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Passed SCDJWS with 92%

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I passed the SCDJWS exam today with 92%.

Thanks to those JavaRanch posters who helped with pointers to learning material or general queries about the exam and also to those whose learning resources I used. I thought I'd share my exam preparations just in case it helps others with theirs.

Previous experience of web services/XML/Java:

General development with XML and XMLSchema.
Use of basic JAXP APIs plus JAXB in J2EE apps.
Development of (non web service) XML-based B2B apps in Java.
Some development of web services with Java, mainly WSDL to Java approach envolving manual XMLSchema design followed by WSDL creation using the IBM WebSphere web services runtime tools (basically Apache Axis with WebSphere extensions).
Brief usage of WS-Security 1.0 standards (SOAP message level security) as supported by the WebSphere runtime.
Very little experience of using the JAX-RPC API directly.
No UDDI, SAAJ or JAXR experience.

Duration of preparation:

7.5 weeks of revising the material, broken down into 1-2 hours of learning each day - at least double at weekends - and 1 week of solid home revision.

Resources used:

J2EE Web Services by Richard Monson-Haefel (Addison Wesley - known on here as the RMH book)
Web Services Security by Mark O'Neil (McGraw Hill)
Java and XML 2nd Edn. by Brett McLaughlin (O'Reilly)


WS-I Basic Profile 1.0
WS-I Basic Profile 1.0a errata
WSDL 1.1 Specification
SOAP 1.1 Specification
XMLSchema Specification
JAX-RPC 1.0 Specification

Other online learning resources:

Designing Web Services with the J2EE(TM) 1.4 Platform (often referred to on here as web services blueprints)
Mikalai Zaikin's exam notes (often referred to on here as the MZ notes)
JAXB 1.0.x documentation
J2EE 1.4 API JavaDoc
J2EE 1.4 Tutorial

Mock tests:
Whizlabs SCDJWS exam simulator's mock tests

Where to start?
Govind Mekala's site has an exam preparation plan which helped me decide which resources to read for each exam objective

My revision, broken down into exam objectives, went as follows:

Objective 1: XML Web Service Standards
RMH book chapters 2 and 3
XMLSchema specification
WS-I Basic Profile 1.0

Objective 2: SOAP 1.1 Web Service Standards
RMH book chapter 4 and appendix D
SOAP 1.1 specification
WS-I Basic Profile 1.0

Objective 3: Describing and Publishing (WSDL and UDDI)
RMH book chapters 5 to 8
WSDL 1.1 specification

Objective 4: JAX-RPC
RMH book chapters 9 to 14
JAX-RPC 1.0 specification (only to clarify a few points, reading the whole spec is not necessary)
(I covered objective points 4.5 and 4.6 when revising the materials for Objective 10 and 11)

Objective 5: SOAP and XML Processing APIs (JAXP, JAXB and SAAJ)
RMH book chapter 13 and appendicies E to G
JAXB 1.0.x documentation - (I already had JAXB experience so I just used the docs to brush up, e.g. the different kinds of validation supported)
(I covered objective point 5.1 while revising the materials for Objective 7 and 9)

Objective 6: JAXR
MZ's notes on the JAXR publish/query APIs and infomodel.
I did not use the RMH book chapters (16 to 19) due to time constraints.

Objective 7: J2EE Web Services
I didn't really revise for objective 7.1 as I felt I knew enough but RMH book chapter 1 is a starting point.
I covered objective 7.2 when revising the materials for Objective 10 and 11.
For objective 7.3:
RMH book chapters 20 and 21
Java and XML book chapters 3, 5 and 9
(I already had SAX/DOM/JAXP experience so I only referred briefly to these chapters to brush up)
I felt I'd covered objective 7.4 when revising for Objective 1, 2, 3 and 4 as the Basic Profile is covered where relevant in the materials used for revising those objectives.

Objective 8: Security
MZ's notes on XML Encryption, XML Digital Signature, SSL, SAML, XACML, XKMS, federated identity, the Liberty Project and WS-Security.
I referred only briefly to the relevant parts of the Web Services Security book and chapter 7 of the Web Services Blueprints due to time constraints.
(web services security is not covered in the RMH book)

Objective 9: Developing Web Wervices
RMH book chapters 15, and 22 to 24
I had covered most of the APIs mentioned in point 9.2 while revising for object 7.
I used the J2EE 1.4 JavaDoc to brush up on the javax.xml.transform package.

Objective 10: General Design and Architecture
Web Services Blueprints chapters 5 and 8

Objective 11: Endpoint Design and Architecture
Web Services Blueprints chapter 3

Mock tests:

I bought the WizLabs SCDJWS exam simulator but I only used the interactive quiz feature because you can use it on an objective by objetive basis.
However, after using it I found the tool to be poor in a number of areas:
  • Some questions are ambiguous.
  • Poor use of English. This may seem a minor point but for users for whom English is not their native language some questions may be ambiguous or confusing.
  • Vague references to learning materials. They refer to online or book materials but don't offer hints as which chapter or section one should look at (great when the RMH book is 800+ pages). As a customer of previous Whizlabs simulators (IBM J2EE and IBM OOAD) this represents a stark drop in quality. For example the Whizlabs IBM simulators gave explanations and even references to page numbers in books recommended as learning materials which allowed the user to quickly locate information in external sources.
  • The inability to click or select and copy the URLs given as sources of more information. This is such a simple feature that would save the user time.

  • As a result I didn't use the Whizlabs simulator mock tests. I used the mock tests instead. Due to time constraints I only did 2 mock tests, achieving just over 80% both times.

    After doing the real test I found the questions to be of a very similar level to the questions in the mock tests and, after revising the
    materials listed above, there were no nasty surprises where I felt "I have no idea!!!".

    In all I am very pleased with my score and it shows the endless hours of revision do pay off.

    Hope this information is of use to future candidates.


    Ranch Hand
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    Congrats great score for this tough exam

    Thanks for sharing your preparation in detail with us
    Posts: 3647
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    Originally posted by Steve Lock:

    I passed the SCDJWS exam today with 92%.

    Well done !

    Great score !!!
    Ranch Hand
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    Congrats and thanks for your information

    Ranch Hand
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    Congratulations Steve Lock

    Thanks for the beautiful writeup and detailed explanation about your preparations
    Posts: 6
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    Congratulations Steve

    Glad to hear that my exam preparation plan helped. Best of luck.
    For last minute exam cram and overall preparation plan :

    Thank you,
    Ranch Hand
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    Thanks for the detailed information.
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