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Which Java Programmer Certification Exam should I take?

Technologies change fast. So generally, it is better to go with the latest version of a certification i.e. the Java 8 version. But in case of Java Programmer certifications, it is not that simple. Here are some points that you should consider -
  1. The most important thing is that from Java 7 onwards Oracle has split the Java Professional certification into two exams - Associate level and Professional level. To be a Java 7 (and onwards) Professional, you need to first clear the Associate level. But if you are already certified on a previous version of Java, you can take an upgrade exam for Java 7 or Java 8.
    If you want to acquire the Professional certification with just one exam, your only option is to take OCPJP 6 1Z0-851. This exam does not require any prior certification.
  2. To acquire the latest Java 8 Professional Certification (OCPJP8), you need to acquire the Java 8 Associate Certification (OCAJP8) first. In other words you have to take two exams - OCAJP 8 1z0-808) and OCPJP 8 (1Z0-809) .
  3. Similarly, to acquire the Java 7 Professional Certification (OCPJP7 1Z0-804), you need to acquire the Java 7 Associate Certification (OCAJP7 1Z0-803) first.
  4. Oracle also provides upgrade exams. If you are already certified on a previous version, you can take an appropriate upgrade exam such as 1Z0-805 to acquire Java 7 Professional certification if you already are a Java 6 or older certified professional or 1Z0-810 to acquire Java 8 Professional if you already are a Java 7 certified professional. They even have 1Z0-813 to acquire Java 8 Professional certification that allows you to acquire the Java 8 Professional certification if you already are a Java 6 or older certified professional.

Another point to consider is that the OCPJP6 is a beast as compared to OCAJP7/8. It is a lot tougher than OCAJP7 or OCAJP 8. Even experienced Java programmers have failed this exam on their first attempt. So if you are a Java beginner, you might be better off with OCAJP7/8 because that way you will have at least some certification, which might be helpful in your job hunt.


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