Newbie planning for Java Certification

Tips for Java certification

If you are a newbie Java developer and are looking for information on how to start preparing for Java certification this article is for you. Most likely you have some knowledge and/or experience in Java programming but you do not have any certification currently.

Not to worry. Here is how you should start.

First, you need to check the status of your current knowledge. As of this writing (Aug 2022), three levels of Java certifications are available.
  • The first level is for beginners - Java Foundations Certification - Exam Code 1Z0-811, which is based on Java 8.
  • The second level is the "Associate" Level. It is for people who have some experience in Java programming. It is called Oracle Certified Associate Exam 1Z0-808 and is also based on Java 8.
  • The third level is for people who have a few years of Java programming experience and is called the Professional level. There are three choices of exams at this level - 1Z0-809 based on Java 8, 1Z0-819 based on Java 11, and 1Z0-829 based on Java 17.

Go through the official exam objectives of all of these exams. Here are links to exam objectives for all Java certification exams and see if you feel comfortable with the topics listed for these exams. If you feel completely lost, then you probably need to start at the Foundations exams. You may go through a good Java beginners book such as Java Beginners Guide by Herbert Schildt or directly with Hanumant Deshmukh's Java Foundations Exam Fundamentals.

If you feel that the foundations exam is too easy for you, check out the OCA Java 8 exam. Although Java 8 is quite old now, this is a very popular exam because it includes all topics that are important for Java job interviews. We recommend using Hanumant Deshmukh's OCA Java 8 Fundamentals book to prepare for this exam. It costs only $2.99.

If you have already been programming with Java for quite a while and are a pro, you can directly go for either OCP Java 11 or OCP Java 17. There are no prerequisites for these exams. You can also go for OCP Java 8 exam but for that you have to first pass the OCA Java 8 exam. So, we recommened that you to study for OCP Java 17 (1Z0-829) exam directly.

You should also grab a certification study guide such as OCP Java 11 Part 1 Fundamentals by Hanumant Deshmukh and go through each chapter. Writing code is very important while preparing for the exam. This book includes short coding exercies at the end of each chapter. You should do those using Notepad++ and command line. Avoid using IDEs such as Netbeans and Eclipse at this stage of your preparation.

Once you learn all the topics required for the exam, you can take a mock exam (there are several available but we recommend taking the Foundation Exam from Enthuware Mock exams) and see if you have really learned the basics. A good score on this test means that you are now ready for the next step.

The final step is to practice using mock exams. Enthuware mock exams give you a real feel of the actual exam. The real exam is quite expensive (about 240$) while the set of 7 mock exams from Enthuware cost only $10. It is better to spend money on the mock exams and make sure that you will not fail the real exam. Most students get 10% more on the real exam than what they get on Enthuware mock exams.

Enthuware mock exams contain detailed explanations. After taking a mock test, make sure you go through explanation for every question. Even for the ones that you answered correct.

Do not repeat a mock test because you score will be very high on a subsequent attempt but that's just because you remember the answers from the previous attempt. There are enough mock exams in Enthuware simulator. So, don't worry about using them up. Just remember to analyse your performance after each test and if you score too less on a topic, go through that topic from a book before taking the next test.

If you are able to pass an Enthuware standard test in first attempt, you can be certain that you are ready for the real exam.