GeeCON Prague 2014*
The moose likes Jobs Discussion and the fly likes How seriously is SCJP considered by companies in absence of professional Java exp ? Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login


JavaRanch » Java Forums » Careers » Jobs Discussion
Bookmark "How seriously is SCJP considered by companies in absence of professional Java exp ?" Watch "How seriously is SCJP considered by companies in absence of professional Java exp ?" New topic
Author

How seriously is SCJP considered by companies in absence of professional Java exp ?

Aditi
Greenhorn

Joined: May 15, 2000
Posts: 4
Hi !
I have seen some comments regarding how the certification is considered equivalent to 1 year worth of experience. Is it true that employers look at the certification really seriously esp. if you don't have any professional Java experience. I would be esp. interested in hearing from people who have successfully made the transition from a non-Java programmer to a Java development position.
Thanks !
Aditi
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20586
    ∞

I do a lot of tech interviews (currently about two per week). I know that I give a great deal of weight to certification to the manager. In fact, I equate certification to be worth more than a year of experience although my impression is that most employers equate it to a year.


permaculture Wood Burning Stoves 2.0 - 4-DVD set
Tony Alicea
Desperado
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 3222
    
    5
Well, In 6 days of looking for work as a Java programmer without professional experience, I got two solid interviews, one offer and another one most likely coming on Monday.
The luck lies in the tech mgr at least looking at your work on the Web (it helps to have a few applets and applications freely available on the Web in the absence of professional experience). Also, certification counts a lot, according to the people I talked. Well, when I say that it counts a lot is that it can get you IN THE DOOR where with no Java experience, no certification, no programs on the Web, nothing is left that shows you know anything, really!
The first day that I posted the resume in a USENET newsgroup (computer programming jobs in South Florida) I got a call from Ft. Lauderdale and they asked me to take a Web test on Java. I agreed and passed it very well according to them, considering that it had questions about Servlets, RMI and JDBC of which I know next to nothing (that will change in the future). They said that my 80% score was unusually high!
That test then led me to a Java phone interview which then led to the meeting of the managers.
The other was a recruiter, also from the same newsgroup, who works in South Florida. The only reason this particular prospective employer asked for an interview is because the tech manager took the time to follow all the links in my resume not only for the modest programming that I have done but also to the pages where three Java authors credit me in their errata Web page. And he saw this site too.
Without actual professional experience one needs something. A high score in Certification certainly helps as well as exposure either via participating in the Java Internet community and/or writing programs and placing them where anyone can see them.
And I have been programming for over 20 years! Java is my first OOP experience.
The way the market is, I think Certification will be even more important for those who don't have experience. If Java programming opportunities are growing faster than the supply of programmers, employers will have to revise their old methods of acquiring people.
My $0.02
[This message has been edited by Tony Alicea (edited February 08, 2001).]


Tony Alicea
Senior Java Web Application Developer, SCPJ2, SCWCD
Ray Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 12, 2000
Posts: 458
The fact that you have viable examples of your work and the SCJP with a respectable grade, I'm sure, went a long way toward your successful interviews.
Having been in the position of having to evaluating programming talent based on a resume and an interview, I understand the dilemma managers are in trying to find good programmers.
Good grades + nicely dressed + pleasant personality + "I'm a people person!" does not necessarily equal: "I can code!"
You have some more substance to what you brought to the table. This has significant value to a prospective employer, regardless of programming language or platform.
I still remember how tough it was to get my first programming job. Two years, hundreds of resumes and dozens of interviews, with people looking skeptically at a resume with no experience on it. I did not have any type of certification or any example programs to show anyone. Those things would have helped a great deal I'm sure.
By the way, Tony, did you accept a position with anyone yet?

Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength. – Charles Spurgeon
Tony Alicea
Desperado
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 3222
    
    5
Yes I did. I will be a bona fide resident of South Florida soon.
I accepted Office Depot's position as a "temp" for 3 months and then as a "permanent". I prefer it that way because I'll be paid "by the hour" for the first 1/4 of the year and I need money fast.
Then there's a sign-in bonus plus a possible extra bonus of up to 10% of salary one year from now.
It took as I said, 6 days to get two hard interviews which became two offers quickly.
Ray Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 12, 2000
Posts: 458
Great news! Tony.
Congrats on your success.
Knock em dead.
But, you gotta promise not to laugh when upstate NY gets buried in snow.
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
Don't do it, Tony. Laughing at the rest of the country when they're buried in snow is our inalienable right for living in the sunny states. We need it to make up for the summers, right? (Actually I don't find Phoenix summers so bad, but others seem to. Our mantra is "but it's a dry heat". Dunno what you say in Florida, but I bet that's not it. )
Obligatory on-topic comments: clearly, some companies value certification, and others do not. I suspect that certification will grow gradually less important over time, as the number of people with actual Java experience increases. And also as certification has become somewhat easier than it first was, thanks to the various books and sites like this one. Still I think it will be worth something, especially for those with limited experience.


"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
Tony Alicea
Desperado
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 3222
    
    5
Good point Jim.
I want to say my $0.02 on this since more and more I am reading the question "Will Java Programmer Certification get me a Job as a Java programmer?"
Short answer: "NO WAY! Only you can get yourself a job!"
Computer programming is not an easy task and just because the market is in the programmer's favor does not mean that the kid from 7-11 with a high school degree can aspire to become a Bill Joy or James Gosling in 3 months. Trust me. I have come across that situation, subtracting the exaggerations I made to demonstrate a point...
You cannot expect to be hired just because you knew the answers to an exam that, like Jim says and I agree, is going to loose value as the pool of Java programmers grow and as more information about it becomes publicly available.
WHAT YOU WANT IS AN INTERVIEW, not a job. FIRST THINGS first!
A high score in Certification may help you get you an interview. But if that's all you got, good luck.
So Certification is not the way to a guaranteed job. It may be the key to an interview. Once you're there, trust me, they'll QUICKLY see that you learned the answers to the exam without knowing the meaning behind it all (if that's your case!)
And trust me, if you make an excellent or very good impression on them BECAUSE YOU KNOW THE STUFF, THEN they will treat you (money-wise) like if you had experience.
Like my first phone Java tech interviewer told me when I answered simply "NO" to the question "Have you ever programmed Java professionally": He said "I never hold that against anyone. I see that you have been a programmer in non-OOP for a long time, you passed the Certification exam with 98% when the 'passing' score is 71%, so let's talk Java now..."
I have posted the details of that particular interview here elsewhere. Anyone interested can do a search of my posts.
So there you have it, Certification will not get you a job by itself. You have to be good and be able to prove it in a personal interview. And if you get physics guys with C++ experience asking you questions, better be prepared for the type of question: "Why do you think the inventors of Java did this/that/the other the way they did it?". Be prepared to understand OOP inside out and in-between.
I wish I had better news...
Ray Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 12, 2000
Posts: 458
Hey Jim May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your...
Oh never mind. Now where's that smilie for :jealous: ???
On a more serious note. Tony hit the nail on the head. If you want to be a programmer, you gotta work at it like any other job search. No silver bullets, not even a SCJP with a 98%.
But not to be too negative. Everything you can pad your resume with, that has value, by all means do it.
The investment required to get a SCJP certification is small compared to the potential value it brings to a resume.
Every interviewer is different. I'm sure there are some interviewers that view SCJP skeptically and others that appreciate what it represents. The bottom line is that it will either be neutral or range from a small advantage to a large advantage, based on the perception of the interviewer. I don't see how it could ever be a negative.
With that in mind why wouldn't you want to add it to your resume?
Tony Alicea
Desperado
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 3222
    
    5
"Are you talking to ME!?"
It is in my resume and in a prominent place.
Ray Marsh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 12, 2000
Posts: 458
No I realize you took advantage of the SCJP fully.
I'm speaking to the origional question regarding the value of the SCJP.
Just, trying to make the point that simply because the SCJP doesn't guarantee a job, it also doesn't mean that it's worthless.
Nothing fully replaces bonified experience. So for those who are looking for their first job, anything you can do to beef up your resume... do it!
I wish there was a RPG certification test when I was trying to land my first job. I would have taken it in a heartbeat. Maybe it wouldn't have taken me two years to get one.
Christopher Acosta
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 21, 2000
Posts: 4
I have never programmed in any language or been employed in any IT field and am 48 but have been learning Java for 5 months now. After reading all the posts here I have a feeling everyone would consider me nuts for thinking it's possible to go from a zero programming background to certified Java Programmer and employment in the field at my age. I'm also designing two websites one with Frontpage and one with Dreamweaver which will feature applets and applications I've written in the hope this will compensate for lack of experience. My philosophy all along has been to learn to program in Java then become certified as there is a difference between learning the grammer of English and being able to write a story in English. I really like the website and would appreciate any guidance or suggestions people have to help me achieve this goal.
[This message has been edited by Christopher Acosta (edited April 21, 2000).]
[This message has been edited by Christopher Acosta (edited April 21, 2000).]
Tony Alicea
Desperado
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 3222
    
    5
"My philosophy all along has been to learn to program in Java then become certified"
It must be the age because I agree 100% with that (I'll turn 50 tomorrow), and that's the way that I did it. But I did have an advantage: I HAVE been programming for 25 years but not in OOP, which I started studying last summer. Then, after teaching myself Java beyond what's included in the exam, and after writing a few applets and programs and placing them in the public Web, I went for Certification and got 98% (which was really 100% but I digress...)
Now I have a great job doing Enterprise Java Beans, Servlets, JSPs, JNDI, RMI/IIOP, JDBC, JNDI, (i.e., the full J2EE) I just started 4 weeks ago and they knew that I didn't have experience in those technologies in particular (not many Java programmers do anyway) but they gave me the chance and everyone is very satisfied so far.
 
GeeCON Prague 2014
 
subject: How seriously is SCJP considered by companies in absence of professional Java exp ?