannabees, hobbyists and technicians how to avoid many of the learning traps that I fell into when working as an engineer.
On a more personal level, I'm engaged to a beautiful and talented editor and her two cats (I also have two cats), I live in the Sacramento area, and I love to write, invent stuff with embedded controllers, and cook. (A movie script, two novels, lots of short stories, and a cookbook are also in the works.)
P.S. Some days I just (love) parentheses! I think it's brain damage caused by programming in C and Java.


Give a man a fish, he'll eat for one day. Teach a man to fish, he'll drink all your beer.
Cheers, Jeff (SCJP 1.4, SCJD in progress, if you can call that progress...)
Ana Abrantes
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 04, 2003
Posts: 43
Hey, Kathy, I'm with you... I'm 35, married with no children... yet!
I was born and live in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
I started programming in Cobol at college, then I learned Clipper and still have some job to do in this language.
Since I went first to school, I've always been a very good student but after I graduated, I don't know what happened to me because I was stuck in time.
Thanks to my hi-tech husband that likes novelty, I was upgraded , we got an internet connection and I could see what was happening in IT around the world.
I bought some books and took some courses of Delphi, my new language at that time. (this was my choice based on Brazil's reality)
But 2 years ago I saw that Java was becoming more popular and the demand was great, so I bought one book but I couldn't understand it completely, you know, someone that learned procedural programming have some difficulty
Finally, the beginning of this year I made a decision: I was going to learn Java anyway! Even if I had to take a course, and I found a great one and the instructor encouraged me to take the SCJP. So, I bought the exam's voucher and Kathy's book (found it marvelous!, extremely good way of teaching...)
Summary: I'm in love with Java and decided to take SCJP just to please me, I mean, it's just for me to know that I'm still a good student and programmer because I like my work very much!
I don't know if I can get another job to work with Java, but I hope so...
[ November 20, 2003: Message edited by: Ana Abrantes ]

Ana<p>SCJP 1.4
Gerald Spica
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 28, 2003
Posts: 30
Hello, my name is Gerald, I am 32 years old on Sunday, and have been studying java programming at UC Berkeley Extension for the past year. I just completed an intro to data structures using Java cours and was going to start thinking about delving into the study guides for the SCJP. I got into computers and programming by studying web design and multimedia , also through Extension. I worked for dot com for 3 years and did a little of everything, but I always wanted to know a little more programming. So after being laid off I started studying Java. The questions I have been asking myself is whether I am better off studying with classes through Extension and preparing for the Certification exams, or enrolling in a Masters program in computer science? Of course it depends on my goals, which are 1) to continue to learn 2) to get a job doing some of this stuff 3) so I can continue to learn
Lakshmi Saradha
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 21, 2003
Posts: 170
I am Lakshmi, 26 yrs old, got married in feb 2002 and came to the US an year and a half back. I was born and raised in India.
Coming to my education and career side, I have a Masters in Computer Applications. I have worked in Java servlets (developed web and WAP applications)for about an year.(in India)
I have been doing volunteer IT projects for various non profit org for the past 1 year(Am still doing it..Wanted to keep in touch wiht my studies till I get a job).Started searching for a job 6 months back..No luck till now.
Reasons for taking certification:
1)Thought I can go back and improve in the area I have already worked.
2)Thought ceritified professional will have a better chance in the middle of non certified professional in a job opening.


Thanks,<br />Lakshmi.
Amrita Dole
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 12, 2003
Posts: 20
Hey,
I have done my Masters in Computer Applications as well, from Bangalore, India and came to the US a year ago.
Currently doing my graduate program in Computer Science.
I did pass the SCJP exam a year ago. Was thinking of upgrading it incase a newer version/test has come out.
Any suggetsions??
Amrita
 
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