I'm currently building a development plan for myself for the current and following 2 years. In that plan, I would like to describe a path of activities which would help me finally to become Sun certified as Java Architect.
To put reasonable objectives and deadlines in that plan, I wanna check with you _all_ what would be your recommendations regarding these 2 aspects (objectives+deadlines) versus my actual competencies which are: -10 years active in software development -4 first years as developer in C++/Pascal -6 last years as UML/RUP specialist with design experiences in C#, VB.NET, C++ & Java and teaching activities for OO & CBD
Next to this I would be able to free up 12hours/week to work on this education
Any idea on the possible timeframe for the planning of the: 1) SCJP exam 2) SCJD exam 3) SCDJWS exam 4) SCEA exam And recommended training material?
Firstly, their are no pre-requites for the Architect exam; Sun.
And recommended training material?
I would recommend: 1) This site (the forums and the notes etc) 2) Head First books (for learning) 3) the various specifications (reference) 4) for SCJP, since you have already done a lot of coding / design: Doug Dunn's books (for reference), and also "A programmers Guide to Java Certification" [Mughal & Rasmussen] (learning and reference).
Getting an architect certification can be done in about 3 months, with your experience. Head First EJB and Core J2EEPatterns will get you through all the Java-specific portions you probably don't know yet.
That being said, becoming Real Java Architect (TM) is a little different. First, you do need to know what part of Java you want to specialize in. Assuming you are interested in Enterprise Server-Side Java, here's the secret:
1. find a job where they do real enterprise Java 2. make sure they have a real Java Architect there 3. make him/her your mentor
I can't stress this enough -- you don't want to be the "smartest" person where you work -- you won't learn anything, and no one will call you on your mistakes.
Step 1 is a lot harder than it sounds. Most Java shops do Web Applications with Stateless Session Beans and JDBC Connectivity to a Database. Not that there's anything wrong with that. However, you will have to look harder to find companies that work with CMP Entity and Message-Driven Beans, large databases, clustering of app servers, high reliability/concurrency, etc.
In my experience, the two sectors that do this type of programming are large financial institutions (Wall Street, BofA), and defense contractors. Enterprise applications of this size are comparitively rare, and take many years to develop. If you are working as a consultant, you will be lucky to get on such a project.
That being said, it is a very rewarding and exciting field to be in.
Good Luck, Steve [ March 07, 2005: Message edited by: Stephen C Johnson ]