Anyone involved in the programming field knows for sure that staying ahead of the curve is not just an advantage but a necessity. As the Java language, in particular, continues to be a cornerstone in the world of software development, earning Java certifications is a coveted and proven way to showcase the expertise of Java developers, endorse their skills, and open the door for new career opportunities.
In this article, we will demonstrate the importance of getting Java certified, explore four top-notch Java certifications, and offer preparation strategies for the certification exams.
So, whether you are a seasoned Java developer looking to validate your skills or a newcomer eager to establish a solid foundation, the journey to becoming Java certified is a rewarding endeavour that opens doors to enhanced career prospects and personal growth.
So, let’s hop into it.
Benefits of Java Certifications
Earning a Java certification can bring a multitude of benefits to your career and programming journey. Here are some of the key advantages:
Studying for and taking a Java certification exam solidifies your understanding of profound Java concepts, best practices, and frameworks. Java certifications keep you updated with advancements in the language since they often cover the latest features and functionalities. Also, you get to refine your problem-solving and coding abilities in real-world scenarios through practice exercises and simulations.
Secondly, Java certifications greatly enhance your career prospects. They add a valuable credential to your resume, making you stand out from non-certified candidates. This is something that companies often prioritise, especially for certain positions. So, getting Java certified actually opens doors to more opportunities for you and demonstrates your dedication to learning and expertise, which can pave the way for faster career advancement within your current company.
Besides, Java certification programmes often provide opportunities to connect with other certified professionals, which helps you build valuable professional networks.
Earning a Java certification also has great direct benefits for you personally. As it gives you tangible proof of your Java proficiency, becoming Java certified highly boosts your confidence and self-belief and enhances your credibility in the job market. Studying for the exam also encourages deeper learning and self-discipline, refining your overall approach to acquiring new skills.
It does not even stop there. The practice you gain through exams and exercises improves your problem-solving skills and strengthens your ability to tackle complex technical challenges. This pays back with a greater feeling of job satisfaction, confidence, and fulfilment.
Popular Java Certifications
While there are certainly several providers that offer valuable certifications for your Java expertise, Oracle is a significant player in the field, and hundreds of thousands of developers genuinely think they are the best for multiple reasons.
First of all, Oracle certifications heavily emphasise foundational Java knowledge and best practices, ensuring a strong base for your development skills. As the company offers a structured learning path with certifications at various levels (OCA, OCP, OCE, OCM) catering to beginner, intermediate, and advanced skill levels, it actually covers broad and specific domains of Java expertise.
Oracle is also widely recognised and respected by major tech companies globally. So earning Oracle Java certifications can not only land you more interviews and potentially increase your earning potential but it also gives you flexibility in career opportunities across different regions.
Now that you understand why it is a good choice, here are the four most common Java certifications offered by Oracle University.
1. Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 8 Programmer
The Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 8 Programmer is a top-notch yet entry-level certification offered by Oracle and designed for individuals who have a foundational understanding of and wish to validate their skills in the Java programming language.
To earn this certificate, candidates are advised to take training for beginner and intermediate Java SE 8 to gain adequate knowledge and hands-on experience. They will then need to pass the Java SE Programmer I exam (1Z0-808), which tests their knowledge in areas such as Java fundamentals, handling exceptions, working with data types, and basic object-oriented programming concepts, as well as topics related to Java SE 8.
This test is made up of 56 multiple-choice questions, and candidates are typically given two hours to answer it. A score of 65% is enough to ace the test, and once they do, candidates spontaneously become OCA Java SE 8 programmers.
2. Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 11 Developer
Another certification offered by Oracle in the field is the Oracle Certified Professional Java SE 11, which aims to validate the advanced proficiency of Java developers in designing and building robust applications according to the latest Java Standard Edition (SE) 11 specifications. This certification is part of Oracle’s Java certification programme and targets individuals with a solid understanding of Java programming.
To achieve this certification, candidates need to pass the 1Z0-819 exam. Oracle offers various resources and Java training materials to help candidates prepare, including official study guides, practice exams, online courses and boot camps, as well as instructor-led training.
The exam is 150 minutes long and consists of multiple-choice and drag-and-drop questions. To pass the exam, candidates must obtain a score of 65%. The certification is valid for three years.
Obtaining this certificate proves that candidates have a solidified understanding of object orientation, functional programming through lambda expressions and streams, and modularity.
3. Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 17 Developer
The Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 17 Developer, is quite similar to the Java SE 11 version we discussed, but with a key difference: it focuses on the latest Java SE 17 specifications. This newer version reflects the recent advancements in the Java language and provides validation of candidates’ expertise in using these updated features.
To get this certificate, candidates must pass the 1Z0-829 exam. Like the Java SE 11, this test is 150 minutes long with 50 multiple-choice and drag-and-drop questions and a 65% passing score.
Ultimately, both versions demonstrate strong Java skills and offer similar benefits. Candidates should choose the one that aligns best with their career aspirations and current projects.
4. Oracle Certified Professional, Java EE 7 Application Developer
The Oracle Certified Professional, Java EE 7 Application Developer certification validates candidates’ proficiency in developing enterprise-level Java applications using the Java Enterprise Edition 7 platform. It is a highly sought-after credential in the software development industry, demonstrating mastery of core Java EE concepts and technologies like:
- Enterprise JavaBeans (EJBs): For building distributed, scalable, and secure server-side applications.
- Java Persistence API (JPA): For interacting with relational databases.
- Java Message Service (JMS): For asynchronous messaging between applications.
- Java Server Faces (JSF): For building web applications with a component-based approach.
- Servlets and JSPs: For developing web applications on the server side.
While the Oracle Certified Professional, Java EE 7 Application Developer certification is valuable for various developers, it mainly targets two key types of developers.
The first type is the intermediate to advanced Java developers who already possess strong skills in core Java programming and are seeking to level up by specialising in building enterprise-level applications using Java EE 7 technologies. Those could be working on backend, web, or full-stack development and desire to enhance their project capabilities and career options.
The second type includes software architects and engineers, those who wish to achieve a deeper understanding and insight into Java EE 7 architecture and implementation details to design and manage enterprise applications effectively. The certification then proves their competence in making informed architecture decisions, selecting appropriate technologies, and ensuring efficient application development within the Java EE ecosystem.
This certificate’s exam has the code of 1Z0-900. It comprises 120 multiple-choice questions that must be answered in a maximum of 120 minutes. The passing score is 66%.
How to Prepare for Java Certification Exams
Preparing for a Java certification exam requires a structured approach to cover the breadth and depth of Java programming concepts. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you prepare well and earn the certificate you are seeking.
1. Study Materials and Resources
Getting ready for a Java Certification Exam needs the right study materials and resources. Here are some to aid your preparation:
- The Oracle Java Training and Certification programmes: These offer top-class training on recent Java tech.
- The Java Programming Learning Subscription: This provides study items for Core Java, Java 11 Upgrade, and Java SE 8.
- Beginner and Intermediate Java Courses: Anyone seeking to be an Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) Java SE 8 Programmer should take these courses.
- Advanced Training in Java SE 8: This is part of the OCP certification path for those aiming to be a Java SE 8 Programmer.
- The Novice-level ‘Java Foundations’ Exam by Oracle University: This is a good starting point for freshers in Java.
Practising coding exercises is crucial for honing your programming skills and becoming a confident developer. Here are some tips to get the most out of your practice sessions:
- Websites: Several online platforms offer various challenges catered to different skill levels and interests. Popular options include HackerRank, LeetCode, Codewars, CodinGame, and Edabit. These platforms often have gamified elements, leaderboards, and forums to keep you motivated and connected.
- Books and courses: Some Java books and courses provide practice exercises alongside their lessons. This can be helpful for structured learning and immediate feedback.
- Personal projects: Create your own projects to challenge yourself and apply your skills to real-world problems. This can be a great way to build your portfolio and showcase your abilities.
To get the best out of our practise you should:
- Begin with easier problems appropriate for your current skill level, then gradually increase the difficulty as you feel confident.
- Focus on understanding the problem statement and identifying the core concept before diving into coding.
- Read the problem carefully, ensuring that you understand the input, output, and any constraints before writing any code.
- Take time to plan your approach. Sketch out an algorithm or flowchart to visualise the solution steps.
- Focus on good code formatting, proper variable names, and clear logic. This makes your code easier to understand and debug.
- Use test cases to ensure your code works for different scenarios and edge cases.
- Take breaks, research different solutions, and try again. Make sure you seek help from online communities or forums.
Remember that consistency is key. So make coding practice a regular habit, even if it is just for a short time each day. The more you practice, the more confident and skilled you will become.
2. Take Sample Exams
After you have practised coding enough that you feel a little confident about your skill, it is better to take your practice to the next level by taking sample exams. They not only help you assess your strengths and weaknesses, but they also provide some kind of simulation for the test to help you prepare well.
So, search online for exams related to Java and problem domain of the actual exam. Do your best to simulate the actual exam environment as much as you can. This includes using the same IDE or platform, setting a timer for the duration, and minimising distractions. Also, make sure you do some quick coding exercises or practice problems before you take it to get your brain in the coding zone.
3. Join study groups or online forums
Joining study groups or online forums to prepare for your Java certification exam is an efficient way to connect with other individuals who are also studying for the exam. This can help you participate in collaborative learning and enhance your Java programming skills through online communities.
Take advantage of the resources available in these study groups and online forums, such as coding exercises, sample exams, and study materials. You can also network with Java developers and access dedicated Java forums for specific certification levels.
Are Java Certifications Worth It?
While Java certifications can validate skills and knowledge in several ways, it is important to remember that not every developer on this planet must get them. Whether or not Java certifications are worth it for you depends entirely on your individual circumstances and career goals.
Here is a breakdown of the things you should do before taking a Java certification exam:
1. Consider Your Career Goals and Industry Demand
When deciding whether to pursue a Java certification, it is important to consider your career goals and the demand for Java professionals in the industry. Java certifications can open up new employment opportunities and enhance job prospects.
However, certifications are not a substitute for real-world experience and ongoing learning. Building a comprehensive portfolio of projects and continuously honing your skills are crucial for successful software development.
2. Assess Your Current Skill Level and Experience
To better decide if you really should seek a Java certification, it is crucial to assess your current skill level and experience in Java programming. Take some time to evaluate how comfortable you are with the language and how much practical experience you have.
By honestly evaluating your skills and expertise, you can make a good decision about whether pursuing a Java certification is worth it for you.
3. Evaluate the Cost and Time Commitment
Java certification courses typically cost around $250 for Oracle Java certifications. This is an investment that you need to factor into your budget. Yet, money is not the only investment here. Obtaining a Java certification will require some of your time and effort for studying and preparing for the exam.
So, it is essential to evaluate if you can afford the certification you are targeting and whether or not you have enough time for the preparation phase. Check if you can manage your schedule effectively to pursue the certification alongside your other personal and professional commitments.
Considering such factors will help you determine if the cost and time commitment are reasonable and feasible for you.
4. Research the Value and Recognition of the Specific Certification
Lastly, you have to research the value and recognition of the specific certification you are targeting. This involves understanding how the industry perceives and values the credentials you are interested in.
Look into whether employers in your desired field or industry consider this certification as a qualification for job roles. Additionally, check if government organisations or consultancy companies give importance to Java certifications when working on projects.
Obtaining Java programming certifications can be highly beneficial for career seekers and developers. It validates their skills and knowledge in Java programming, improves job prospects, and demonstrates their commitment to their very own professional development.
With the availability of online courses and comprehensive training programmes, earning a Java certification has never been more accessible. So why wait? Start your journey towards becoming a certified Java developer today.
1. Which of all the Java certifications is the best?
There is no single “best” Java certification, as the ideal choice depends on your current skills, career goals, and desired development area. Whether you are a beginner, an experienced developer, or a professional in enterprise development, there is a certification suitable for your level to help you advance to the next.
2. Are Java certifications difficult?
The difficulty of Java certifications depends on several factors, including your existing Java knowledge, the specific certification you aim for, and your personal learning style. That being said, all Java certifications require dedicated preparation and practice.
3. What are the levels of Java certifications?
There are four main levels of Java certification offered by Oracle, the official provider of Java certifications: Oracle Certified Junior Associate (OCJA), Oracle Certified Associate (OCA), Oracle Certified Professional (OCP), and Oracle Certified Expert (OCE).
4. Where can I get a Java programming certification?
You can obtain a Java programming certification from various organisations such as Oracle University or other reputable institutions offering recognised certifications in the field.
5. Are there any prerequisites for obtaining Java certifications?
The prerequisites for obtaining a Java programming certification may vary based on the specific examination or institution offering it. However, basic knowledge of computer science concepts and prior experience with coding would be beneficial before pursuing this type of certificate.