thanks for having this forum, it's really useful when you are studying Java! I often came here through google when trying to find why certain things worked (or not) the way they did.
It also helped me figure out the best strategy for reaching the certifications in shortest amount possible as I don't have much time. So reading other people's stories was a HUGE inspiration for me, and I'm very grateful!
Just finished the OCP7 Programmer II exam, and am happy to say that I passed with 85%!!!
My study materials were:
1) Kathy & Bert - OCA OCP SE 7 Progammer I & II (awesome book!)
2) Oracle tutorials (must read, although not all is in scope for the exam)
3) Oracle java documentation (you can't live without it)
4) Google, which brought me to coderanch, stack overflow, and tutorials point or something?
5) Last but definitely not least: Enthuware mock exams! I probably learned 25% of all knowledge from doing those mock exams and afterwards going through all the answers. Even the ones you answered correctly still teach you things. And yes, in the last days before the exam, when i was trying out the mock exam, I was harassing Paul with annoying questions/challenges on his forum Good lord some of those questions are tricky!!!
Tools: Macbook pro Retina 13, TextWrangler, command line. Contrary to most, I did a hybrid of using the command line but also using a full fledged IDE (Netbeans). I like to use Netbeans for very quickly seeing if something will compile or not or if it will throw an exception or not. You don't even need to run it, it automatically highlights in red if it won't compile. Nevertheless, I wrote at least 200 different .java files directly in a textpad!! You need to do that, if you only use Netbeans or similar, you will definitely fail a number of questions.
Also for JDBC chapter, I re-created a database and put some dummy data in it and using Netbeans was very easy to test all the JDBC principles/code. Netbeans has a built-in visual DB editor which was very easy if i tested code that added some rows, i could just immediately delete them manually and re-run the code but with a tweak etc.
I spent 6 weeks studying average 5-6 hours a day. That's excluding the times when i was waiting in line somewhere at the grocery shop or laying in bed at night and reading a bit on my phone
Prior to this, I reached OCA (86%) in March after 4 weeks of study, average 5 hours a day. Wasn't able to do much Java in March & April because of daytime job + 2 young kids. I did write some code to put some things in practice, as I passed OCA largely based on knowing theory, and making tiny little programs in a text editor and compiling from the command line. If like me, you didn't know anything about Java, i definitely recommend not jumping straight into OCP after passing OCA, my first lines of code I had trouble remembering the exact syntax, simply as I wasn't experienced in Java, and just kind of rushed through the book -> mock exams -> exam.
Prior to OCA, had no knowledge of Java.
I've worked 10 years in a big FMCG company in project management, and financial controlling, and have an education in Economics/business. But I've always been very interested in programming, and deep down I knew/know I should change careers as I just love programming and everything about it!
Started out in my free time during University with scripting (mIRC scripting, how awesome is that?!), then on the job during my last 10 years I learned VBA by myself (Excel!) by googling and some online tutorials. In 2012 taught myself Python through a book and wrote a chat program, using the PyQt framework for visuals. That was my first encounter with object oriented programming. Between 2012 & 2016 didn't do any programming, far too busy at work + getting young kids/house/marriage
Fast forward to February this year, where I decided really to go for a programming language, and settled for Java as the most popular programming language worldwide, right?
Been a hell of a ride, but just getting started, now want to delve a bit more into design principles so gonna pick up a copy of Gang of four! Eventually would like to do some type of Architect / Master exam, as I think I enjoy the most thinking about the design that is most suitable/efficient/fast and then prototyping the concepts.
Well that's it, if anyone out there is wondering about making a career change, as you can see, it's perfectly possible, especially thanks to the wealth of online resources including Coderanch!
Again, to emphasize, if you are a Java novice, I recommend not just relying on 1 book. In my opinion, it's not enough to do well at the exam. At the minimum I would do on top the Enthuware mock exams and the Java tutorials. The books kind of highlight what's in scope but they don't cover all the constructors, methods etc, you will be VERY surprised when you do those first mock exams if you only relied on a study book geared at passing OCP!
Hope anyone can find something useful from my experiences, in any case, have a nice day!