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The moose likes Junior/Associate Certification (SCJA,OCAJ 5/6/8) and the fly likes My Journey Begins Big Moose Saloon
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My Journey Begins

Michael Salvini

Joined: May 25, 2010
Posts: 20
Good Evening All,

I was in Barnes and Noble the other night enjoying a coffee from Star Bucks and perusing the Computer Books section when I saw the study guide for SCJP by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates, and it got me thinking. I have been reading various books (or parts thereof) on Java over the last several months. Usually just enough to understand one particular component and probably be very dangerous. :-) Anyway, the book made me think the best way to learn Java might be to pursue a certification in Java. A large part of my job currently resides around creating rather large perl scripts and I have had a desire to learn Java (for both personal and professional reasons). I don't feel like I have fully grasped even the basics yet. I started reading the SCJP book and thought maybe for once in my life the horse should pull the cart, not the other way around and I should start with the SCJA certification and learn the basics.

So here I am, ready to start the process of learning java and becoming a SCJA.

My question to everyone and anyone willing to answer is, Is this the best approach to really start to learn java and build a solid foundation? Is there some other book I should be reading to learn the basics and then comeback and get more out of the certifcation process? I am not trying to make it sound like I don't think the book is good, I think it is great. I read through chapter 1 and already I have learned (and understood) a lot more than I did a day or two ago. I am just interested in whether or not there are other recommendations or does everyone feel confident this book is a good place to start.

Obviously I realize this is an entry level exam and I am not expecting to have mastered the Java language by reading one book and passing one exam. I know this will be a long term commitment to learning and mastering the language, I am just looking for the best place to start.

I will appologize now for being so long winded on my first post on these forums. I just have a lot going through my mind right now. :-)


Learning Java & Studying for the SCJA
Cameron Wallace McKenzie
author and cow tipper
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 26, 2006
Posts: 4968

I'd say the SCJP book is a pretty impressive place to start. It's actually a pretty advanced book, so if you're grasping the concepts in the SCJP guide, you're doing well.

Definitely pursue a certification. It not only guides you with regards to what is important to learn, but it also gives you a goal. If you have no destination to get to, how will you ever get there? Create a goal and work towards it, and make that goal your first certification.

I've got a few signature links for SCJA resources, including my SCJA Guides which have helped alot of people get certified. Feel free to check them out!

-Cameron McKenzie
Michael Salvini

Joined: May 25, 2010
Posts: 20
Thanks Cameron. My goal is definitely to learn Java from the bottom up, so it sounds like I am starting in the right spot. I appreciate the links, I will definitely check them out.

Gary Marshall
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 19, 2007
Posts: 122

In my opinion that K&B SCJP book can be too much for a beginner in OO concepts and programming, unless that beginner has programming experience in other realms. But even then, it can really hassle you. I present the Self Test questions at the end of each chapter as evidence.

For someone just learning OO concepts and programming my recommendation would be to first read the Head First Java book. In my opinion, hands down, this is THE primer, and the only primer you will need.

Good luck

Michael Salvini

Joined: May 25, 2010
Posts: 20

Thanks, I appreciate the input. My programming (maybe more so scripting) experience is limited to bash and perl primarily. OO programming and concepts seems to be my biggest area of difficulty right now. It's just totally new to me. I have written perl scripts that are several thousand lines of code (if not longer), but all in one script, so knowing when to break things up and creating and using objects from those classes is definitely foreign. I am working on it though and having a great time doing it. I actually picked up the heads first java book the other night. I have been going through Robert's SCJA Exam Guide book, and felt that if I used to two together I would be in pretty good shape. I also plan on ordering Cameron's Mock Exam Questions and we will see how I do.

Funny enough, I started reading the first chapter of the SCJP book before decing to go back to the SCJA one to start and in there they talked about only ever bothering to learn just what we need to get by, and I feel like that is my life story and I don't want to do that this time. :-)

Anyway, thanks again for the input. I am through the first 5 chapters of Robert's SCJA book and I feel pretty good so far. I am starting Chapter 6 today which looks to dive into OOP. We will see how that goes.

I agree. Here's the link:
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