I have heard some people disparage the associates certification (OCAJP) in favor of the programmers certification (OCPJP). In your opinions, what is the advantage to getting a OCAJP? Is it a stepping stone to the OCPJP? When should someone try for the programmer's certificate without getting the associates, if ever?
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Knute Snortum wrote:In your opinions, what is the advantage to getting a OCAJP? Is it a stepping stone to the OCPJP? When should someone try for the programmer's certificate without getting the associates, if ever?
Short answer: it is impossible to have OCPJP without OCAJP. If you don't pass the OCAJP certification exam, you want be granted the Oracle Certified Professional, Java Programmer title, even if you pass OCPJP with full marks.
Long answer: Since Java 7, Oracle has split the certification in 2 parts: the OCA one is the entry-level exam and covers java and OO basics. The OCP is the more advanced exam and covers a lot of advanced topics (generics, threads, concurrency, jdbc, file i/o, nio2.0,...). So you need to pass 2 exams to become OCPJP certified. Before Java 7 you only needed to take just 1 exam (OCPJP6) to become OCPJP certified, but this exam (of course) covers both java and OO basics and the more advanced topics (generics, threads, file i/o,...). So it's harder to pass for the OCPJP6 than it would be for the OCAJP7 or OCAJP8.
If you want to become an Oracle Certified Professional, Java Programmer, you can currently choose between 3 paths: OCPJP6 or OCAJP7+OCPJP7 or OCAJP8+OCPJP8 (there are no prerequisites for either of these exams). For the first one, you only have to pass one exam (as mentioned earlier); for both other paths you need to pass two exams (an entry-level and an advanced level). In this thread you'll find an overview of all possible paths (OCPJP6, OCAJP7+OCPJP7 or OCAJP8+OCPJP8) you could take to become an OCPJP certified Java programmer. And this thread also contains some valuable information about which OCA version to choose. So I would advice to read these threads and if you still have questions or doubts, just hit the reply button and let us know! If you don't have any specific reasons, you should just go with OCAJP8 (and OCPJP8). But if you have one (or more) reasons to take OCAJP7 (and OCPJP7), just do it! You can always take the upgrade exam to OCPJP8 if needed/required.
You won't get a more clearer answer to your question than what Roel gave you.
Here is my two bit.
If you are new to Java, why would you want to opt for an older certification?
If you are an experienced programmer, taking the latest certification just might teach you a few new things.
If you already have a previous certification, the upgrade exam is the way to go.
And I do believe that OCAJP is a stepping stone to OCPJP.
Knute Snortum wrote:Since I have a OCAJP7, it sounds like an OCPJP7 is next.
It depends on your actual goal. If it's just to become OCPJP certified, the OCPJP7 certification exam would indeed be the next logical step. But if you want to become OCPJP certified in the latest and greatest Java version (currently Java 8), it might be easier to take the OCAJP8+OCPJP8 path than the OCPJP7+Upgrade to OCPJP8 path. In the first case you have an entry-level basic certification exam (and you have already passed an earlier version, so preparing for this exam can happen very quickly) and an advanced (harder) certification exam. For the latter path, you need to pass two advanced certification exams.