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Became Sun Certified, now sharing tips and hints for an exam

Dmitri Ericsson
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Joined: Feb 16, 2010
Posts: 109
Hello ranchers,
I am glad to tell that today I’ve become a member of a SCEA family. I would like to share my preparation experience, because when I was preparing your notes helped me a lot. Here comes a long-long story

First part

I’ve started to prepare for the SCEA in the past autumn and I’ve used the following materials:
Mikalai Zaikin’s notes is my primary source for peparation. I’ve read it multiple times, it is not complete however the topics it contains are covered very well. I’ve read here that there is an updated version of that notes here I haven’t read it, but this may be useful too.

Concerning software patters topic I’ve read MZ guide’s corresponding chapter, they are complete and just have just revise what’s in there. I haven’t used any special books as some recommend. In the first part there is not even need to know pattern’s exact implementations; you should know that pattern A is used for this and pattern B is used for that. However, I’ve also used as a reference for GoF patterns and their Java implementations.

For EJB3 I’ve read EJB3 in Action, chapters which describe its features and architecture, the implementation is out of the exam.

For JSF I’ve read Mastering JavaServer Faces, the concept is the same as with EJBs – pros, cons, architecture, comparison with JSP

For JAX-WS I’ve read SOA using Java Web Services, the same with previous, no implementation, just the theory.

There is no UML in the first part; however there are legacy connectivity topics, such as IIOP, Java IDL, JNI and so on. To get familiar with this topic I recommend you to go through the IBM’s “Java certification success, Part 4: SCEA” from here This book is for the previous exam, however it is very well structured, I enjoyed it. I’ve also read old Mark Cade’s book, both are quite thin, only the things you need for an exam.

Exam contains a lot of scenario questions with some technologies provided. You need to select an appropriate. The hint here is not always choosing the most powerful and modern ones, but read the question carefully and address the requirements. For example if they say that they have complex queries and need performance, then you better choose DAO over JPA and so on.

SCEA 5, SCJP 6 My SCEA Experience
Dmitri Ericsson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 16, 2010
Posts: 109
Second part

After purchasing I’ve got an email from Sun with the credentials to the Assignment Database From there I’ve download an assignment, it was about construction company;) It was a typical one with 4 use cases and 2 external systems to integrate.
The most valuable material for me was Chapter 9 from the new book of Humphrey Sheil, it’s freely available for download from here And I’ve learned UML a lot in the university, so the diagrams themselves were quite easy for me. I’ve used a free StarUML for UML diagrams and the whole assignment is one html page with anchor links.

Another resource for the second part is a presentation of Humphrey Sheil, it is available from here:
I hope that you’re familiar with the requirements; I’ve just highlight some aspects of my implementation. I’ve chosen a typical set of technologies – JSF/EJB3/JPA. I think it’s better to use them unless you have some special requirements in your assignment. You can then always say that I’ve chosen this because it Sun’s leading technology and it can do this, this and more. Not one size fits all, but if possible then choose them.

I’ve stated the document with background info, then I’ve put assumptions in order that assessor is familiar with them when checking later parts. Assumptions contained almost everything where multiple meaning is possible.

My class diagram contained about 20-25 classes, at first I had 30-35, but later I’ve optimized it. I didn’t show JSF Managed Beans there, however I’ve shown a controller and JSF pages (like in the book is done). This solution can be discussed but I’ve always followed that sample from the book. Why not to do like an author of an exam and assessor suggests? I’ve shown methods and major attributes, patterns and EJB types were show as stereotypes. I didn’t show design pattern implementations if it requires multiple calluses and/or interfaces. I’ve just written – this is done according to this pattern. It should be enough.

This chapter also contained some paragraphs about logging, framework, exception handling and about security. I’ve used Java EE Security for this purpose.
Component diagram was pretty simple and similar to the chapter 9’s. In this chapter I’ve also described technologies used in every layer and why I’ve chosen them. This helped me a lot when I’ve done the third part.

Deployment diagram was also close to chapter 9’s but with some additions. As it is expected I’ve presented hardware configurations and explained e.g. why I need such RAID here and another there and why here is to be more memory than there. I’ve also described test environment and client computer requirements, such as browser capabilities.
Sequence diagrams contained JSF pages, Managed Beans and so on, with methods from the class diagram used. It’s quite a large part (4 diagrams) and it makes only 16 points.
In the risk part I’ve described quite obvious risks, with obvious solutions to them. Only one of them was my-system dependent. They were technical risks; I didn’t describe not meeting some of non-functional requirements. If you need to read about the risk management, here is a good document:

And here comes the funniest part. I was quite lazy to finish my second part, almost 90% were done, but in order to motivate myself I’ve scheduled my third part to the end of the week and decided that I’ve complete and assignment during the week and upload it Thursday evening. But at the time I wanted to upload the system said that… I do not have an upload rights. And I should request them by mail. What on earth upload rights when I’ve paid my money and already downloaded the assignment? Don’t they think that I want to upload it after I’ve downloaded? Why this is a special favor for me?
I had no other variant rather than send an email to the mentioned address and request those rights. I’ve also sent them a checksum of a jar file, to guarantee that I haven’t changed anything. The third part was the next day and I thought they won’t be so quick to send them before the third part.

The lesson learned it that you should follow the rules and it is better to request upload rights right after you’ve got download rights. But it’s silly!
Dmitri Ericsson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 16, 2010
Posts: 109
Third part

In the testing center there were no problems to take third part before the second one. The exam itself is quite simple; you have 8 questions about your architecture. They primarily address the technologies used for different tiers and the reasons for choosing them, the meeting of the NFRs and some scenario based questions, e.g. how will you system function If a bomb is thrown onto data center? It took me an hour to finish it.

I’ve received a letter with upload rights 3 days after I took the third part. What is extremely positive that it took only 5 days to check my assignment and mark it passed. Oracle optimizes Sun’s processes very well.

Once more thanks for your help and if you have any questions please feel free to ask them.
deepak adlakha
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 27, 2001
Posts: 325

And thanks for sharing your experience and i am sure it will help many readers.
Kingsly Theodar

Joined: Feb 21, 2004
Posts: 19

Thanks for sharing your experience.
sivan jai
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 24, 2010
Posts: 115
congrats! - good to know your exam was scored in 5 days. Funny I thought the process is slower now - but ofcourse you have more experience in this. May be your assignment downloading experience was worse than mine? Now, I hear it may take 10 business days for them to setup the download, even though it says 2 business days in their email. (waiting for another 6 days now )
Dmitri Ericsson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 16, 2010
Posts: 109
Perhaps I was lucky, I've got download access within 1 day (I've purchased on Friday and on Monday I've got a letter). One thing here is that local Sun office is involved here. It seems like it works this way: you order it through the website, it sends mail to the local office, they forward it to the head office and then head office sends it to you.
prathap venkata naga yelugula
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Joined: Aug 13, 2008
Posts: 243

Pawel Piwowar

Joined: Feb 12, 2010
Posts: 21
Congratulations and thanks for sharing your experiences.
Also thanks for the link to Humphrey Sheil blog with Chapter 9 of JEE Study Guide. Unfortunately in PDF version, which I bought from Safari Online, diagrams in this chapter are not readable (I already reported this problem to Safari Online and they promised to solve it). I compared the solution from this book and ePractize study lab for SCEA II/III, and in my opinion it is more clear. ePractize divides nearly every diagram into smaller parts (most probably because of limited space of their application), which makes them harder to read.


Pawel Piwowar

SCJP 5, SCWCD 1.4, SCBCD 5, SCEA part1
Joe Harry
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Joined: Sep 26, 2006
Posts: 9345


SCJP 1.4, SCWCD 1.4 - Hints for you, Certified Scrum Master
Did a rm -R / to find out that I lost my entire Linux installation!
Dmitri Ericsson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 16, 2010
Posts: 109
Thanks to all

Pawel, yes I also enjoyed chapter nine's solution and moreover I've looked in the properties of the PDF of my assignement and the author was Humphrey Sheil, so I decided that the books solutions should generally suit my project too.
Sreenivasa Majji
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Joined: Jul 12, 2001
Posts: 224
Congratulations! Thank you for detailed explanation about your experience and links to the material.

Sreenivasa Majji
Alim Atar
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Joined: Oct 06, 2006
Posts: 102

!!! Congratulations !!!

Thanks lot of sharing your tips. They are really very helpful

How many years of experience you have?


Dmitri Ericsson
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Joined: Feb 16, 2010
Posts: 109
Thanks I have 4,5 years of Java experience and some years of PHP stuff before that. The exam was not easy nor difficult. I've learned a lot, that's a good opportunity to lean, it motivates you. When you've paid the money you try to achieve the best possible results not to loose it When no motivation then you become lazy and don't want to learn new thing out of the scope of the work.
guru prasanth
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 20, 2009
Posts: 96
Is there any format for submitting design in part2.All i see in the book is that it tells that you need to have class diagram,sequence diagram,deployment diagram.
That's all.I have not yet purchased voucher for part2.
Dmitri Ericsson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 16, 2010
Posts: 109
In the end of the assignment you will get a list of diagrams and other stuff what they expect to find in your solution.
Basically it is 1x class diagram, 1x component diagram, 1x deployment diagram, 1x sequence (or collaboration) diagram per use-case (there are typically 3-4 use-cases in the assignment). Plus you need to describe hardware configurations, find 3 major risks and describe solutions for them and you have to put down all your assumptions during this project. That's all. You are free to add more diagram if you think they may help. I've also added a short summary of the task and described why I've chosen concrete patterns or frameworks.
A Amit Ranjan

Joined: Sep 25, 2010
Posts: 10
Hi Dmitri,
I read your answers and it is very helpful. I wanted to ask whether you changed the multiplicity in the class diagram?
The reason for asking is in the assignment of Dreamcar Request has many PO. Did you change that?
Please suggest.
Anand Muddagouni

Joined: Jul 17, 2001
Posts: 6
Hi Dimitri,
Thanks, your write-up is very helpful.

I have quick question about the JSF. How we should show the JSF in component diagrams. Should we show managed beans in the diagrams?

the new Cade book (JEE 5) doesn't give a solutioon using JSF.
The old Cade book (purple cover, J2EE 1.4)) gave a solution using JSP + Servlets + EJBs.

Jeanne Boyarsky
internet detective

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30123

I would think you definitely have to show the managed beans as they are your classes. In fact, they are the only thing in the JSF experience that is your code.

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Anand Muddagouni

Joined: Jul 17, 2001
Posts: 6
Thanks Jeanne for your quick response.

Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11404

amadi emeka,
Your post was moved to a new topic.

The Sun Certified Java Developer Exam with J2SE 5: paper version from Amazon, PDF from Apress, Online reference: Books 24x7 Personal blog
Sharma Ashutosh

Joined: Apr 06, 2001
Posts: 346

Ashutosh Sharma
SCJP 1.2, SCEA 5, Brainbench certified J2EE Developer, Documentum Certified Professional
Blog :
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Became Sun Certified, now sharing tips and hints for an exam
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