Well after three and a half weeks of long waiting I got my results: 383/400.
Let me tell you a bit about my story. I am a telecommunications engineer that happens to program in his spare time. For my work I made little tools to help me make reports faster regarding radiobases configuration. Since it saved me a lot of time I finished loving Java.
I took the SCJP exam on december so I decided that it would be ok to take the next step, I wanted to carry out a certification project because I had bad programming practices and it would be a good learning experience and "fun".
Bad decision: Without thinking I paid for the assignment on january. Ahaaa I had plenty of time to get prepared and to learn advanced topics on Java. The problem was that I really didn't have "real world" work experience.
I decided to live in this forum for 6 months checking for information regarding the certification. Before writting I single line of code I read competely Andrew's book twice and Roberto's paper (this one several times).
Regarding the hands-on course I took the "Design with UML" and "Developing app with Java" ones. In Mexico the price of both couses came to the cost of one course in EU so it was a bargain. The courses were actually very boring but the materials it contained were very helpful regarding programming patterns and we worked with a well explained example.
Also I used the Head First Design Patterns to understand some extra patterns that were not covered in the course for example the Proxy pattern. I ended worshiping this book.
I started working on my assignment in the early May (yes I left to pass a lot of time) but I had a better idea of what to do. My assignment was Bodgitt and Scarper and at first I followed a thin client first but something was wrong that I didn't like about the cookies. Thanks to this forum I could see that for the very interface I had to make it a thick client. I made a lot of modifications during the 2 months and a half that I had to submit it.
The worst part: I practicallly finished one week before the deadline. I started writing my userguide.txt and modifying the choices.txt to the last update. It was thursday and I thought to send my assignment the next day since my the deadline was the saturday (Having in mind that that deadline was only for the project). Very very very bad idea. That morning I checked again the steps for the certification and I noticed that both the project and the essay exam had to be done before the deadline. I was going to die.
Every certification center in Mexico was full for the next saturday, I look for any available place for friday and it was the same. I don't know if some planets aligned in that moment but I found one available hour in a center that was outside Mexico City. I tried to book it but I couldn't because I hadn't sent my project.
I started looking for mistakes in my comments or for things that were out of place. Also I went over for the last time my files .txt and run last tests. I was so nervous that I decided that it was more important to send my project, so I did it and booked a place for my written essay for the next day.
The essay was pretty easy I had to answer 5 questions . I was more that happy because I was to hours to loss my certification. After I finished everything I read my choices.txt document more carefully and I found I couple of things that were different to my real design . My document was 38 kB.
I received the results today with a passing grade, I really wanted to get more but I supposed that they punished me with some points for things I missed in the last minute, I haven't received yet the components of my results.
Considering everything this certification helped me a lot, I learnt many things about which I had no idea at first. Thanks to Roel and Roberto for their amazing tools and guidance, you are the men, Andrew for his excellent book!!! and Himai and K. Tsang for your priceless help.
This is a great success especially considering the lack of real life experience of software engineering.
Very similar last week of the assignment for me. I have learned that documentation should be an ongoing process as the project moves forward.
**OCP, Java SE 6 Programmer**OCM, Java SE 6 Developer**