Hi guys, hope you can help me with this rather philosophical question ...
I recently did the SCJP exam and now find myself completely overwhelmed with all the other certification I could take from now on. I feel I've let some time pass by before starting to get certifications and now realise how important they are and want to get them all.
I wanted to continue with SCBCD and then SCWCD. I only had a brief experience with J2EE two years ago and want to do these two to stay up to date. However for the last two years I've been doing Microsoft stuff and next year looks like more of the same. I think it is important to match my experience with my certifications and therefore I want to take the Microsoft certifications too. But there's more, to be an all-rounder I feel I need XML and UML certifications as well!!!
It's really killing me, I don't know which way to go and this is producing ridiculous amounts of anxiety (triggered by my current job search I suppose!).
I know none can really tell me what to do, but some pointers or hearing someone else's experinece will help heaps!!
In my opinion if you are going to do all those certificataions its going to take some effort and time, lots of it I suspect. ( I am no authority on this)
What is your priority- to get back into a job or to do all those certifications? If you do manage to get all those certifications you would ofcourse be a valuable commodity. (I guess)
Has not the SCJP got u a job? I guess not or else you would not have posted ur mesage. But I guess its a question of time and you will land a good job if you keep trying. I hope the market is not so bad.
It sounds like you are under lots of stress and seem exremely low.
Istead of working on so many certifications have you considered getting an additional degree? The effort and time investment may be comparable and I think a additional degree would be more valuable.
My advice would be to get certifications on what you'll be doing in the immediate future (or what you want to be doing). If you get your SCBCD certification and then spend the next 3 years doing totally unrelated work, your certification will be useless and you'll probably forget all of what you'd learned.
The only way to really retain and build on what you learn is to use it. Based on that fact alone, I'd suggest going after the certification that most closely match your current workload (or the workload you want to have, if you're searching for a job).
Thanks Swamy and Corey for your advice. My situation is a bit hard since I am not in my own country and if I don't have job for too long they'll kick me out. But this is probably not the place to talk about that.
In respect to the certifications, getting the ones you want and the ones related to your workload can be different things. I have a better chance of landing in a .Net project at this stage because that's what I've been doing for the last two years. Certifications on that area will be ideal for that reason. But J2EE really appeals to me and I would like to work on that. However, I don't stand a chance now with J2EE coz I don't have the experience but how can I get the experience if I don't get a job. I thought getting the SCBCD and SCWCD certifications could be a way of breaking the cycle.
Bottom line is I am doing .Net but want to do J2EE. Oh well, what the heck, if getting the J2EE certifcations won't get me a job at least I'll have some fun in the process. I now for sure my next job will be .Net again, but hey, in two years time when I have all the J2EE-related certs, don't you think SOMEONE out there will be interested??
I think what I'm going to do is alternate between the two. Get a Sun one, then Microsoft one, the a Sun one again and so on. That way I'll have what I need and what I want.
I would suggest you to get SCWCD. It's relatively easy and doesnt take very much time to prepare. Also it might be more valuable (for getting a job) than SCJD/SCBCD, because J2EE is quite popular for WEB related applications.
Maris SCJP SCWCD SCBCD
Joined: May 16, 2004
I somehow think alternating between .NET and J2EE might create a lot of confusion unless you are very carefully aware of the differences. But I guess employers might like the idea of having someone like that.
Joined: Mar 19, 2004
Being able to tell the difference between .Net and J2EE is probably a very good thing. I was asked that question on a interview recently. Couldn't say much more than the diffs in Exceptions and the .Net delegates. If you are able to convice them you know the differences, that says something about you. You are not just sitting there coding, you understand what you are doing, you analyse things, you research, you know different ways of doing things. And they all love that!
So yeah, it might be confusing, but it might be benefitial in the long run.
As for the SCWCD, last time I checked K&B were about to publish their book on this for the 1.4 version. It looks like there's not enough study material specific for this version so I thought I wait a bit. Since the SCBCD exam is not likely to be updated to 1.4 just yet, I can do this one while waiting.
Only after I finish with these two I'll switch to .Net certs. Hopefuly that way I won't be get so confused.
Sounds like a plan to me! thanks guys!
Joined: May 16, 2004
I have 4 related questions. Suppose Lionel achieves all this certification. He also aqquires some amount of experience.
1. Is anyone aware of CTOs and other top guys who are able to to do hands on coding? I am not talking of exceptions like James Gosling. 2. What is the level to which a guy can grow if he refuses to let go of coding because he finds programming to be very fascinating? I ask this because most of the senior level guys I am aware of are not at all the kind who can do hands on coding or code related guidance. Somehow I think it is very important that the top technology guys should be able to undetrstand code. They should be able to do code reviews. The top guys seem to be only working with Word files. When they need something technologically documented they pass on the task to a capable developer. I will admit that I am in a small co. I am aware of a few CTOs who basically happen to be just old friends of the CEO. 3. Is the situation different with the top guys in big cos like Sun, IBM? Hows the situation in Infy, Wipro? I have friends in some of these cos and they have admitted that the top guys are not all that into coding and would not understand a Java file.
I think true technology guys would be in love with coding and architectures. But I am told unless you let go of ur fascination and take up non-technical activities you cannot grow in a co as an employee. I just hope someone disproves this. Can a techie guy who does all this certification- all Sun certs, all Microsoft.NET certs, all the XML certs from IBM and the UML cert grow into a senior CTO type position?
4. Has anyone done this? [ June 17, 2004: Message edited by: Swamy Nathan ]
Hi Lionel, Your situation is the exact same as mine. I am a Java fanatic but still in my country dont get much java jobs.I am working as a .NET software engineer and most of the projects i do are based on the Microsoft.NET platform. I was focusing only on object oriented laguages and architectures.But any time of the day if i get a job in j2ee i would jump to that.That doesn't mean I am not interested in what i am doing now but I am just more interested in Java. But generally i think lionel its better if u can be certified in both.With the advent of web services these platforms are going to co-exist.And one another thing is comparing the technologies in both these platforms will help you to have a good understanding of both of them.For example .NET serviced components-EJBs. Anyhow thats the path I am following.And one more opinion i have is my knowledge in j2ee makes me a better .NET developer.Most of the design patterns i use in .NET are stuff i have taken from j2ee.Most of the best practices i use on .NET are best practices from j2ee.
I hope you are genuine guys and not trying to scare Java guys through psychological tactics. In my co small as it is we have both J2EE and .NET work going on. When a guy starts in .NET projects he stays stuck in that.
Meanwhile I am looking for replies to my four questions.
(Basically I am looking for a role model / inspiration that would prove that certifications can make a career grow. This site and the SCJP section is frequented by all sorts of people- authors, developers, and various experts. I hope someone will stand up and say yes the certification plan of Lionel gets a person to grow bigtime.)
Joined: Mar 19, 2004
Swamy I couldn't agree with you more in that tech top guys normally don't have a clue of what you are up to. Try to explain something to them and it's like talking to your grandma. That's just poor management and it sucks! But it's up to you which way you go really. If they're happy to write word documents instead java classes so be it. I don't think that is success for an IT worker though.
Although it is the exception I have come across with guys that don't give up their passion for techincal stuff as they go to higher positions. I have my own personal hero/role model in that regard. He was the guy in charge of IT for small co I worked for. How many certs he had I don't know and I don't really care. The point is he knew what he was doing. He would explain low-level things to you and then lock-up in a room to discuss costs and strategies. He was a top guy, he had shares of the company and money invested in it. But he didn't give up his passion for technical things, he stayed on top of it and was basically the main developer in the company.
Yes, it is the exception, but I reckon it's your choice what type of manager you want to be. You can grow in many different directions basically. I know I would hate myself if all I could write are word documents.
Do certifications help you "grow"? I think those little papers CAN open doors. What you do once you're in is a different story.
Will they make you the next Bill Gates? Hopefuly not! But at least it is a great way of learnig things and that should be good enough reason to get certified, everything else aside.
That's why I agree with Amirthalingam too. If you can apply things you learn for J2EE in .Net projects is becuase you know your stuff. You understand the concepts, not just the technology you are using and that's what's important and interesting. Design patterns, OO modelling and concepts, architectures, frameworks. If you learn that then the programming language is just a minor detail. And how do you proof you know something or how do you learn it in the first place when everyone wants people with 5 years experience with a 2-years-old technology??? I can't think of a better way than getting certifications!
Bottom line is, certs will give proof you know something and/or help you learning it in the first place. ISN'T THAT GROWING BIG TIME???
Joined: May 16, 2004
Ya. I agree.
I too know one such a guy. I dont think he is certified though. He is a big guy in a small co (not mine). Hes got multiple degrees. Hes written a few articles and a book and knows stuff. But he is still not my role model. The path to success are many. Certifications should open doors. Then there are the less travelled tracks which lead to greater sucess:- Writing a book. Creating a project like say- Craig McClanahan or building a tool like James Holmes. These are paths that sound to me more exciting, quicker and more direct success (think about it!).
So I guess these are the options to most guys.
I dont know how u guys have been able to do so many certifications. Amirthalingam Prasanna he's at the verge of having [(SCJP 1.4,SCDJWS(Awaiting results),MCSD,MSCD.NET ]=4 certificates. I mean jobs can be so demanding. But its good that he has been able to squeeze out some time for this.
I dont know man, I find it very difficult finding time to do my preparation for the SCJP itself. Already I have exceeded my planned time. I am at the middle of these http://www.danchisholm.net/ mock tests. I was relatively free these days and so I could do some studying and so on.
Overall I agree with
Will they make you the next Bill Gates? Hopefuly not!
But at least it is a great way of learnig things and that should be good enough reason to get certified, everything else aside.
Learning things on the job is easier than getting certified. BUT it seems to me( because of this SCJP study) that doing SCJP gets you familiar with all sorts of things u would not have gotten into otherwise. and some of those things are pretty interesting and a techie guy would like to know such stuff.
how do you proof you know something
there are ways but I guess getting certified is the best way.
So lets keep our spirits up.
This probably was an unfair posting.
We should get there wherever we want hopefully in a few years.
But I agree certification can give proofs of competence to some extent.
Collecting certificates (so many as you want to), if I had so many I would feel let down if I could not become a CTO or something close to that.
I just wish someone would say yes he has made it big because of the multiple certifications.
[ June 20, 2004: Message edited by: Swamy Nathan ]
Joined: Mar 19, 2004
Learning things on the job is easier than getting certified
so what's left for us poor souls working with .Net and wanting to learn (and eventually work with) J2EE for example??? If you can't learn it at work then where do you learn it? You wait for your first job on J2EE to learn? How are you ever going to get that first job if they all want "experienced developers"? My only answer to this is: get certified to try and break the cycle.
For the SCJP it also took me longer than I initially thought. Specially when you think you know Java and start preparing yourself thinking it's going to be so easy. If you're too busy at work, find some time during the weekend. If you do 4 hours saturday and 4 hours sunday you can still advance a lot. Add just 2-3 hours during the week and you should be ready in 3 months tops. Only when you start consisntently getting above 90% in those mock exams you should go for the real one.
How do these guys get so many certs? I'll tell you one thing, I am sure it took them some time. It doesn't happen over night. Think about it. If you spend say 3 months to get one you could be doing at least 3 a year and still have a 3 month holiday. In two years time you'll be something like Amirthalingam.
It's really like getting a degree! Would you go around asking for succesful people who made it BECUASE of a particular degree and then enrol to study the same thing they did?? Would that guarantee you'll be successful too?? I reckon it's best not to think so much about those things and just get the cert. It won't do you any harm, that's for sure!!!