The Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform certification is the first level of certification for the Java language. Sun started certifying programmers back in 1996 when the 1.02 JDK was the current language version. The Java 2 Platform (or JDK 1.2) was released in December 1998, and we are now up to SDK 1.4 as the official release.
As more and more of the big software vendors committed heavily to Java, a multi-vendor certification initiative was created. These vendors, such as IBM and Novell have some specialty Java certifications under development but the initial level of certification remains the Sun Certified Programmer.
Current information on the multi-vendor certification initiative supported by IBM, BEA Systems, Sun Microsystems, and a number of training organizations can be found at: the JCert Web page. This organization was moribund for several years but now seems to have become much more active.
What are the benefits of becoming certified?
Being certified will demonstrate to employers a minimum level of knowledge
of the Java language. Because Java is a relatively new language there are few
people with extensive practical experience. It will also concentrate your mind
on the fundamentals of the language.
With the proliferation of GUI based tools it is possible to create good
looking Java applications without understanding what is going on "under
the hood". It doesn't try to cover all of the Java technologies. You can
become certified an still know nothing about JavaBeans, Corba, RMI or servelets.
What Java Certifications exist?
In a press release on 20 May 1999 IBM, Novell, Oracle, Sun Microsystems and
the Sun-Netscape Alliance announced a collaboration to establish a standard for
recognition of Java skills. In the short term this probably does not affect
most people as the current Java Certified Programmers exam remains the
pre-requisite for all of the other exams.
This new alliance does seem to be very good news however in that a wider
recognition of the certification exam means it should become more valuable. The
announcement also introduces some vendor specific exams, so after you have
passed the Programmer Exam you can take a test to show your knowledge of a
particular development tool such as IBM Visual Age or Oracle JDeveloper.
I'm already a Java programmer, will I have to study?
Yes you probably will. The exam asks all sorts of tricky questions that you
might not consider in the real world and may not know the answer to. Thus a
question may take the form of
"If you were to write this particularly piece of code you would never
dream or need to write, what would be the output."