First of all, I would like to thank you all at the ranch; I have been lurking the forums during last weeks and I have retrieved a lot of useful information that helped me to get certified. It is so that I feel in debt with the ranch and want to share my background and experience with you prior to publishing my results.
I have a degree in computer science where my "mother" programming language was Java, I mean that it was the first OO language I was introduced to. Of course, during my studies I had the oportunity to meet other OO languages such as C++ or C# but none of them enticed me as Java did.
After finishing my studies I worked as a C# developer during two years as I found a very convenient job in my hometown. As a result of that company's bad economical situation I was fired along with other 4 colleagues so I decided to reconsider my professional career 's course. Re-invent yourself they say.
I decided to stick to Java technologies, and, as a mean to make up for my lack of experience in Java, planned to get certified. So here are the results:
1.- OCAJP SE7: five days of preparation, 30 hours or so and got 88%
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software (GoF): I used this book to relax away from studying whirl.
Oracle Certified Professional Java SE 7 Programmer Exams 1Z0-804 and 1Z0-805: A Comprehensive OCPJP 7 Certification Guide (Ganesh and Sharma): It covers all the syllabus and some edge cases.
Enthuware mock tests: again I found them to very important to cover corner cases and give me confidence. Their level of difficulty is slightly harder than the real one: my average score on its mock exams was around 70%.