Java certification programs

Sun Certified Java Associate (SCJA)
The Sun Certified Java Associate (or SCJA), concentrates on basic knowledge of object oriented programming, UML, and the essentials of the Java programming language and platform. It costs approximately $300. It is targeted at newcomers to Java who are not necessarily working in technical positions, such as project managers, students, or developers for whom Java is not a primary requirement.

Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP)
The Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP) exam is the entry level Java exam and is a prerequisite to a number of the other Java-related certifications. SCJP 6, designated CX-310-065 by Sun, was released in December 2007. It is designed as a fairly detailed test of basic knowledge of the essentials of the Java programming language. It tests looping constructs and variables, and does not cover specific technologies such as GUI creation, Web or network programming. The exam tests how well a programmer has understood the language constructs and not the programmer's capability to write efficient algorithms.  It is assessed through an automatically administered multiple-choice test system and consists of 60 questions which the candidate has 180 minutes to answer . At least 35 questions are needed to be correct to pass (around 58%). The exam is taken at a Prometric test center, and to take the test a candidate must buy a voucher from Sun (approximately US$300 in the US, but £150 (excluding VAT) in the UK, AUD 316 plus Tax in Australia, Rs. 5000 plus taxes in India) and book the test at least a week in advance. The test consists of multiple choice and drag-and-drop questions, the latter comprising 20-25% of the questions.The SCJP 6 exam tests a candidate on knowledge of declarations, access control, object orientation, assignments, operators, flow control, assertions, string handling, I/O, parsing, formatting, generics, collections, inner classes, threads and the JDK tools[1]. The test is available in English, Japanese, Chinese, German, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Previous versions
There have been a number of previous versions of the SCJP. The current version, SCJP 6.0, is aimed at the JDK 6.0 release of Java. It introduces new topics covering Console, NavigableSet, and NavigableMap.SCJP 5.0 (designated CX-310-055) was based on JDK 5. It introduced variable arguments, autoboxing, and generic types, and dropped the bit shifting topics from previous exams.
SCJP 1.4 (designated CX-310-035) was based on JDK 1.4. Compared to the previous version of the exam, SCJP 1.2, it dropped questions on GUI topics and shifted the emphasis towards core language features. SCJP 1.4 features 61 questions to be answered within 120 minutes. 32 questions or more (52%) need to be answered correctly in order to pass.SCJP 1.2 (designated CX-310-025) was based on JDK 1.2, and was first live on 15 June 2000. The exam had 59 questions (both multiple choice and short answer) to be answered within two hours. The pass mark was 61 percent. However, exam 310-025 has been withdrawn from the market; certified professionals can retain their certification and use the title, but this version is no longer being offered.

Sun Certified Java Developer (SCJD)
Sun Certified Java Developer (or SCJD) is the advanced Java programmer certification level. Unlike the easier SCJP, this level is intended to verify that the participant is able to write a real-world commercial application, solving all typical problems. It is the highest qualification that Sun confirms for the Standard Edition Java programmer. Prior to attempting certification, candidates must be certified as a Sun Certified Programmer (SCJP), any edition. It is not necessary to be a Sun Certified Java Associate prior to taking this exam. The total cost of the exam is around $575.
The certification consists of the practical programming task and the subsequent written theory exam. The participant must write the described application, extensively using custom file formats, distributed computing (JRMP) and advanced Swing features that are not fully accessible from the popular rapid development tools (JTable, component data models and so on). The code must be documented, and the user manual must be supplied. The task itself is written in the form of a PRD for a non-programming end user. Apart from one or two interfaces, no technical details are given.
The participant is not allowed to use CORBA, RMI-IIOP, web browsers and third party libraries of any kind, because these might make a task too easy and are also subject of other certifications. He or she is allowed to use any preferred Java IDE. There used to be no strict time limit for this exam, but from May 2009 a time limit of one year has been introduced. Participants who have obtained their assignment voucher before the mentioned date, can claim to upload their solution after one year, but will need to contact SUN Microsystems. A participant in this program is expected to spend several weeks writing the program. The main disadvantage of this certification is that the participant must invest the considerable amount of work (at least several weeks) in writing that program. After the solution has been uploaded the participant must do an essay exam at a testing center, in which (s)he must answer some questions about how the solution was made. The goal of the essay exam is to determine whether the participant, who has to identify himself with an identity piece, really is the one who made the solution. The answers given will be compared with the documentation uploaded with the solution. The review of the solution, and the answers given at the essay exam, will only start after the essay exam has been submitted.It takes up two months for the certification to be approved to allow time for the source code to be thoroughly examined.

 Sun Certified Web Component Developer (SCWCD)

The Sun Certified Web Component Developer (SCWCD) certification targets information regarding Java components related to web-applications, specifically Servlets and Java Server Pages (JSPs). To achieve this certification, the candidate must pass a computer-based test available world-wide at Prometric test centers.The SCWCD 1.4 exam covers the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) version 1.4 code, corresponding to Servlet version 2.4 and JSP version 2.0.SCWCD 5 was released in early 2008. The exam consists of 69 questions with 70% or above being required to pass. The time duration is 3 hours. The objectives are identical to the previous (1.4) version of the exam.

Sun Certified Business Component Developer (SCBCD)

The Sun Certified Business Component Developer (SCBCD) certification targets information regarding Java components related to distributed applications, specifically Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs). To achieve this certification, the candidate must pass a computer-based test available world-wide at Prometric test centers.
SCBCD 1.4 exam covers Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) version 1.3 code, including EJB version 2.0.

As of 2008, the SCBCD covers the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) version 5 code, corresponding to EJB version 3.0.

The pre-requisite for this certification is that the candidate should be a Sun Certified Programmer for Java 2 Platform (any edition).

SCBCD for J2EE version 1.3 is now no longer offered (starting February 2008). However, the upgrade exam from SCBCD for J2EE version 1.3 to Java EE version 5 is still available

Sun Certified Developer for Java Web Services (SCDJWS)

The Sun Certified Developer for Java Web Services 5 (SCDJWS) certification exam (designated CX-310-230) is for developers who have been creating web services applications using Java technology components such as those supported by the Java Web Services Developer Pack, JAX-WS and JAXB. Other topics like XML, JSON, REST and security are covered too.There is an older version, SCDJWS 1.4 (designated CX-310-220), which is still available, but some of the covered topics are now obsolete (e.g., the JAX-RPC API has been replaced by JAX-WS). The pre-requisite for this certification is that the candidate should be a Sun Certified Programmer for Java 2 Platform (any edition). There is no dedicated book available for the exam.

Sun Certified Mobile Application Developer (SCMAD)
The Sun Certified Mobile Application Developer (SCMAD) certification targets information related to developing Mobile applications, through platform Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME). It focuses in specifications like JTWI, CLDC, MIDP, WMA and MMAPI. SCMAD Exam Guide is the only book that focus on the exam objectives.

Sun Certified Enterprise Architect (SCEA)

Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for the Java EE Platform (SCEA) certification certifies the skills of a software architect in the Java Enterprise Edition technology (formerly J2EE). Obtaining the certification requires the candidate to pass three individual stages:

* a multiple choice exam on the basic concepts of Java EE technology
* a UML design project involving Java EE technology
* an essay exam regarding the design project

The multiple-choice exam can be taken at any Prometric testing center around the world. Passing of this portion is required prior to registering with Sun Microsystems for the design project, which is downloaded from a secured website. After completion of the assignment and upload to the same secured website, the candidate then sits for an essay exam, once again through a Prometric test center. As the questions on the essay exam are based on the assignment for Part II, it is advised to take the essay exam as soon as possible after submitting the assignment. (The last two steps are essentially one step since they are graded in unison.) Scores for the Part I exam are known immediately after taking the test; however, the scores for Parts II/III are only available after six to eight weeks through Sun's certification manager website. SUN released the Java EE 5 version of the SCEA exam in February 2008, and the prior version (for J2EE 1.2) was retired on March 1, 2008. Candidates who already began work on the prior track had until the end of 2008 to complete their assignments, assuming they have purchased the vouchers prior to the retirement date. Sun has also made available an upgrade track consisting of a single, multiple-choice exam not unlike the Part I examination, for those who have the prior credential. Also, unlike the prior version, a candidate for the SCEA for Java EE 5 now must complete the Part II assignment within one year - the prior version had no time limit for the assignment.

Unlike other higher-level Java exams, this certification does not require passing the Sun Certified Java Programmer exam as a prerequisite. This is due to the different job-role an architect fills on the software development team. Should the candidate pass, Sun will award the person the status of a professional Java architect. Unlike some other technology exams (such as MCSE), this exam and all of the other Sun Java exams do not have an expiration date.


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