This is a follow up of a post of mine already dated two years ago https://coderanch.com/t/630743/ocajp/certification/exam-personal-feedback-random-thoughts
After having take a break from Java
study (I pursued a certification as a professional penetration tester as information security is the other topic which passionate me), I turned on last November to Oracle certification, specifically to 1Z0-804
as a natural evolution of the previous achieved Oracle Certified Associate.
Here below you can find some random thoughts and feedbacks:
It took me a good amount of time, let's say from November to June (even if I originally planned to take the exam on April, I had unexpected health issues which made me postpone the test
I'm a full day worker and my job does not involve Java programming, so I had to study during the evening and weekends balancing that time with my family (wife and daughter) needs.
As almost every one will tell you the exact amount of time needed to prepare for the exam depends on many different factors, like the actual amount of time you can dedicate to studying, your actual knowledge level in advanced Java topics. From this perspective, even if I'm not the proper one to make such a statement, I'd underline that even if you are an experienced Java programmer, that's alone could not be sufficient to pass the exam. I had this confirmation many times when I submitted some tricky question I came along during my preparation to some of the colleagues of mine who actually work as developers and I can tell you many of them failed in answering those questions. To answer them correctly you have to set your mind in compiler mode. That's an important point to note. At least in my humble opinion.
I've found the 1Z0-804
study much much harder than the 1Z0-803
. Some of the topics included in the exam objectives were really hard to understand (I'm thinking especially about Generics, and Concurrency).
The number of topics and exam objectives are also greater than the ones included in the first level.
I've studied using many different sources of information.
The main one was Mala Gupta Oracle Certified Programmer Java SE 7 Programmer II Certification Guide Prepare for the 1ZO-804
I decided to go with that book mainly because I used the same author for the previous certification and I liked her style.
Overall the book itself is good and gives you the right preparation for the exam. I would like to thanks the author Mala Gupta for her kindness in answering my questions when I had some doubts.
One bad thing about the book was it came with only one full mock exam test (available as free download from Manning website), whilst the book on Oracle Certified Associate certification had if I'm not wrong two full mock tests.
Furthermore the mock test was made of 90 questions but the actual exam has 65 questions (not a major issue, but if you want to simulate exactly the exam state like questions number, exam objectives distribution - that's not easy).
As a study technique I filled 3 Moleskine workbooks with notes and flash cards
. Those were my most used resource during the final steps of the preparation.
Another book I bought was the K&B Oracle Certified Aassociate/Oracle Certified Programmer Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide (Exams 1Z0-803 & 1Z0-804)
Things I liked a lot about this book were: hardcover! So nice (and so rare nowadays).
Writing style from the authors: brilliant. Funny statements here and there which allow you to take a break from the hard content.
Extra content about Java Developer certification was also really appreciated.
Things I did not like: the software bundled within the compact disc which allowed you to run mock exam tests. Interface was terrible.
JAVA SE 7 API
This is extremely important.
This should be your main reference point. Browse, read and memorize all the main classes, descriptions and methods covered by the exam objectives.
Really helpful, easy to follow. Should be read by everyone pursuing the certification.
The Java Language specification
Essential reading when it comes to clear any doubt you might have reading other sources of information.
Here lies the only truth.
Angelika Langer - Generics
As Generics were one of the hardest topics I also read the great freely available above content.
A special thank to javaranch member Sergej Smoljanov who suggested me this precious resource
Apart from those included with the books mentioned above, I bought the following software and packages in order to have more practice questions:
it's simply the best option out there in my opinion.
Nothing can be compared in terms of software configuration options, content quality (number of questions, questions difficulty level), price, support, answers explanations to the Enthuware package.
I will recommend it again and again.
It's suggested by Oracle itself as the practice questions of reference (https://education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?page_id=5001&get_params=p_exam_id:1Z0-804
I found the package useful in supporting my exam preparation. It lacks many of the Enthuware options, but it has for example a nice flash cards
feature which allows you to focus on some important topics.
The questions were easier than the ones from Enthuware, but they allowed me to increase my confidence level.
It's a lot more expensive than the Enthuware.
This one deserves a special comment. This is by far the the place where you'll find the trickiest and hardest questions about OCP. At least that was my experience.
I would like to thank Frederick Tyler and Devaka Cooray for their support and for the great content they make available to certification aspirants.
The price is really affordable and it gives in some purchase options also the possibility to access some video content and pdf files.
One thing I notes about examlab content is that it's still mainly based on 1.6 certification, so that could arise some thoughts in people pursuing 1.7 or 1.8 certification.
I just took a couple of test exams from examlab, then as I saw the result I got I preferred to switch to some a little bit easier.
I can say that if you score well on their tests you're quite sure to get near to 100% in the actual exam!
The actual exam
I found it easier than many of the practice tests I took during the final weeks of my preparation.
Nevertheless I passed by just few percent points.
I scored 71% (which I know is not good at all, in fact after the initial enthusiasm for having passed the exam, I felt a little bit disappointed about the score) which is exactly the same score
I achieved for the 1Z0-803
! That's interesting!
The amount of time (150 minutes) is more than enough. I actually finished all the questions in 90 minutes and I took the remaining 60 minutes to review each one of the 65 questions.
Certification books consideration
I know this topic has already been discussed here and that many valuable opinions have been thrown in, but I would like to remark this as it's really really something of utter importance.
I found (and not only me) that each one of the official books I read/studied for the exam was plenty of errors/mistakes. Some of them were trivial typos, other were more subtle (and for this reason
very difficult to spot even for an experienced eye, imagine for a non experienced one the dramatic effects that this could lead to...).
I know that writing a book is a long and difficult task and that this is even more true for technical ones. I also remember important book authors here stating that the review process was already involving
different people, skills and so on.
But I stick to the facts/numbers: it's not admissible that a certification book contains so many errors. If that's the fact (and it is) it means the review process is not effective and must be thought again.
Errata and addendum are well appreciated but they do not solve nor fix the issue for many reasons everyone of us can easily understand.
Badge claim and paper certificate request
I would like to ask if someone can help me understand why I don't see the claim share badge option under my Oracle certview page, as it's there for the OCA
I would also like to ask you what is the process to follow in order to request a printed copy of the certificate (as I successfully did for the Level I). It seems I'm not able to find the request page or procedure.
As already posted in the forums, there is a 35% off for some exams. I had the chance to use the discount code for my exam, so my thanks goes to Oracle for this initiative.
If you get earn a Java Certification credential during the eligible time period of June 1, 2016 - Dec 31, 2016 you can get a free Java gift
Apart from all the people (book authors, software training people) I already thanked above, let me thank all the ranchers that with useful posts and information helped me to reach this second advanced step in the Java certification world
I would like to especially thank Roel De Nijs as each one of his posts is a learning experience in terms of clearness, details, etc, I hope these lines reach you I know you are following Euro 2016 tournament where your Red Devils are doing well after initial debacle