This week's book giveaway is in the OCPJP forum. We're giving away four copies of OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide and have Kathy Sierra & Bert Bates on-line! See this thread for details.
I took the programmers exam 3/20 and didn't pass, I feel that I need to write some code to better learn the objectives before attempting to take the exam again. Does the code written on the cattle drive cover the programmers exam objectives?? Would you recommend that I sign up for the cattle drive??
If you haven't looked over the Cattle Drive site, go here to check out what all is involved, and what topics are covered in the assignments. Cattle Drive is about writing code that is readable and efficient, so it isn't geared directly for the SCJP exam. However, after doing the Drive for several months, I passed the exam in Jan. with flying colors, so I would say it definitely prepares you for it better than just reading and trying to write code on your own. Matt Phillips is also a Driver, and he passed the exam. Yes, you still have to do a lot of experimenting and learning on your own, but at least this way you get someone looking over your stuff personally and telling you what works, what doesn't, how to improve, etc. So after all that, I would say yes, the Drive helps a lot in learning to program with Java, which is what the SCJP exam is all about.
Jason said it all. While the Cattle Drive does not directly relate to the exam objectives it directly relates to the spirit of the exam. The most important skill to have as a Java Programmer is being able to program in Java. That is what the Cattle Drive is about. It didn't have a direct effect on me passing the exam, but I don't know that I could have without it.
Chicken Farmer ()
Joined: May 08, 2001
Actually, we have several people on the Drive that are SCJP's, I'm sure they'd all gladly share their thoughts on this once they see it. Bottom line, the only way the exam is worth something is if you actually write code. A good way to continually write code to learn is to get with a program that motivates you, and that's what the Drive does (at least in my opinion, but I'm biased ).
I got the SCJP certification about the same time I started with the drive. While the Cattle Drive will not give you all the skills necessary to pass the test, it will give you practice and experience looking through the API. This experience can only help you as you try to pass the test. It's up to you whether it's worth $200.
Unless you are working as a Java programmer, JavaRanch is your best bet for coding experience. The questions are cumulative, and you WILL NOT progress unless you have mastered the topic. You will understand the true meaning of "nitpick"
Unless you work in a very structured environment you may not have been through the pleasure of peer code reviews. This is like saying "here is my best work, please show me all the things I thought were good that really stink". I found the Cattle Drive complemented my study for the SCJP. It was a lot more interesting to write code that someone would look at and provide feedback.
I am toying with the idea of eventually going for certification, and I have some software that is supposed to help you prepare for the exam. The material is confusing, difficult to understand, and is presented in a way that I find hard to read. I have failed all of my practice exams. If this were my only experience with Java programming I would have given up by now. The Cattle Drive, on the other hand, has been an uplifting experience. I started with a beginner's book on Java and NO experience in any programming language. When my first program ran, I was stoked. I just knew that my code was excellent! Perfect! Then I got my nitpick. Oh no! What are dereferences? What does concatenation mean? Is there any room for optimization? How the heck should I know? So I went to work. After several more submissions, my code was deemed acceptable and I got to move on to the next assignment. The guidance I received while DOING as I was LEARNING has given me confidence that I can pass that exam eventually. My code runs. I'm doing stuff that seems pretty advanced, and I'm not afraid of this stuff anymore, well, not as afraid as I was. Do the Cattle Drive. You won't regret it!