It's been a while since I posted this forum - which was a source of information for me during my certification (inform myself about procedures, links, books, etc...) - good job to the moderators of this forum!
Having recently passed the OCM:JEA exam, I want to express my views about this exam:
- First off, it is really a good exam. It is by far the most interesting and informative exam from all the others of the Java Certification Track (having passed most of them). The learning experience was fun, reading Mark Cade's book was a blast, it was like having a conversation full of 'mhm nods' with my head while I was reading it. Good job!
- I don't think that this certificate proves anything by itself (like you can solve every architectural dilemma). But it is a good addition, both on you and your resume. I've always viewed certification as an addition to your experience, but I'm kinda proud of this OCM architect certification
Back to my topic, my experience with this exam is the following: 'The way you explain your solution in the essay is more important than the solution itself' - and that I support 100%! My story with the exam was the following: I did the solution in 2-3 days trying to catch the mandatory course (I'll give you my view about that one later) and submitted on 23rd of August, in order to catch the August 27th with my essay.
The solution I submitted was simply put, not my best effort at all - in the real world, I would do things a bit more differently - but I understood the overall business requirement of this process, which is do as the examiners would do No matter the assignment you did, this rule applies to them all
So, even if I had partially disliked my solution (since I wanted to please my customers - the examiners), I had to defend it during the essay and I have to be convincing! This is for me, one of the main assets an architect can have in todays business world - and I believe this the examiners value the most! So, I took on greatest effort to tell what the examiners want to hear (security, security, security; past experienced, failed attempts, realization of failure..., NFRs, NFRs, NFRs) - and I believe the way you defend your solution is more important - that's why they are paired together for examination.
The above is very true for the business world, that's why I like it. As an architect you should be prepared to convince business people, communicate with technical people, take responsibility and, even sometimes put an angle of the best aspect of your (or someone else) architecture in order to make a sale. Now, take a look at all the bold items in the previous paragraph, not very technical are they? But it is the truth, and this is how things are developing in the business world. This is also what the exam covers, and I think that is very important and I believe they should focus even more points on that as well. After all a solution is just a solution (one of many ways a single thing can be done).
My feedback to the exam creators (if they are monitoring forums like this) - good job with this exam, in the future, make it more about the essay that about the solution and include the way you express yourself in the essay part of the scores (including phrasing, wording, etc...). I very much understand that it is difficult for many non-native speakers to express properly, so if possible, make the exam internationalized (I believe currently it is only in English?).
So, that's it from me, that's my feedback and my views - I hope it helps some of the future candidates and hopefully provide beneficial feedback to the exam creators, to make this certificate even more valuable!